The 2019 Guilford Performing Arts Festival will present some 50 to 75 different shows in approximately 20 venues. A big top/main stage tent on the historic Green will serve as the center of gravity, with performances taking place simultaneously throughout town.
Shows will take place in shops, churches, restaurants, schools and community buildings circling the green and elsewhere in Guilford.
Whatever your interest, there’s likely to be something for you: classical, jazz, big band, blues, folk, bluegrass, country, rock, gospel, opera, choral, swing, hip hop and world music. Ballet and contemporary dance. Dramatic theater, Broadway, cabaret, storytelling and poetry. Circus acts and buskers. Workshops and master classes in the public schools. Environmental art. Events for kids.
Check back often as we announce and update our roster of performers, venues and sponsors, and as we post our schedule of events. All shows will be free (free-will donations encouraged!) and all shows will take place, rain or shine.
Tickets and Admission
There will be no tickets or admission charges, but we strongly encourage you to make generous free-will donations at every performance; in most cases, this will be the artists’ only financial compensation. We ask that you make your first stop our welcome tent on the Guilford Green, where you can pick up a festival program, map and wristband. The wristband will help us understand how many people attend the festival and will identify you as a confirmed festival attendee, so you can get discounts and other benefits we’ve negotiated with local restauranteurs and business owners.
Once you’ve checked in at the welcome tent, you’re free to wander in and out of any festival venue at will. Most shows will run 45 minutes to an hour in length (see your program booklet for the schedule or view our online schedule), and nearly all venues are adjacent to or within a short walking distance from the Green. Several venues are as many as 2-3 miles outside downtown and will require driving. See our festival map for more information.
Getting to Guilford
Guilford, halfway between Boston and New York City (approximately 3 hours by car from each) is easily accessible by automobile from the west, north and south via Interstates 95 and 91; by train via Metro North, Amtrak and the Shoreline East; and by bus via Connecticut Transit. You could also come from the south by boat and pick up a slip or mooring at one of our local marinas or yacht clubs!
Car: From the west, take I-95 Northbound to Exit 58 (CT-77/Church Street). Right on CT-77/Church Street, straight through stoplight at Route 1/Boston Post Road to the Guilford Green.
From the east, take I-95 Southbound to Exit 58 (CT-77/Church Street). Left on CT-77/Church Street, under highway overpass and straight through two stoplights to the Guilford Green.
From the north, take I-91 Southbound to I-95 Northbound and follow the directions from the west above.
Train: The Shore Line East railroad connects New Haven with New London, with stops at the Guilford station, about a half-mile south of the Green. Amtrak can connect to the Shore Line East at New Haven and New London. The Metro North Railroad from New York City; Westchester County, N.Y., and Fairfield County, Conn., connects with the Shore Line East at New Haven.
Bus: Connecticut Transit provides passenger bus service between New Haven and Madison, with stops at the Guilford Green, via its 201 Madison route.
Parking is in short supply in Guilford, especially around the Green. We suggest you arrive well before the event you wish to attend, find a place to park and stroll around town, grab a bite to eat and visit some of our locally owned shops and boutiques. On-street parking is available in marked spaces on all four sides of the Green, and public parking lots are located at Town Hall (31 Park Street), at the Nathanael B. Greene Community Center (32 Church Street) and behind the shops on Whitfield Street (entrance is between 15 and 23 Water Street).
Some venues have their own restrooms, and there are public facilities at the Nathanael B. Greene Community Center (32 Church Street), Town Hall (31 Park Street) and the Guilford Free Library (67 Park Street). A limited number of portable toilets will be set up on the Green.
Guilford is a picturesque small town with a deep agricultural, maritime and commercial history. It’s a great place to visit for walking, hiking and boating, and the downtown offers lively cafes and markets, locally owned clothing and gift shops, an independent bookstore and excellent restaurants. It’s a town with a warm and genuine community spirit drawing from a farm-to-table ethos, waterfront adventurism, down-to-earth sensibility, urbane sophistication and intellectual curiosity—all set against a Colonial-era historical backdrop. To learn more about Guilford, and to find places to stay, shop, eat and visit, click here.