Boulder's historic Mapleton Hill neighborhood hosted 27 concerts on Sunday, inviting the community to listen to local musicians play on porches throughout the area.

Travis Lawson attended the event multiple times before getting an invitation this year to perform as part of Timber!, a local, five-piece bluegrass band. he plays the upright bass.

"This is an amazing event," he said after performing in a yard under big shade trees for an audience that often danced along. "It's intimate. You get to sit in somebody's yard to listen to the music."

What began as a small neighborhood gathering with a couple of ukuleles a decade ago in Ithaca, New York, has turned into a nationwide celebration of community and local music with more than 60 PorchFests in the U.S. and Canada.

The Road West, with Steve Remmert, Dave Goldhammer and Katy Buckbee, perform for the crowd, including Noel Hermele and Pat McTighe in the front row. The
The Road West, with Steve Remmert, Dave Goldhammer and Katy Buckbee, perform for the crowd, including Noel Hermele and Pat McTighe in the front row. The performance was part of Sunday's seventh annual PorchFest on Mapleton Hill in Boulder. (Paul Aiken/Staff Photographer)

Mapleton Hill joined the PorchFest party in 2012. The annual event is held on the third Sunday of September.

Organizers said the walkable design of the neighborhood, the low speed limit on the wide streets and the conversational distance between the porches and sidewalks is what makes Mapleton the perfect spot for the event.

"It's a wonderful neighborhood event and supports local artists," said Kathy Spear, a member of the PorchFest organizing committee.

Alicia Guzman offered the use of her porch to the event for the second year.

"It has the spirit of community," she said. "It's such an old neighborhood, with all these grand trees. It just seems the right place to have music."


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This year's event kicked off with a parade, followed by two sets of concerts so people could see more groups. Musicians perform for free.

Steve Remmert, who plays with folk and Americana trio The Road West, said it's an easy event to say "yes" to when asked to donate performance time.

"It's super fun," he said. "I totally believe in supporting the community. So many people give so much to make this event happen. Why wouldn't I?"

While some people settled in on a single porch to listen to an entire hour-and-a-half concert by the same group, most took in a song or two and then moved on to the next to hear a variety.

"It's really fun to walk around and hear different local bands," said Denver's Jane Bradford, who joined a couple of Boulder friends for the event.

Zoe Vanderveer, who moved to the area three weeks ago from New Orleans with her husband and two young sons, said they wanted to take advantage of a local opportunity to hear music.

"This is great," she said. "It's beautiful weather, a beautiful neighborhood and music."

Amy Bounds: 303-473-1341, boundsa@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/boundsa