Suwanee’s Summer Porch jam last year was the first event in Georgia to recognize international Make Music Day, a tradition launched in France in 1982. More than 1,000 cities in 120 countries mark the occasion on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice.
Suwanee’s successful 2018 event is back this year and will return to the historic Main Street district of Old Town Suwanee from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. Guests can wander porch to porch in Old Town to take in tunes at nine different historic locations within walking distance.
“My personal favorite venue from last year’s Summer Porch Jam was Mayor Burnette’s front porch. There’s something unique and special about hanging out with the mayor in his front yard, listening to music,” City of Suwanee Public Information Officer Abby Wilkerson said. “I love this event – it’s just so laid back and cool.”
Performance genres include jazz, blues, classic rock, bluegrass and a drum circle at the Main Street Caboos and Pierce’s Corner. There’s a music showcase for students from local shop Town Center Music and a children’s stage for a Disney-themed singalong and some musical crafts projects.
Parking is available at Suwanee Town Center, roughly a 10-minute walk from Old Town. Shuttles run from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. and pick up behind Ippolito’s, at the Suwanee Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library, on the corner of Main Street and Stonecypher Road and Everett’s Music Bar at 4055 Stonecypher Road.
Local food vendors will provide meals and refreshments. Suwanee’s own Ippolito’s will sell beer and wine, and Cloudland Coffe Co. will set up a lemonade stand. There are plenty of options for sweets, including Rita’s Italian Ice, Daddy O’Brien’s Irish Ice Cream Pub, Steel City Pops, Chimney Cake USA and Hobie Pop Kettle Corn. Good Eatz BBQ, Jerk Brothers and Mad Greek will provide savory meal options.
The festival features an eclectic group of artists playing at unique venues. Classic rock and blues band Riff Blender is listed as the event headliner, playing at the Burnette Rogers Pavilion on Main Street. Huthmaker Violins will host a bluegrass band on one of the many wraparound porches in the historic 1880 Rhodes Hotel.
The event’s instrument petting zoo is a good introduction to music for children or anyone interested in learning to play the strings.
Suwanee Academy of the Arts will sponsor a children’s karaoke stage, and children can also make their own shakers and join in the drum circle near the Caboose on Main Street.
Main Street — parallel to Buford Highway — will be blocked off close to Stonecypher Road, as well as intersecting streets up to Cobblestone Street, past the Burnette Rogers Pavilion.