There’s not much better on a glorious Laramie autumn afternoon than to kick around town in search of live music. That’s the vision behind the inaugural Front Porch Music Festival, set for Sunday.
From noon-5 p.m. Sunday, 30 local groups are set to play hour-long sets at six different locations, among them the front porches and backyards of private residences. The venues are located between Sixth and 11th streets and between Custer Street and Grand Avenue.
Event coordinator Sharon Martinson said she initially aimed to find a handful of porches and a dozen acts before the event grew to more than twice that. Plus, she said, a few unofficial venues in the neighborhood might join in as well.
“It’s going to be a jam-packed music day,” she said. “The point is to celebrate music as art and to celebrate all the talent that we have here in Laramie.”
Martinson, herself a touring and recording musician, said the idea for the Front Porch Music Festival came after she heard about similar events in other cities. Martinson was born in Wyoming but lived in California and New England before returning several years ago.
She thought the idea was a perfect fit for the Laramie community. Indeed, she didn’t have to work hard to find dozens of willing porch owners and musicians.
“This is what makes Laramie special,” she said.
The line-up ranges from professional groups and familiar names to music students and ensembles, with an emphasis on local acts.
“The point was to highlight Albany County,” she said.
Martinson called Laramie the “music capital of Wyoming” because of its diverse music scene and the sheer number of talented performers.
“The density per capita of musicians in this town is higher than probably any other place that I’ve lived,” she said.
Festival goers should remember that all municipal codes remain in effect during the Front Porch Music Festival. Audience members will find restrooms and drinking fountains at Albany County Public Library, 310 S. Eighth St., which is one of the venues. Laramie Public Art Coalition will have T-shirts for sale at the library as well.
Martinson encouraged audience members to bring their bikes or plan to walk between venues.
“We don’t want a lot of traffic driving around the neighborhood,” she said.
People should bring a chair or blanket, be respectful of private property, pack out their trash and leave their dogs at home. Dogs are allowed on sidewalks, but not on private property.
“Make it a musical meander, and just make your way through the neighborhood,” she said.
Martinson said she was grateful for the collaborations and volunteers that enabled the festival to take place, and she’s looking forward to future iterations, perhaps in different neighborhoods around Laramie.
“I’m really grateful to live in a community where it’s easy to find porches and musicians,” she said.
Maps with suggested walking and biking routes are available on Facebook or with this article. Participants are encouraged to have those images available as a guide during the festival.