A free music festival expands to 7 different towns in Bucks and Montgomery counties

After plans for the third Perkasie Porchfest fell through, organizers got in touch with other towns to put together the inaugural BucksMont Bonzeroo music fest on May 11.

MH the Verb, Küf Knotz and Christine Elise performing music

From left, MH the Verb, Küf Knotz and Christine Elise perform onstage. Küf Knotz and Christine Elise are the closing act at the inaugural BucksMont Bonzeroo music festival on May 11, 2024. (Jess Gilmer)

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When husband-and-wife team Corey Armideo and Heather Armideo started Perkasie Porchfest in 2022, their goal was to showcase local bands and create a free, walkable, family-friendly music festival.

But the couple could not reach an agreement with Perkasie Borough officials to host the event this year, and in April, Perkasie Porchfest was canceled.

Almost immediately, Heather Armideo said that bands who had performed in years past and residents of Perkasie and neighboring towns reached out and began to organize to ensure the show went on.

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The Armideos’ goal was always “to make it bigger,” Corey Armideo said, so they jumped at the chance to expand to neighboring towns.  To encompass the entire region, the organizers changed the festival’s name to BucksMont Bonzeroo, adding “bonzer,” an Australian term that means “awesome” or “great,” to emphasize the event’s appeal.

“The community’s backing has been what keeps us going,” Corey said. “Just the simple fact that so many people are willing to step up, you know, when everything kind of went awry, and really helping band together with us to get things going well.”

Perkasie Mayor Jeff Hollenbach said the special event permit application for the May 11 event was withdrawn by the organizers, so the borough was unable to host the full event. But the borough now plans to work with those who are still hosting musical acts on May 11 as part of BucksMont Bonzeroo “to provide a safe, secure and sanitary environment, and to ensure the general welfare and public safety of its residents, as we do every day.”

“We respect and appreciate the promoters’ dedication to our community and hope to work with them on future events,” the statement read.

Corey Armideo said many of the 66 bands and counting, who signed on to play Saturday, are from the region and represent a variety of music genres — you can hear everything from cover bands, bluegrass and blues to hip-hop, jam bands and country.

Philly hip-hop artist Küf Knotz and harpist Christine Elise are the final act, closing out the festival at the Souderton Band Shell on Saturday night.

Souderton is serving as a hub, featuring the “walkable” part of the music festival, with Buckingham, Doylestown, Dublin, Lansdale, Perkasie, Quakertown and Sellersville also hosting performances.

All of Saturday’s events are free and performances will last from 12–8 p.m. You can see the full schedule for performers online at the organizers’ Facebook page, where additional updates will be posted.

Souderton Mayor Dan Yocum said events like the music festival are an important part of the town’s revitalization and boost the local economy.

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“If we had been having this conversation five years ago, Souderton would not have the infrastructure in place to be the host for this kind of thing,” Yocum said. “But now that we are, it’s pretty exciting. So my hope is… lots of people that wouldn’t otherwise spend their time and money here come because of the music festival and enjoy Souderton on May 11.”

The Armideos said they are also asking attendees to bring canned goods, toiletries and other donations for local food pantries. There will be a dropbox for donated food items at each performance location.

‘A celebration of art’

Heather and Corey Armideo said that though they are not musicians themselves, their appreciation and love for local, original music runs deep.

When they were first approached with the idea to start the Perkasie Porchfest event, they were producing “The Sunday Sessions Project,” a YouTube show featuring performances by and interviews with local bands.

“We always enjoyed music and going out to concerts and that sort of stuff. So this is our way of still being within the music scene,” Corey said.

Heather said through Sunday Sessions, she learned a lot of the technical know-how needed for audio engineering and preparing a band to be heard live — knowledge that has come in handy for Perkasie Porchfest and now BucksMont Bonzeroo.

The duo counts on an all-volunteer team to help them fulfill their labor of love in hosting the local music fest, which Corey described as “a celebration of art.” They plan to sell T-shirts online following the event to help recoup some of the costs.

The Armideos want the event to remain a regional affair next year as well and hope to extend the festival through Sunday, or even have a whole week or two weekends’ worth of performances for the next edition.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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