It’s beginning to look a lot like Porchfest.
After a last-minute appeal, organizers of the popular music festival in Vankleek Hill have now obtained the necessary porches needed to organize a scaled-down version of the event. Assuming Ontario’s COVID-19 numbers continue on their present course, Porchfest will be held on 10 porches throughout the village on July 17.
“We now have nine firm porches and one is a 90-per-cent maybe,” said Porchfest Chairman Ken Duff on Monday. “I’m really quite optimistic we can have Porchfest this year.”
Unlike a normal year when bands sign themselves up on the Porchfest website, the musicians playing at the 2021 event will be by invitation only. A return to the normal format of open registration for musicians will return in 2022 after the pandemic is over.
Duff was in the process of preparing a safety plan this week to submit to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to ensure all COVID-19 safety protocols in place at the time of the event are followed. Masks and social distancing will be mandatory for spectators at Porchfest this year, regardless of what regulations are in place at the time, Duff said.
“As long as we can get the approval I’m sure we’ll be able to go ahead as planned,” Duff said, noting the possibility Porchfest could be canceled at the last minute if caseloads jump again in July. “I’m confident enough to put the effort in to put it together.”
A Porchfest after-party is being planned under the outdoor tent at the Windsor Tavern. Porchfest organizers are also hoping to video all of the musicians this year so that anyone who is not able to attend can view the performances on the Porchfest Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/vkhporchfest .
“We want to assemble all the videos into a Porchfest movie, so if you couldn’t get to Vankleek Hill for Porchfest, you’ll still be able to see everything,” Duff said.
Low’s Realty Inc. in Vankleek Hill has returned as the title sponsor of Porchfest for 2021. The event is also receiving support from Champlain Township.