Rich Howells

Front porches and bars in Scranton’s Hill Section will host free live music on May 15

Front porches and bars in Scranton’s Hill Section will host free live music on May 15
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Through COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and government regulations, the music scene has endured, and even with most restrictions lifting soon, some innovations from the past year or so are remaining.

Scranton PorchFest debuted in March, transforming about 78 homes and businesses into colorful “floats” in lieu of the St. Patrick’s Parade, which was postponed due to COVID-19.

One popular feature of this first-time event was musicians performing on various porches that attracted neighbors and socially distanced crowds who truly missed seeing live music over the past year. ScrantonMade continued that idea with “Live Music in the Hill,” a new series of free outdoor shows in the historic Hill Section.

“This past Halloween, Jacob Cole, Mark Woodyatt, and Jon Ventre played some tunes on our porch. Neighbor Maria Santomauro attended and said, ‘We should make this a thing.’ We didn’t put much thought into after that until [Scranton Fringe Festival co-founder] Conor O’Brien was hosting PorchFest, the perfect time to offer up our porches as stages. We did it on a whim, threw it together in about two to three days, and it was so well-received by neighbors that we put out a poll in our neighborhood Facebook group. All neighbors in the group voted we continue the series, so that’s where we are at today,” ScrantonMade owner Cristin Powers told NEPA Scene.

“This is mostly organic, as most of the musicians live here in the Hill. I just kind of guide the schedule and create a graphic with the help of one of ScrantonMade’s designers, Maci Roos.”

The first event last month was delayed due to April showers, but nice little audiences showed up the next day to see local artists like the Jacob Cole Trio, The Bog Swing Group, Dave Brown and Shawn Caden of The Dishonest Fiddlers, and Luke Tinklepaugh while enjoying some light refreshments placed in front of the homes. A few sets were also live streamed on NEPA Scene’s Facebook page.

Weather permitting, Live Music in the Hill will be held every third Saturday of each month, so the next one is set for this Saturday, May 15. Donations are accepted at each porch and online via PayPal.

“All donations go directly to the musicians,” Powers noted. “We want to show that we value them as a part of our vibrant community and know that they were also heavily affected over the last year due to COVID.”

ScrantonMade sells locally-themed products like apparel, mugs, pillows, and more while organizing events highlighting artists, creatives, and small business owners like Arts on the Square, the Lackawanna Arts Festival, the ScrantonMade Holiday Market, and now Live Music in the Hill.

All the participating porches are within a few blocks of each other, and neighborhood bars and restaurants like Crotti’s on Ash and Jack’s Draft House are getting in on the fun. The music will be easy on the ears and family friendly, so all ages are welcome to come and listen.

Live Music in the Hill schedule
Saturday, May 15

1 p.m.: The Bog Swing Group (844 Taylor Ave.)
2 p.m.: Dave Brown & Friends (941 N. Irving Ave.)
3 p.m.: Roy Williams & Good Company (724 N. Irving Ave.)
4 p.m.: Erin Malloy & Friends (1425 Ash St.)
5 p.m.: Luke Tinklepaugh (Crotti’s on Ash – 1431 Ash St.)
6 p.m.: The Fiddle Tamers (Jack’s Draft House – 802 Prescott Ave.)

Watch NEPA Scene’s live streams of the Jacob Cole Trio and The Bog Swing Group below:

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene