Back Porch Festival announces part of its lineup: Expanded roots music festival takes place in Northampton March 3 through 5, 2023

By STEVE PFARRER

Staff Writer

Published: 01-02-2023 11:27 AM

The Back Porch Festival, which is set to expand to multiple venues in downtown Northampton in early March, has begun to fill out its lineup.

Among numerous bands and artists that will play at the roots music showcase, begun by Signature Sounds in 2014, will be top-notch bluegrass guitarist and singer Molly Tuttle, the folk-country duo Watchhouse, Boston stringband Mile Twelve, and Americana specialists Whiskey Treaty Roadshow.

The festival, which began as a one-day event with a handful of bands, is now slated to have between 25 and 30 artists and groups and will be offered in multiple city venues March 3 through 5.

The event is being co-presented by Signature Sounds and the Northampton Arts Council and, in addition to being staged in eight different settings, will offer seating on a first-come, first-served basis, as at First Night Northampton.

The festival begins March 3 at the Academy of Music with a tribute to John Prine, with numerous performers, backed by a house band, singing Prine’s songs.

In another festival tribute, the country band Ward Hayden & The Outliers will play the music of Hank Williams to recognize the 100th anniversary of the birth of the famed country singer and songwriter.

Also on the bill: bluesman Cedric Burnside; Nora Brown, who’s been winning acclaim for her traditional Southern Appalachian banjo and guitar playing; The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, an acclaimed bluegrass band that mixes traditional and progressive sounds; and the Wolff Sisters, whose rootsy sound includes a bit of ’60s rock ‘n’ roll.

Molly Tuttle, a previous Back Porch Festival performer, is also a banjo player and songwriter who in 2017 became the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year Award, at age 24. She’ll be at the Academy March 4.

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Watchhouse, formerly known as Mandolin Orange, is the husband and wife team of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, who have won widespread acclaim for their thoughtful songwriting, close harmonies and blend of folk, bluegrass and country. They perform at the Academy March 5.

In addition to the Academy of Music, the Back Porch Festival is slated to take place at The Parlor Room, Memorial Hall, the Unitarian Society, Bishop’s Lounge, Progression Brewing Company, and two other venues.

Additional performers will be announced by February, according to festival organizers. More information and ticket options are available at backporchfest.com.

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