What I Wish I Knew: The brains behind the PorchRokr festival

by Michelle DeShon

Karen Starr, Jonathan Morschl, and Anita Marron have been working to put together the PorchRokr festival since its first year in 2012. They reflect on what they wish they had known when they first got involved with Akron’s music and art festival.


Karen Starr

“Zero-waste Lady.” Responsible for environment rentals like waste bins, portable toilets, and critical elements like booths, tables and chairs. 

“Well, because of the very specific thing that I do every PorchRokr morning—putting a bunch of tables in the back of my van and schlepping them all over the neighborhood—I wish I would have known that I should have put a little packing blanket on the back of my van” because her car has experienced some wear and tear, but she said they are “good scars for the neighborhood.”

“I wish I would have known that more people would have helped out had we asked that first year. I think that we were all so busy putting it together and not really understanding what type of help we needed, I wish I would have asked more friends to just show up that day and we’ll figure something out for you to do.”


Jonathan Morschl


“I think it’s just the amount of work that goes into it, as easy as it is now, there’s still all this work that needs to be done in terms of planning that it doesn’t seem like you can just replicate every time for whatever reason. It’s ever-evolving. We never thought that it would get as big as it is now, so learning how to scale that and you know, over the years that’s been a challenge.”


Anita Marron

Head of arts and graphics

“I wish that I would have kind of trusted that the neighborhood would be as accepting as it is … like that the neighbors would all embrace it. The first meeting of PorchRokr, I’m kind of standing on a cliff and you just jump and you hope that there’s something below you. And that’s kind of how it works out every year. Kind of trust that everyone’s gonna do their stuff and the neighborhood’s going to love it and the bands will all show up.”



(Featured photo of Karen Starr, Jonathan Morschl and Anita Marron by Michelle DeShon/The Devil Strip)