By Dulcy B. Hooper

Porchfests have been sweeping across the country, and beyond, for over a decade now — annual events that bring together neighbors to enjoy the talent of local musicians who perform their music on front porches.

When members of The Plains Community League began talking about ways to host a community event, the porchfest concept was considered. However, when the group looked at the realities and costs of road closures and other logistics in hosting such an event, they came up with an alternative: Working with local restaurants to serve as stages while highlighting both musicians and local businesses and providing an atmosphere for music, food and drink along the way.

The inaugural Music in The Plains is set for Saturday, Oct. 5. The event kicks off around 1 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m. No RSVP is necessary, and no purchase of food or drink at any of the participating restaurants is required to enjoy the music.

Debbie McLaughlin, president of The Plains Community League, said that she is excited to bring Music in The Plains to the town and The John Page Turner Community House. “Share some good toe-tapping music, visit our wonderful art galleries and shops in between sets, or get a bite to eat from the restaurants who are providing space for the bands to play,” encouraged McLaughlin.

To help facilitate the first of what the group anticipates will become an annual event, local artist Sue Brawl designed a map of the town that will guide participants to the various events. Along with the performers, a number of art studios and antique shops in The Plains will host open houses and serve as an “art walk” as neighbors and visitors move from event to event.

The afternoon music begins at 1:30 p.m. at The Front Porch, where Kid Sister, a local group from Broad Run described as a “power pop band” will play an assortment of cover songs. At 2:45 p.m., the event moves on to The Rail Stop with music by Brothers Another — a bluegrass trio put together by Jonathan Marquisee, a banjo player who formerly performed with Gold Top County Ramblers.

At 4:15 p.m. at Girasole, Jiamie Pyles, talented local singer, songwriter and performer, performs “Americana roots with a touch of Reggae, a back porch kind of sound.” And at 5:30 p.m., NoVA Voce, the upper school a cappella singing ensemble from Wakefield School performs at The John Page Turner Community House.

In addition to music, art, food and drink, food, local resident Lilla Ohrstrom is resurrecting The Plains’ scarecrow contest. Everyone is welcome to build a scarecrow and vote on their favorite. Next year’s plans include even more activities and entertainment, as members of The Plains Community League hope to grow this event in 2020. ML

This article first appeared in the September 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.