Southern Agenda

Front and Center

During Porch Fest (November 19) in historic little Brewton, local and regional bands play from porches fronting thirty of the town’s oldest, grandest, or most charming homes, many built in the mid-1800s for its founding timber barons. Country musicians croon among Corinthian columns, bluegrass pluckers perform behind slender turned balustrades, and rock rolls over Craftsman bungalows’ brick steps. The event celebrates Brewton’s musical heritage—the Oak Ridge Boys’ William Lee Golden (who played last year) is a native son—as well as its well-preserved structures. The entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places, including Alabama’s oldest bank, with a lacelike white-tile facade. “Most of the porches look straight out of a magazine, but I like that some smaller stoops are stages too,” says the local musician Shannon Brantley. “It’s a giant block party.” The daylong concert series culminates at the striking, wedding cake–esque curved portico of the 1903 Downing House, where listeners catch the show from the comfort of their lawn chairs.