Medicine Hat’s newest music festival, Porchfest, invites local performers to set up their instruments and play live music on the Southeast Hill.
Medicine Hat’s newest music festival, Porchfest, invites local performers to set up their instruments and play live music on the Southeast Hill, a neighborhood full of historic homes, beautiful boulevards, and front porches.
When Rob and Shannon Pape experienced something similar in Ontario, the two knew they needed to bring an event like this to Medicine Hat. In 2021, Porchfest invited 12 local musicians to perform outside and in front of a wandering crowd, underneath a blue sky and sunshine.
“The Southeast Hill is a very central location, and it made sense for us to host the festival in the heart of the city,” says Rob. “During our first year, we had almost 3,000 people wander around in the five and a half hour period. It was amazing to see the Hill lit up with families, friends, and couples holding each other’s hands, smiling and being happy.”
People of all ages brought their dogs, put on their sunscreen and sun hats, and set up their foldable chairs to sit outside and listen to live music. Some went porch to porch on foot and others on bike.
Of course, Porchfest will return for its second year in 2022. As the years go by, Rob and Shannon plan to grow the festival to be the home-going event on the Hill, with more porch performances and available activities throughout the day.
“The experience so far has been phenomenal. Last year we were so pleased that we had 12 porches that accommodated performers from solo artists, to two-piece, and four-piece bands,” says Rob. “Porchfest is designed in its nature to be as accessible, open, and inclusive as possible, and it’s a great way for everyone to experience live music outdoors in a way that hasn’t yet been introduced to Medicine Hat. We wanted to host a festival like this to lift the spirits of our local community members and to promote local musicians and give them space to perform.”