Titsweat. Photo by Zack Henningsgaard.

Porch Perfect

Eugene PorchFest returns for its second year with local musical acts and movement classes

With long days of summer upon us, it’s time to kick off outdoor music season and soak up the sun at the Eugene PorchFest. 

In its second year, the outdoors-oriented Eugene PorchFest is bringing together a variety of local musical acts for a five-day festival, which started Wednesday, June 1, and runs through Sunday, June 5. The festival is held at various locations in Eugene-Springfield, and it’s giving some newcomer bands longer set times than the traditional night venues. 

“I felt like they wouldn’t want a band named Titsweat on their list,” laughs Gracie Schatz, bassist and singer for the band in question, who’s performing at the festival on Sunday, June 5. “I’m really excited that they want us to play. We’re stoked.” 

PorchFest events have occurred throughout the U.S. for years, from Ithaca, New York, to Milwaukie, Oregon. Rather than having shows indoors, the spirit of PorchFest is to have musical acts perform outdoors, though not limited to porches. The 2022 Eugene PorchFest’s locations are the homes of individuals, ranging in neighborhoods from the Whiteaker to south Eugene to downtown Springfield. 

The first year that the Eugene PorchFest was held was 2021, and it was a hit, organizer Eric Alterman says via email. “All of the shows sold out, and so many audience members expressed enthusiasm for PorchFest for a second year,” he says. “We never doubted that we would bring it back for another season — it was more a question of ‘when’ than ‘if.’”

The Eugene PorchFest is working with the local nonprofit ArtCity, he adds, so it can take donations from individuals and businesses who want to support the festival. 

Eugene PorchFest features a variety of musical acts, from the established (Mood Area 52 and Samba Ja) to the more avant garde (Eugene Difficult Music Ensemble and Project Libracello). In creating this year’s lineup, Alterman says, organizers followed the guiding principle of “musical abundance.” 

There are more shows than last year’s, which he says reflects the event’s popularity, and there’s diversity in the represented genres. “We include everything from classical music to experimental noise-rock, and musical traditions from parts of the world including Mexico, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Senegal, the Balkans and more,” he says. 

The festival also includes the genre of “garage glam,” which Schatz uses to describe Titsweat. Formed in the summer of 2021, the band’s name was a joke at first, a description of the sort of sweat that the trio experienced when practicing in a hot room, she says. “We like the rawness and looseness of being a garage rock band but still also getting dressed up, performative and campy a little bit,” she says about the garage glam descriptor. 

And that fits with the band’s influences. Some of Titsweat’s inspirations are ’80s and ’90s female rock stars, Schatz says, such as Kate Bush, Alanis Morissette, Bikini Kill and Sleater Kinney.  

“The priority of the music is catharsis,” Schatz says about the band’s songs. “Sometimes we like to play playful songs that are really fun and catchy, but we’re not afraid to dig into more emotional material. It feels vulnerable at times, but people have a lot of fun at our shows.” 

Schatz says Titsweat has been playing shorter, 30-minute sets on the local circuit — Old Nick’s, Luckey’s and other venues — but Eugene PorchFest is an opportunity to have an extended repertoire. And she says being a gender diverse band, the queer community feels safe at its shows, so it’s a place for people to shake their bodies. 

Titsweat’s show in College Hill won’t be the only place to move your body. In addition to several other musical acts, this year’s event has a movement component, which Altman says organizers envisioned from the beginning but wanted to keep the first year simple. One of the organizers, Amalia Coxe-Treiger, is a yoga teacher, he says, and has designed the movement portions and also leads some of the sessions. He adds that the movement workshops — ranging from Hatha yoga to voice-oriented exercises — are held in the mornings and afternoons and can mesh well with the shows later in the day to give festival-goers a complete experience. 

“Our overall intention as a festival has been to nourish the spirit of our community, born out of our collective experience of isolation during the COVID pandemic,” Altman says. “Hopefully some people who are drawn to one part of PorchFest will discover something new, whether that is a musical artist or a movement practice.”

Eugene PorchFest runs Wednesday, June 1, through Sunday, June 5. For more information about locations and to buy tickets, visit EugenePorchFest.com. Titsweat performs 6 pm Sunday, June 5, in the College Hill neighborhood. Tickets start at $5. 

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