Vankleek Hill Porchfest will be smaller but the entertainment just as big when it takes place on July 17.

“It’s smaller – the last time we held Porchfest (2019) we had 40 performers and this year we have 12,” said Porchfest Chairman Ken Duff, of this year’s event. “We have more than enough performers this year to fill Vankleek Hill with music.”

This year’s downsized Porchfest will see 12 different performers playing on 10 porches throughout Vankleek Hill. The event will run from noon until 5 p.m. on July 17.

“There’s been a lot of really positive feedback on the fact (Porchfest) is happening,” Duff said. “I’ve had a number of emails and phone calls from people who can’t wait, because they haven’t missed one since the beginning and they’re anxious to see it again.”

Low’s Realty Inc. in Vankleek Hill has returned as the title sponsor of Porchfest for 2021. The full schedule for Porchfest 2021 can be found here http://porchfestvankleekhill.ca/schedule-map/ .

Unlike a normal year when bands sign themselves up on the Porchfest website, the musicians playing at the 2021 event were asked by invitation to play. Invitations were sent out to everyone who had played at multiple Porchfests and the 12 performers booked on a first-come-first-serve basis. A return to the normal format of open registration for musicians will return in 2022 after the pandemic is over.

All COVID-19 safety protocols in place at the time of the event must be followed. Masks and social distancing will be mandatory for spectators at Porchfest this year, regardless of what regulations are in place the day of the event.

Porchfest’s chairman said he expects crowds to be smaller in 2021 than at past events due to provincial health restrictions. There will be monitors at each porch while performers are playing to ensure masking and social distancing is being observed. Porchfest volunteers will also have masks to provide to anyone without one.

“We’re fortunate in that we have clusters of performance areas, so we’re going to have volunteers monitor each performance,” said Duff, who added that the volunteers will be authorized to shut a performance down if regulations are not followed.

There are still some volunteers needed to help with this year’s Porchfest. Anyone interested in helping out at the event can contact Duff via email at [email protected].

Porchfest organizers are also planning 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.