It’s time, once again, for Jacksonville Porchfest. Kicking off at noon on Saturday, November 4 on a dozen or so porches throughout the historic Downtown-adjacent enclave and a main stage, Porchfest is certainly a gem of the city’s annual live music calendar.
The Jacksonville Music Experience team will be on site and you can dig in on all the performances, activations and after-hours programming with our interactive guide – preview artists right there on the page and map out your day; it’s your go-to source for Porchfest plotting.
Meantime, we asked our group of expert contributors to dive deep into this year’s Porchfest lineup and pick their must-see performances. Here’s our staff picks for the ninth-annual Jax Porchfest.
1910 N. Pearl St. | noon-1:15 p.m.
At just 21 years old, Madison Grace has quickly distinguished herself within Northeast Florida’s highly competitive singer-songwriter scene, a scene dominated by women, which might be having its best year yet. The Myrtle, Mississippi native has drawn attention with songs like “Ghost Girl” and “Addicted”, with over 10,000 streams since her 2021 debut, while her presence grows across other platforms. Madison Grace is right at the beginning of what already looks to be a solid career, and Porchfest will be one of her most high-profile gigs yet.–Shelton Hull
130 W. 10th St. | 1:15-2:30 p.m.
In the last two years, Rambler Kane has surely maintained creative forward motion. The Northeast Florida-based singer-songwriter released two singles and an EP in 2021, this year he served up the songs “Fool’s Gold” and “Them Saints,” and his recent live album recorded at Blue Jay Listening Room is slated for a 2024 release (read our review of Kane’s “On Your Line”_. Locals can get a taste of Kane’s personal take on Americana music, with certain acoustic-guitar chops early in the afternoon, as he’ll perform on the 130 W. 10th St. porch.–Daniel A. Brown
Akia Uwanda and Friends
1921 N. Laura St. | 1:15-2:30 p.m.
Akia Uwanda blends classical and jazz, with a unique and deep, soulful expression that is at turns reflective and uplifting. Her latest album Lift showcases her wide vocal range and features the complementary efforts of a handful of Duval-based musical talents. Aside from hosting her annual Jazz and Soul dinner parties in and around the city and performing at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Uwanda has shared the stage with Kamasi Washington and Avery Sunshine, to name a few.–Mr. Al Pete
Crescendo Amelia Big Band
Main Stage | 1:15-2:30 p.m.
Under the direction of trumpeter Dennis Negrin, Crescendo Amelia is now in its tenth year of presenting its holiday special, “How the Big Band Stole Christmas”, which has been their signature production since 2014, but they’ve performed over 300 shows, year-round. The full 18-piece band also breaks down into trio and quartet formats, with musicians drawn from among the cream of the local scene. Porchfest presents a rare opportunity to hear them in an open, outdoor setting, and it should be a special treat for anyone who’s not seen them before.–Shelton Hull
120 W. 9th Street | 3:45-5p.m.
If you have a hankering for a two-person band of EDM/DJ/raps-soul with saxophone (and who amongst you doesn’t?!) then look no further than Future Joy. Based out of Denver, Colorado, the peripatetic duo of Emily and Zach are both multi-instrumentalists and Zach is adept on tenor, baritone and bass saxophones. Together as Future Joy, they are known for their high-energy eclectic sound and are roving festival faves.–Daniel A. Brown
Grandpa’s Cough Medicine
122 W. 10th St. | 4:30-5:45 p.m.
Gather ‘round, y’all, for some bonafide bluegrass with a heavy metal feel. Longtime trio Grandpa’s Cough Medicine is back on the Porchfest stage with furious acoustic flatpicking, jangly banjo licks and that thumpy upright bass we all love. But be warned: this ain’t yer mama’s gospel-influenced bluegrass. Since the late aughts, GCM has been known to focus on darker subject matter in their tunes with titles like “Jailbird Blues,” “Denim Prison,” and the crowd favorite “180 Proof.” But what these fellows lack in jolliness they make up for in roll-up-your-jeans-and-dance rhythms.–Hurley Winkler
1830 N. Pearl St. | 5-6:15 p.m.
If you ever find yourself lucky enough to attend a festival with music collective L.O.V.E. Culture is on the lineup, run—don’t walk—to catch their set (read our review of their 2021 release, 1827 N. Pearl, named after the Springfield address where the group first connected) . This fusion of local artists Che, Rob Mari, Flash The Samurai, SpiritXIII and EASYin2d is one of the most energetic acts in the 904. Boasting unique collaborative frequencies, L.O.V.E. Culture’s music is a fresh exploration of hip hop.–Hurley Winkler
Main Stage | 6:30-8 p.m.
You’re going to want to pace yourself at this year’s PorchFest, because the festival is ending on a high note with headliners Water Seed, a New Orleans-based funk-soul ensemble known for their engaging, irresistibly energetic live shows. This is “get on your feet, put your hands together and wiggle your hips”-type music, the kind of celebratory set that will spread smiles and break sweats all over Springfield. Founding drummer composer and vocalist Lou Hill, keyboardist and vocalist Jentleman Sharp, flutist and vocalist Cinese Love, vocalist Rahim Glaspy and vocalist Ten treat each springy groove like an eternal flame, folding elements of rock, big-band jazz, pop, hip-hop and more into a cosmic gumbo befitting their point of origin. What better way to close out PorchFest 2023 than with 90 minutes of explosive joy?–Scott Russell