Garage Band

Get your motor running at “GARAGE BAND 2023” – The Arlington Porchfest “after party”! Come out for free and family-friendly fun! Originally scheduled for Saturday, June 17 but cancelled for rain, Garage Band will be happening on Sunday, June 18, from 6PM to 8pm at Arlington Global Service Station, 334 Mass Ave (next to Walgreens just past Arlington Center).
Part music-fest, part dance party, GARAGE BAND is brought to you by the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture, with special thanks to Arlington Global Service Station for hosting! This free, family-friendly signature event, part of the Live Arts Arlington project, has drawn thousands of celebrants over the past few days. ACAC is thrilled to offer this event as a great community celebration following a day of fantastic music at Arlington Porchfest, which is sponsored by our partners at Arlington Center for the Arts.
Arlington Porchfest, presented by Arlington Center for the Arts, continues to be the town’s favorite grassroots community music festival, bringing local artists, bands, and musicians to porches all over Arlington. The festivities run West to East beginning at noon. All the details about where to find your favorite genre/porch/performer for Arlington Porchfest are here, or find a printed maps at the locations all around town!
Date: UPDATED — Sunday, June 18, 12 – 6pm.
Location: Arlington porches, storefronts, and more!
Visit Arlington Porchfest for more information.
GARAGE BAND 2023: BACKPOCKET with The Torchtones
This year’s featured band is the homegrown band BackPocket, an ensemble originally from Arlington’s own Morningside Music Studio, featuring local accomplished musicians and a Cuban-born percussionist, along with backup singers “The Torchtones.” The band looks forward to sparking your urge to dance and fully enjoy a summer evening at Arlington’s coolest outdoor venue! Abe’s gas station gets a re-design with a stage and some sound equipment, and we’ll close a side street for plenty of room to dance! Learn more about BackPocket on their Facebook page here.

GARAGE BAND is a perfect example of the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture’s mission to bring music, dance, and visual arts to public spaces in Arlington and has become one of its signature events. It represents the culmination of the Arlington Center for the Arts’ Porchfest experience, which unfolds in neighborhoods throughout the town earlier that day. GARAGE BAND is organized with assistance from the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture’s Community Engagement Committee.
In June 2019, Garage Band featured the highly acclaimed old school funk and R&B Bittersweet Band, along with the 100-member community street band School of HONK. School of HONK has been exciting audiences since its creation as an inclusive community street band, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to play music and have fun. The diverse musicians of this ensemble bring joy and outrageous energy to the streets every time they appear in their distinctive thrifted polka dotted costuming.
The Bittersweet Band plays an irresistible blend of funk, soul, and classic R&B guaranteed to get people up on their dancing feet. With members drawn from Philadelphia, Virginia, New York and elsewhere, these talented players know how to lock in the groove. Drummer and leader Greg “PoPPa’G” Baker built up his chops backing up the Village People, touring with them during the height of their popularity. Bittersweet’s singer Tracy Howerton consistently knocks it out of the park with his outstanding lead vocals. You can read more about 2019’s Garage Band here.
September 14, 2019, Garage Band capped off Arlington’s Town Day with another lively concert featuring an eclectic  series of performers including Odaiko New England taiko drummers, the Dan Fox Foxtet, and the Latin/Caribbean powerhouse ensemble, Grupo Fantasia!
Following a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, Garage Band returned in 2022 with the Boston-area Americana Roots band The Squeezebox Stompers, known for their upbeat music, performing Cajun, Zydeco, Blues, Folk, and originals with instrumentation that includes accordion, keyboards, fiddle, saxophone, harmonica, penny whistle, guitar, bass and drums. Members of The Squeezebox Stompers have received Boston Music Awards and Songwriting Awards, and have been playing together for the past 15 years. You can visit their Facebook page here for more information.
Arlington Global Service Station serves as a perfect venue for the GARAGE BAND celebration. The station’s owner Abe Salhi was inspired to bring art to his establishment when he heard about his neighborhood’s designation as Arlington’s first Cultural District. He cooked up a design with Johnny Lapham, an artist and long-time client who lived just down the street, and now the station’s canopy and upper walls are embellished with colorful circles and stripes, straight out of a Dr. Seuss story. The art at the top of this page is also by Lapham. Abe Salhi was awarded “Business of the Year” in 2019 by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his innovative practice of privately sponsoring public art by engaging a local artist. Now this vibrant service station hosts a celebratory dance free-for-all!
Members of the public can help support art and performances in public spaces in Arlington by making a tax-deductible donation to the Public Art Fund on the town website – just note your contribution is for Live Arts on the form.