“One of the best places on earth.” —Sam Harris, vocalist of Ithaca’s own X Ambassadors rock band.
Hard to argue that sentiment after another amazing weekend in Ithaca, which saw the successful debut of the Cayuga Sound Festival and the 11th edition of the Porchfest music extravaganza.
Harris and the Billboard-nominated XA crew (“Renegades,” “Unsteady”) headlined 13 musical acts at Stewart Park-centered Cayuga Sound on Saturday, and no fewer than 180 performers took part in Fall Creek/Northside’s Porchfest on Sunday.
Along with Cayuga Sound producer Dan Smalls of DSP Shows, XA passed up their concert fees so that maximum proceeds could be channeled to Ithaca nonprofits including organizations supporting young people—an act of philanthropy hailed by Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick.
Harris’s philanthropy is especially heartfelt because he and his brother and bandmate Casey Harris spent childhood summers at day camp in Stewart Park and he later served as a counselor there.
“I’ll start crying if I think about it too hard,” he told the Ithaca Journal. “It’s so cool that we’re able to give back to GIAC and Ithaca Youth Bureau and CSMA and Vitamin L—groups in Ithaca that we benefited from as kids.”
Smalls wrote on Facebook afterwards: “Yesterday was amazing. The best thing I have ever done in 28 years in the music biz.”
Jim Catalano had a great preview piece in the Ithaca Journal on Cayuga Sound, including the interview with Sam Harris.
Billboard wrote about the hometown boy and the plans for Cayuga Sound last April.