Druid Hills Billy’s performed in the Sullivan Family’s driveway during Porchfest.

October in Atlanta is sublime. Buttressed by sunny and crisp weather, it’s the time of year that reminds people why they choose to live here. There is a signature October smile plastered on everyone’s faces like they just ate a brownie that’s only legal in certain states.

I didn’t realize how badly I missed those smiles in 2020. I mean, I was here – we all were – but the closest thing to a festival was waiting in a car line for a Covid test. I doled out candy to trick or treaters via a 20-foot chute. Watching college football with no fans in the stands was like tailgating alone with a box of unsalted crackers. You get the point. It was sad and we just can’t have October be sad.

So last weekend felt like a booster shot of spirit renewal. With Margo’s newfound vaccinated status and the Delta variant waning, our household has been able to loosen the reins a smidge. We hosted a band for Oakhurst Porchfest although we went rogue and had them set up in our driveway. Our neighbors’ house is close to ours, so it creates something of an amphitheater effect and the Druid Hills Billy’s sounded like gold. We had the early time slot so when a very sizable crowd formed, I got the sense that Porchfest was going to outshine its humble moniker.

I’m not great at numbers but I’d estimate the day’s crowd to be roughly 27 million. Roughly. Didn’t I tell you people a couple years ago to steal this festival for your own neighborhoods? Y’all are still coming to ours! That’s okay, though. It’s an awful lot of fun having everyone over here. And Virginia-Highland did create their own earlier this year, so good on you VaHi, but the rest of you need to get on this. I met a guy from Collier Hills who was having a great time watching Substance, a Joy division/New Order cover band so I expect he is in the planning phases right now for his neighborhood’s very own Porchfest.

My Collier Hills friend should line up the Hot Tamale Ringwalds if he likes a band that can follow up Old Crow Medicine Show with The Outfield. And he ought to have “the loudest dad band in Decatur,” The New Teardowns, make an appearance. According to Kristen, there is only so much Americana one can take at a music festival and the Teardowns can melt your face with songs by The Pixies and Nirvana. Try to line up Her Majesty’s Request but you might need help with crowd control. Technically, they did play on a porch, but the Brit-rock fans covered the yard, the street, and the Solarium property across the street. This is probably what it was like when the Beatles played in the Liverpool Porchfest.

What I don’t know is if the Collier Hills Porchfest can have The Quaranteens. This homegrown group of 14-year-old Oakhurstians heroically spent the pandemic months learning how to rock and we may just need to keep them for ourselves. As the throngs of fans who turned up to take in their show can attest, they were legit! And seeing Elliott and so many kids out there enjoying the band and the day after being cooped up for a year and a half was like a balm for my soul.

In the I’m not Crying, You’re Crying department: Margo’s friend Adele’s family set up a “shop” in their front yard accepting donations in exchange for popcorn, cotton candy and other treats. Along with a few other friends the girls ran the show to the tune of a $1,250 donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Good things can happen when 27 million happy people gather on a beautiful October day to hear some free live music.  So, thank you, Oakhurst, I needed that.

Tim Sullivan

Tim Sullivan is an award-winning columnist who writes about family life and thinks everything is at least a little funny. tim@sullivanfinerugs.com