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New Haven arts and ideas festival breaks personal record for ticket sales

Festival attendants at the 2023 International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Conn.
Lance Long
Festival attendants at the 2023 International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Conn.

The International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven is nearing its 30th iteration, said festival executive director Shelley Quiala at a short conference on Thursday.

“We are deeply, deeply committed to New Haven, and we are deeply international,” she said.

“There are artists this year that are coming directly from Sierra Leone, from Ukraine, from Trinidad and Tobago, from Puerto Rico, India, and all over the world. And that is reflective of what New Haven is.”

The festival is meant to highlight the diversity that exists not just within New Haven, but also Connecticut’s multiculturalism as a whole. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said it’s important to highlight the state’s diversity, because not everyone knows about it.

“There’s a sort of image of Connecticut as leafy suburbs, and we got that, no question about it,” he said. “But we have some of the most vibrant cities in the world right here.”

According to Quiala, the festival will boast over 150 events spread out across New Haven, and 85% of them will be free. The lineup includes music, theater, writing workshops, cooking lessons and more. Some events are ticketed, though, including multi-Grammy-winning, 24-year-old jazz singer Samara Joy’s concert at College Street Music Hall on June 26.

“We have beat a record this year,” Quiala said. “We have sold more than ever – for a one-night concert in the festival’s history – the most gross sales for Samara Joy... by far. This is going to be a tough one to beat.”

The festival runs from June 14 to June 29.

Eda Uzunlar (she/her) is a reporter for WSHU.