Organizers launch Guilford Porchfest 2024

GUILFORD, CT (May 7, 2024)  — Organizers, Guilford First Selectman Matt Hoey, and sponsors gathered at the Grass Island Shack today to launch Guilford Porchfest 2024, a community-building event celebrating the musical talent and creativity of those who live, and work in, Guilford, Connecticut: young to old, novice to professional, singers, instrumentalists—and everyone in between! Guilford Porchfest 2024 will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2024, from noon to 5 pm, on porches throughout downtown Guilford (rain date: Sunday, September 8). The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by Guilford Insurance, Shoreline Arts Alliance, Guilford Savings Bank, The Guilford Foundation, GreenStage Guilford Live Arts, and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. 

Guilford resident Laurie Kenney decided to organize the town’s first-ever porchfest event after releasing her debut album, Every Apple Does Go Bad Eventually, last fall. To help bring her vision to fruition, Kenney enlisted the help of two Guilford friends: singer-musician (Trolley Creek) and graphic designer Libby Kingsbury and musical theater choreographer and professor Diana Dart Harris, who is also the program and public relations associate at Shoreline Arts Alliance. The trio hopes Guilford Porchfest 2024 will build and strengthen community bonds through a shared passion for playing and listening to music, in all of its forms.

“There are more than enough things that divide us, these days,” says Kenney. “Music unites. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul. We hope the bonds created through Guilford Porchfest translate into ongoing year-round positive relationships between and among performers and attendees of all stripes who might not otherwise have explored their common ground, if not for discovering their shared love of music.”

The porchfest concept is not a new one: Communities across the country, including several in Connecticut, have been holding such events since the early 2000s. For Guilford’s inaugural event, organizers are keeping things hyperlocal: All solo performers, or at least one member of any duo or group, must live or work in Guilford, and all host porches will be within an approximately 10-minute walk from the Guilford Green, south of Route 1.

Guilford residents and those who work in Guilford who are interested in performing, hosting or volunteering can sign up now on the Guilford Porchfest website or by following links on Instagram or Facebook @guilfordporchfest. Once applications close on July 31, organizers will “match” performers with host porches to create a walkable musical tour of downtown Guilford. Event maps will be available online by mid-August, and as handouts on the day of the event.

The Guilford Porchfest logo, designed by Kenney and Kingsbury, features the town’s little red Grass Island Shack, which recently sustained severe weather-related damage. “We actually designed the logo months ago,” says Kenney. “But when the pilings collapsed and the shack sank to its knees, there was no question that supporting efforts to restore the most iconic front porch in all of Guilford was our charitable calling!” Guilford Porchfest 2024 is partnering with the Guilford Foundation to donate 100 percent of profits from Guilford Porchfest t-shirt sales to repair and protect the Grass Island Shack. T-shirts are available for pre-order only, online only, on the Guilford Porchfest website.

“We are thrilled to support this grassroots, community-building event that will give residents an opportunity to enjoy good music and fellowship,” said First Selectman Matt Hoey, who granted approval for the launch at the shack and joined attendees for the launch. "Many thanks to Laurie Kenney and her team for bringing this wonderful event to our community. I look forward to taking in as many performances as I can.”

For all the latest information, including upcoming porchfest preview concerts, pop-up merch shops, t-shirt pre-orders, and other opportunities to get involved, follow Guilford Porchfest on Facebook and on Instagram @guilfordporchfest. Those living or working in Guilford who are interested in performing, hosting or volunteering at Guilford Porchfest 2024 are invited to sign up now through July 31!