Jake Thistle Opens Porchfest 7 Credit: Brenda Hamlet

The annual Asbury PorchFest, taking place on the last weekend of September, is without a doubt the ultimate event closing the end of local summer here in the city.  This year’s PorchFest 7 was no exception.  Even as flooding from Hurricane Ophelia forced the cancellation of Saturday’s events, organizers kept their heads and pulled together a new line-up for Sunday. Magically, overnight the rain stopped, the surging waters receded, and the sun burst through the clouds, bringing blue skies and thousands of residents into the streets and porches across Asbury Park.

The event kicked off at noon, with special musical Guest Jake Thistle performing original songs and music to the hundreds gathering at the Asbury Lanes.  The New Jersey singer songwriter is only nineteen years old, but he has played with such legends as Tom Petty, Southside, the Smithereens and Wille Nile.  Jake’s debut demo album, ‘Down the Line’ was released when still a student at Rutgers and gained national acclaim for its original song lyrics and authentic sound.  His second album with Golden Retriever Records is currently in production at Lake House Music Academy.  Jake is an official artist for WhyHunger’s Artists Against Hunger and Poverty.

Crowd Shot at Porchfest Credit: Brenda Hamlet

In between songs, Jordon Modell addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support and stressing the goals of this year’s fest to fund at least 3,000 meals for the Mercy Center and to help the Asbury Park African American Music Project pay for the restoration of the Turf Club, the historic music venue on Springwood Avenue played by Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Clarence Clemons.

By 1pm, the streets were alive with bands across 25 venues and porches from 1st Avenue to Sunset Avenue.  Locals were walking, biking and pushing strollers along the tree-lined streets to catch some of their favorite acts. 

Indie Band Yawn Mower at the St. Laurent Porchfest 2023 Credit: Brenda Hamlet

At the St. Laurent, indie band Yawn Mower rocked 7th Avenue alive with their unique blend of doom pop and hip-hop.  Jarod Clemens followed with his Blue’s inspired Rock’n’Roll. Food and beverages were on offer from food trucks and in the St. Laurent Garden and restaurant.

Meanwhile at 1222 Sunset, The Break Plans got the party going with a dance till you drop set of 80’s inspired indie pop. In case you missed them, this Freehold based band will be appearing Friday, October 6th at The Asbury Lanes. Later, R&B artists Alexander Simone and Whodat?Crew kept the energy alive with original songs and hip-hop style arrangements of classics from Nina Simone, Tina Turner and Frank Sinatra.

On the other side of town, Des and the Swagmatics brought the Porchfest to a close with their funky soul rendition of “My Place,” as fans grooved around the pool. And, so ending Porchfest 2023 in the glow of an October sunset.

Opening of Porchfest 7 in front of Asbury Lanes Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a journalist covering trends in the media and arts. Brenda lives in Asbury Park and teaches writing at Kean University. Her contributions will focus on the state of the Arts in Asbury Park.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *