Oswego’s eighth annual Porchfest will feature more than 70 acts around the Port City on Sept. 17, plus an increased spotlight on performers thanks to SUNY Oswego computer science faculty member James Early’s continued offer to record sets free of charge.

Running noon to 6 p.m., the Oswego Porchfest is an annual community event featuring music on porches along streets around the historic neighborhoods of Franklin (West) Park and Montcalm Park. This year’s Porchfest performances feature groups playing various genres including rock, pop, country, Americana and more. Porchfest performances include both original songs and covers of popular music. Several performances include SUNY Oswego community members.

Early, who has formal training in audio recording as a sound engineer, began offering his expertise as a way to further grow the audiences of local Porchfest performers, and build community.

“For me, music is best when it brings people together. Events like Porchfest not only showcase some incredible talent, but they also help us recognize and celebrate community,” Early said.

Early’s offer to help record performances from the eighth annual Porchfest is a continuation of his work in doing so last year, and follows his previous participation as a performer.

This is the eighth year of the Oswego Porchfest, and I've performed in bands at several of them. I first offered recording services last year, and had four acts express interest,” Early said.

Building community

Early has continued to offer to record Porchfest performances as a means to help those performing attract audiences, as well as grow the community following for the event.

“I would welcome the opportunity to help Porchfest performers [build their audiences],” Early said. “I’m offering this service free of charge because this is about building community.”

Early also is working with Music Department faculty to include audio production students in the process to record more performances this year. The inclusion of students to assist in recording is rooted in the increasing popularity of Early’s offer. 

I was working alone and was therefore limited by the logistics of transport, set up, and tear down at each location, so I was able to record only two acts that day,” Early said.This year, we've heard from eight acts, twice as many as last year, and that is why we're reached out to the music department to find interested students to help.” 

The increased assistance will help record more performers than last year.

“More engineers will enable us to work multiple locations at once, and handle logistics more efficiently,” Early said.

Early also sees the inclusion of students as a way to provide valuable learning experiences.

“Aspiring audio engineers need practice in learning how to select the appropriate equipment for the vocalists and musicians, and getting the highest fidelity recordings on location,” Early said. “They also need practice bringing these recordings back into the studio and mixing them to create something that captures the energy and emotion of the performance.” 

Early believes the project not only benefits performers and students, but provides a way for the SUNY Oswego campus and community to cooperate.

“The performers get great recordings that they can use for promotion, and the students get a great opportunity to develop their skills. Finally, it's a great way for the campus and local communities to engage,” Early said.

For more information on the festival, visit the Porchfest website. For details on some of the SUNY Oswego campus members performing, check out this related story.

-- Written by Ethan Semeraro of the Class of 2023