It’s not likely anyone will mistake this Saturday’s Porch Fest for Woodstock but after this weekend, at least one singer-songwriter can say she’s performed at both.
Known the world over by just her first name, Melanie was one of just three solo female acts to perform at the historic rock festival in August of 1969.
Following her rain-soaked performance, the 22-year-old’s popularity soared landing her on television shows like the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Johnny Cash Show, and stages around the world like London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
Her biggest hit came in 1972 when the pop song “Brand New Key” hit number one in the U.S., Australia and Canada. That was also the year she was named Billboard’s top female vocalist.
At 74, the singer-songwriter is still performing, and, within the last year has made Hendersonville her new home.
When she was asked recently to sing at Porch Fest, Hendersonville’s annual event showcasing local talent, it didn’t take Melanie long to respond.
“I love the people who live here,” she said. “Everybody has been so kind. I’m really looking forward to playing in front of my new neighbors.”
Melanie is one of around 20 acts who will perform on two stages (or porches) in Hazel Path, an area of offices off of Hendersonville’s Main Street.
The event was the brainchild six years ago of resident (and Mainstreet Media sales executive) Ginger McClendon.
“We have so much talent here, I just thought we needed a community event to bring people out to listen to locals and others perform original music,” said McClendon.
While last year’s event had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, McClendon says this year’s event almost didn’t happen either.
“None of this would have happened without the Sumner County Tourism Bureau’s encouragement and support,” she said. “I honestly didn’t think we could get it together for this year, but with their help we have.”
As soon as the tourism bureau came on board, McClendon says she started booking talent as recent as six weeks ago. Because of the time frame, this year’s event has been scaled back, she notes, with acts performing on two stages instead of five.
McClendon says the performance slots – 30 minutes to an hour each – filled up fast with an impressive slate of talent including song writer rounds, groups and individuals.
From 15-year-old up and coming artist Taylon Hope to 85-year-old Margie Singleton, whose duet partners have included George Jones and Faron Young, the acts are varied and impressive, McClendon added.
“Every one of them has a story to tell,” she said.
Performers include: Cherry Avenue, Jessi Pugh, Don Gatlin, Cross Atlantic, Jessica Lynne Witty, Anna McElroy, Jay Brunswick, Jason Blaine, Flatt River Band, Timothy James, Taylon Hope, The Close, Damien Horne, Jackie Wilson, Melanie, Chris Golden, Tim Atwood, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Margie Singleton.
Several of the performers, like Melanie, will host Meet & Greet booths.
In addition to the free music, there will be several vendors selling items like women’s clothing, woodworking, original artwork, jewelry, insurance, candles, teas, wreaths, sauces, jams and more.
Food trucks will include Lemonade Shakers, Moosic City Ice Cream, M.L. Rose, Pasta Galifi, Music City Brisket, Stompin’ Grounds Coffee and Shaved Ice and Twisted Sugar Cotton Candy.
Porch Fest will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19 at Hazel Path – 177 E. Main Street in Hendersonville. Lawn chairs and/or blankets are encouraged.