North Washington Street Porch Shows


Washington Street Porch Shows

Musicians on a Washington Street porch think and perform outside the box. Photo from YpsiReal.

In a town as rich in creative energy as Ypsilanti, musical performances can happen pretty much anywhere, and the Washington Street porch shows are proof. The spacious porch of 201 N. Washington Street in Ypsi has become the perfect DIY venue for local musical talent and casual community gatherings, put together almost entirely by Washington Street resident J.T. Garfield.

The magic of these shows comes from their completely laid-back, free-form atmosphere. Usually artists perform from the porch while the audience relaxes on folding chairs or plunks down right on the lawn. And if the musician doesn’t feel like playing up on the porch, well, he or she might just sit in the grass too and play from there. During one rainy Sunday show, Washington Street residents threw together a covering that was part zip-tie, part tarp-fort, part tent to cover the entire porch and the audience. Even the line-up is changeable, with some improvisational music acts jumping up on stage as the spirit moves them.

While the shows’ schedules are often packed with local musicians, there is always an effort to keep things interesting by including comedians, dancers, spoken word artists, and other diverse types of performance art. Past acts include Matt Jones, Misty Lyn, Fred Thomas, and J.T. himself, who belongs to the band Truman.

There’s no real schedule for these shows, but that’s no surprise when everything about this event speaks to its easygoing, yard-barbecue atmosphere. As of now, there’s only one future porch show with a date, on September 4th, so if you happen to be just cruising down Washington around 6pm and in the mood for music, it’ll be your lucky day.

For an excellent interview with J.T. Garfield on the origins and vision of the porch shows, check out this article from Ypsi Real by Michael Moriarty.

The next Washington Street porch show will be on September 4th at 6pm outside 201 N. Washington St. This free event is open to the public.