Front Porch festival will not hold any future events

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 11, 2022

File photo by Donna Agusti

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FERNDALE — A popular Ferndale music festival announced that it will not be returning for any future events.

The Front Porch, the local music festival in which bands and musicians played on the front porches of Ferndale homes, will not be holding any more events. The event’s producer, Michael Benghiat, made the announcement in a Facebook post last month.

“I am forever grateful for all the porch hosts throughout Ferndale that provided their porches as stages for this event, and of course for all the talented musicians/bands that played to bring this event to life,” he said in the post. “This event would not have happened without this tremendous participation and collaboration.”

The event was held on the porches of Ferndale homes from 2017 to 2019. According to Benghiat’s post, the festival grew from 27 performances on 30 porches in 2017 to 57 perfomances on 27 porches in its last year.

The Front Porch was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was that hiatus from putting on the festival that led to Benghiat’s decision to not pursue any future events, in addition to dealing with city event requirements and a lack of sponsorships.

“I don’t know if the pandemic killed it, but the pandemic certainly took momentum from the event after missing two years, as the pandemic has for ongoing, recurring, annual events across the board,” he told the Woodward Talk. “I don’t want to say it lost its luster for me to produce it. Again, it was a passion project. There wasn’t any monies that I earned off of it. It was just the pure pleasure and satisfaction of creating a community event to bring people together and to listen to some great music. And, you know, I have my own business and businesses that I run, and I needed to focus on that for now.”

“It was something that I put a lot of time and energy into getting off the ground in 2017, (and) it was certainly hard to kind of let it go,” he continued.

Mayor Melanie Piana stated that similar events still are recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

“The Front Porch was really beloved by residents,” she said. “It really creates a sense of community, and it takes a lot of effort to put on a community-wide event like they did, multiple streets and neighborhoods, road closures and things like that. And that all takes money to produce. … It was a high-quality event that really brought a sense of community and neighborhoods together, and I hope it comes back.”

Though the festival was not held last year, Benghiat noted that there was a similar iteration held in Ferndale by past participants of The Front Porch in the event’s absence.

While he doesn’t plan to bring the festival back, Benghiat said he wouldn’t mind seeing the people who put on the similar event to continue holding it.

“It’s my hope that it will live on in some manner,” he said. “To me, that means the legacy of the event that was created in 2017 will live on in some fashion. It may not be under The Front Porch banner or name, but the concept will live on.”

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