Resident Francine Hachem, who offered her porch for The Front Porch event last year, offers cookies, chips and water to concertgoers watching Jill Jack’s performance.

Resident Francine Hachem, who offered her porch for The Front Porch event last year, offers cookies, chips and water to concertgoers watching Jill Jack’s performance.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

The Front Porch concerts to expand to both sides of Woodward Avenue

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 27, 2018

FERNDALE — An event that came to Ferndale last year will be returning to the city, and on a much wider scale.

The Front Porch, a concert showcase where artists and bands play on the front porches of residents’ homes all around the city, will hold its now-annual event for the second time Saturday, June 23.

Event producer Michael Benghiat said that the event has “pretty much” been established as an ongoing event in the city and will always be held on the third weekend in June.

As of now, the event is looking for both artists to perform and residents to volunteer their front porches, which both can do at www.the

This year, however, the footprint of the event will be bigger, as Benghiat said it will be expanding to the east side of Woodward Avenue. Last year’s inaugural fest only covered the west side.

Most likely, Benghiat said, the event will go as far south as Marshall Street and as far north as Maplehurst Avenue, and as far west as Pinecrest Drive and as far east as Hilton Road. The expansion, he said, was based on the feedback from last year’s event and the interest from the community

“It was our first year, and we really wanted to get the event under our feet and make sure that we pulled off a good event,” he said. “We wanted it to be manageable for ourselves as event organizers. We think we have a pretty good formula and template that now we can safely say that we can go to the east side and expand and manage the event quite well — as much as we did last year.”

One of the performers from last year’s event was artist and singer Emma Guzman, who plays acoustic, folk and indie-type music.

Guzman said the experience was great and that she thinks she’ll apply to come back to this year’s edition as well.

“My host was very nice. She had a nice setup, and she was very welcoming to everybody who was there to see the show, and she was very welcoming as well,” she said.

“Everybody paid attention and they were there to enjoy the music, and it was a really nice experience and a really nice environment,” Guzman said.

Guzman called the event a “little more intimate than playing in a club, as people actually were watching and listening. 

“They don’t really pay attention to anything else, aside from, like, if they want to just kind of walk around and check out all the artists. … It’s a much more intimate setting than playing in a club,” she said.

While discussing this year’s edition, Benghiat teased that producers are exploring the possibility of having a “concluding event or concert” somewhere in the designated area of the event.

He also said that with the expansion of the footprint for the event, there will be room for more porches and artists.

“We had early discussions, obviously, prior to last year’s event, and the city really had approved for us to grow in our second year from 25 porches, incrementally five porches every succeeding year,” he said. “So we’re going from 25 to 30 this year. I can’t say how that’s going to be split up between the east and the west side, but nevertheless, it gives us a little bit of room for growth. And last year we had 42 bands. So we’re certainly hoping that we’ll grow to at least 50, if not 50-plus bands.”