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The 2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Wanderers and Rabbits, Bluegrass and Jazz
October 10, 2019

T
wenty-two acts. Fourteen porches and stages. One town on the water.

The 2019 Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival (Oct 4-6) saw an estimated couple-thousand people wandering Oriental and taking it all in. Many music festivals have a high dollar ticket price. This festival is free. To make it all work, Ol’ Front Porch relies on donations & sponsors. It works – this was the 6th annual festival.

The headlining act for 2019 was the Way Down Wanderers. They are “Award Winning Eclectic Newgrass” from Peoria, Illinois. They’ve hit #3 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart. They’ve toured across the U.S., Canada and the UK. On Saturday – they landed on Oriental:

The Way Down Wanderers close out their show with Cecilia.

Cane Mill Road, the River Ratz, Hooverville, and more returned to play the 2019 Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival. The bands, along with favorite local acts, took over the porches of the Old Village, playing and singing bluegrass, Americana, gospel, and even some jazz.

New to this year’s festival were Hank, Pattie & the Current, Into The Fog, Chatham Rabbits, and headliners The Way Down Wanderers.

Festival co-founders Dottie and Dick Osmun and Leslie Kellenberger, the the Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival Board of Directors, and a small army of volunteers spend months getting all the details right. The festival is a throwback – on a grander scale – to when musicians of all skills would gather on the front porch of the Ol’ Store and jam.

“I came into town Friday, and there was this excitement in the air,” said Dottie. She puts the weekend estimate at more than 3,000. “Everybody just seemed to have a really good time.”

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The Gospel Ensemble sings from the same porch on Freemason Street every year. Listeners pack the street to hear them.

You can listen, too:


Gospel Ensemble sings The Lord is My Strength

Gospel Ensemble sings Oh Magnify
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
If you’re not sure where to go…
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Taking that all important snack break.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Even stuffed animals got in on the listening action.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Cane Mill Road performed Friday and Saturday night. The first performance was inside The Old Theater, where some listeners sat outside the open doors to listen.
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The young musicians of Cane Mill Road, inside The Old Theater.

The closing of O’Town restaurant moved Cane Mill Road into The Old Theater on Friday night, a new venue for the festival. In an unexpected move, Cane Mill Road invited Chatham Rabbits to join them onstage for their second set.

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Chatham Rabbits, Saturday on the Main Stage by the riverfront.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
This pup and Ray D’Angelo took in the gospel singers on Freemason St.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Bikes were one of the more popular ways to see all the bands. Jimmie reclines in his trike bike as he watches acts on the Main Stage.
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Margie Ratzlaff of the River Ratz talks about her inspiration for the next song – when a plate of crawdads made specially for the band was devoured by a cheering stranger.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Fries – hot and ready.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Summer Daniels watches The Way Down Wanderers from an elevated perch.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The Way Down Wanderers from Peoria, IL were this year’s headliners.
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The Way Down Wanderers.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The Way Down Wanderers’s drummer and spoon man.

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2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Bill Hines serves up lunch for SoundRivers.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The grilled sausage and onions sold out.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Taking a break at the old well.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Questions answered, directions given. It’s the Ol’ Front Porch information booth.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Draco, a miniature Australian Shepherd, enjoyed the music on the Main Stage.
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Green Creek Bluegrass on stage at New Village Brewery.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Mark Hoff tries to distract Chris Daniels from his duties at the sound board. Both are members of Saltwater Gold.
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The Gospel Ensemble is a collaborative group with several choirs participating.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
With a packed porch, the drummer set up his kit in the grass.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Jim Kellenberger at the head of the sausage and onion lunch assembly line.
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2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Pamlico High School JROTC Navy manned the barricades, keeping Oriental’s streets one-way and helping direct pedestrian (and golf cart) traffic.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The men of Moores Creek Bluegrass.

Local non-profits and others including Rotary Club, SoundRivers, Pamlico Parkinson’s Network, Prime Time, Pamlico Arts Council, and the South Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department sold food and snacks adjacent to the Main Stage.

2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Rita Vorleiter and Melinda Penkava dish Manhattan Clam Chowder for the Pamlico Parkinson’s Network booth.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Fire Station 19 sold Root Beer floats.

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mahaloJazz offers a musical departure. Most other bands at Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival play bluegrass or a variant – mahalo served up jazz.
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Cane Mill Road’s second performance was Saturday on the Main Stage.
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Chatham Rabbits at their first set at New Village Brewery.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Chatham Rabbits’ Sarah Osborne McCombie and her banjo.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Younger audience members weren’t shy about dancing in the grass.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The amazingly stylish shoes of Collin Krause.
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John Merikoski is an exuberant performer, on drums and spoons.
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Austin Krause-Thompson on guitar, John Williams on upright bass, and Collin Krause on mandolin.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Always good to know where your gear comes from.
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The crowd called The Way Down Wanderers back for an encore performance. They performed Cecilia on the grass in front of the stage and received a standing ovation.

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2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Saltwater Gold is Scott Finch, Mike Ferrera, Mark Hoof, and Chris Daniels.
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Barry Bey and Bob Stratton perform for patrons of Nautical Wheelers.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
There was an early line to see Cane Mill Road on Friday night as The Old Theater has limited seating.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The view from up high has fewer heads in the way – Jamie & Anna Bossert took in the main stage view from a nearby tree.
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The crowd for Hank, Pattie & The Current filled the New Village Brewery Beer Garden.
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Bikes were a popular transportation method. Here are just a few seen around the Village.
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Harbor Sounds performed at The Stallings House on The Neuse. The quartet performs for free, most often for charities and non-profits.
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Hooverville played the Tiki Deck Saturday night. Lead singer John Bemis pointed across the deck to the Toucan Bar and Grill, saying he played there as a teen, back when it was called Topsiders.
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Bemis’ mother Claudia was in the audience. She and Alan Price danced as Hooverville played.

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Quartet Into The Fog brought something not seen in other groups: a slide guitar.
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Jill and Shane Harris.
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mahaloJazz features harmonica, upright bass, and a mix of percussion instruments.
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2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
The Down East Dulcimers on the porch of the Inn at Oriental.
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Salty Paws live aboard a sailboat. In October, they make sail into Oriental to play the Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival.
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The younger members of family group Strung Together Band.
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The UHOOs, Oriental’s own ukulele band.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
Seen at the Sunday morning service.
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The Sunday morning community service was held on the Main Stage. The praise and worship team from Oriental United Methodist Church performed as did Ken Belangia, Jim Durham with Jimmy Weaver, Laurel Creek, and Harbor Sounds.
2019 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival
TownDock.net staffer Abby kept the crowds entertained by herding Senior Management from one gig to the next.
See the Ol’ Front Porch Music Festivals.

Posted Thursday October 10, 2019 by Allison DeWeese


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