PorchRokr 2018

by Emily Dressler


The annual Highland Square PorchRokr Music and Art Festival will take place Saturday, August 18 from 10:15 am to 8 pm. More than 30 porches, lawns and businesses between South Highland Avenue and Belvidere Way on the south side of West Market Street will host bands, artists, food vendors and drink vendors. This daylong event, created and managed by the Highland Square Neighborhood Association (HSNA), is held in a different quadrant of Highland Square each year and is expected to draw at least 10,000 people to the area.

PorchRokr is the cool, real-life application of those nightmare word problems from middle school math: area bands will perform on porches every hour throughout the ten-hour festival. Each porch will host one band every other hour. At least three bands will perform on each porch. If you add all that together and round up your answer, it equals a lot of music. You should bring ear plugs because it is important to be proactive about preserving your hearing.

Performances are scheduled strategically across porches and front yards so that sounds and songs are not constantly overlapping, but some overlap seems likely. Local bands have not always proven themselves to be bastions of punctuality. Hopefully, event volunteers will help keep things on schedule.

In total, about 130 bands are slated to perform. Each year, the HSNA receives more applicants than the year before, and each year, they have had to turn down an increasing number of acts due to time and space constraints. This year, more than 260 bands submitted applications. Reflect momentarily on the fact that PorchRokr 2013 featured 90 bands.

Organizers have also had to reject some porches, mostly due to their proximity to other porches. Getting a rejection letter for your porch seems like a strangely sad event.

In addition to the numerous porch-stages, there are also four actual stages within the event footprint. The mainstage, located behind Fifth Third Bank on Beck Avenue, will host various performances and giveaways throughout the day. The Guitar Orchestra will formally kick off the event at 10:15 on the mainstage. The event headliner, Red Rose Panic, will close out the day on the mainstage. The other stages are located near the Beer Garden, behind the Two Turtles plaza and at the corner of West Market Street and Byers Avenue.

Although the wide breadth of music and artists at PorchRokr is impressive, the festival also has admirable zero waste initiatives. The HSNA has reached out to the Big Love Network and Summit ReWorks for assistance with composting and recycling. This is good, considering Akron’s recent problems with putting dirty or contaminated recyclables into our recycle bins. Sorry, Mayor Horrigan — we’re trying to be better!

As part of the zero waste goal, the HSNA says they have made efforts to guide food vendors toward using compostable materials, like corn-based utensils and plates. The Beer Garden will be using compostable cups that will eventually be composted by the Akron Zoo’s aerobic composter. This means that the Akron Zoo will turn your empty beer cup into soil conditioners, which is pretty cool.  

For event updates, band schedules and other relevant information, check out the Highland Square PorchRokr 2018 event page on Facebook.


(photos courtesy of Porch Rokr)


Emily will be walking around looking for the portable bathrooms, with bated breath.