Barrington resident launching new music festival on neighborhood porches

Jay Istvan has some distance to travel before he becomes the next great music promoter like Bill Graham or even suburban entertainment boss Ron Onesti.

But the budding Barrington impresario is working on it.

Istvan is the driving force behind Porchfest, a neighborhood music festival that will be held the afternoon of Saturday, July 16, in Barrington. The event is tentatively scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m., although some bands might start a little bit earlier and end a bit later.

Bands will play on the porches of houses in the 300, 500 and 600 blocks of South Grove Avenue and the 300, 500 and 600 blocks of South Cook Street. Scheduled bands will include Wrought Iron Soul, Ed Scoby & Amnesiacs, Rough Draft Rocks and the Dill Spears.

The event is free to anyone who ventures into the area, although tips will be welcome.

The concept is a basic one.

"Local musicians on local porches," Istvan said, pointing out that the concept is popular in other markets. "It's big in the Boston area. It's big in the Nashville area."

In Illinois, porch festivals are held in Oak Park, Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood and downstate Mount Morris, he said.

Istvan fell in love with the concept when he encountered a porch fest in the Boston suburb of Somerville, where his son lives.

"They have a massive one," he said. "They have been doing it for 14 years. They have over 100 bands on 100 porches."

Istvan has been organizing the Barrington event for the past three months, with the help of Anthony Lachus of Gray Wolf Records.

"I'm very optimistic," he said. "We've got 12 bands, ranging from pure amateurs to gigging professionals."

Food will not be officially served - that is more at the discretion of homeowners. Istvan heard some neighbors were talking about putting out a lemonade stand, while others were mulling the idea of driveway keggers or even a food truck.

"I'm excited because I feel the neighborhood is kind of owning it, like a community event," he said.

For more information on location and bands, visit

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