The pleasing sounds of live music could be heard echoing about neighborhoods in central Emporia for much of the day, Oct. 10, as a cast of talented local singers and musicians joined forces to host the first-ever Front Porch Music Festival.

From noon to 8 p.m., four residences throughout Neosho, Rural and West streets transformed their entryways into stages and their front lawns into seating areas, attracting a consistent flow of concert fans and other curious ears until sundown.

The selection ranged from worship music, to bluegrass and folk-rock, featuring covers and original songs alike from groups such as Pretend Friend, Sam and the Fire Watchers, Neighbors, Durst and Friends, United, Rock Solid, Clash of Cymbals, 31st Symphony, String Uprising, Living Stones and Never Too Young in addition to a host of solo acts and duets.

Thanks to an emphasis on social distancing and its open-air format, the event was also able to feature the Two Dudes Foods and Mis Antojitos food trucks, marking just another of its overall successes for organizer Joe Foster.

“Everything really exceeded my expectations,” said Foster, who also put on a performance Saturday. “Everybody was respectful of one another, and there was great support from the community. I felt like it went fabulously with all things considered.”

Foster said much of his thanks belonged to all those who attended and devoted their time to entertaining the community knowing they wouldn’t receive pay, saying he appreciated the importance of being able to host an uplifting event in the midst of a difficult year for many.

“I can’t really take credit for it, because it’s not an original idea,” he said. “I kind of just reached out to musicians I knew of on the fly, and everybody was really eager to play some live music for the community this year … More and more time slots started to fill up, and I tried to fill any of the gaps we had by asking the people hosting and providing their porches to ask anyone they knew of if they might be interested in playing. It really all came together nicely.”

Foster wants to be able to organize similar events moving forward, looking toward a day when the festival can perhaps expand in its numbers of groups, locations and other outside attractions. In the meantime, those interested in continuing the festival into the future are encouraged to make their voices heard on the Emporia Front Porch Festival Facebook page, which also hosts information on Saturday’s full roster of bands.

“I hope that we’ll get to do everything again next year,” he said. “There would probably be some minor changes we could make to have it run smoother, but I would say there’s definitely interest in the community for it. It would be great to see it continue.”

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