One late spring Sunday, Haynie’s Corner Brewing Company owner Samantha Buente arranged to have a busy bar shift covered so she could launch into her second passion: planning this year’s Evansville’s Front Porch Fest.
Now in its eighth year, the free, single-day music festival spreads across front porches through Haynie’s Corner Art District on Labor Day weekend. Up to 7,000 listeners stroll the Arts District, enjoying a broad range of musical genres, food trucks, and a beer garden.
“It’s like the last gasp of summer,” Buente describes.
She is in her sixth year as the events coordinator for the Haynie’s Corner Art District Association, and she manages the festival like the detail-oriented person she is. Buente helps curate a lineup of 40-plus local musicians, which has included Georgia Funkadelic, Atlas of the Dogs, Mock Orange, and Monte Skelton.
Thanks to organizers’ skills in garnering sponsorships, Front Porch Fest can pay the musical acts.
“I think the biggest thing people would be surprised about is the amount of care that goes into setting up each house and each musician, making sure that that pairing is done to maximize the experience for everyone involved, the host, the musician, and the attendee,” Buente says.
In addition to using the district’s historic residential front porches, the festival has 60 opportunities for volunteers. Coordinating also means pivoting. In 2021, a rain delay forced the afterparty to shift to the following day. The move proved so popular that the afterparty has expanded to six hours.
Buente doesn’t hold back on her appreciation for enthusiasm about the festival. “Nothing ever surprises me more than seeing the neighborhood really come together,” she says. “I would say the other shocking piece is having 45 music groups show up at the right time in the right place and pulling it off … it’s beautiful.”
WHEN YOU GO
2023 Evansville Front Porch Fest
3-11 p.m. Sept. 2, Haynie’s Corner Arts District
Afterparty, 8-11 p.m. Sept. 3