Top Shows To See This Fall On A Budget In Connecticut

August 5, 2013 8:00 AM

So you want to go out and experience some culture in Connecticut but don’t want to spend a fortune. You could just stay in and order a movie on television, but you need to get out and get social and experience some live music or theater. Here are the top five things to see this fall for less than $20.

Alive@Five: Michael McDonald
Columbus Park
Main St. & W. Park Place
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 325-1407

Date: Aug. 15, 2013

Since 1997, the City of Stamford has been hosting a happy hour on Thursday nights to welcome the weekend during the summer months. The 2013 series of eight concerts culminates on August 15 with five-time Grammy winner and former front man for the Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald. Only a fool would believe it’s only $15, but take it to the streets, it’s true! Leave work early and head to Columbus Park to enjoy some good times along with nostalgic and new music from a master.

038 Top Shows To See This Fall On A Budget In Connecticut

Enjoy open air live music all weekend (Credit, Edward Main)

39th Annual Milford Oyster Festival
Downtown and Harbor Area
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 878-5363

Date: Aug. 17, 2013

After years of trying to land the group, the 2013 Milford Oyster Festival will host southern and blues-inspired rockers Blues Traveler on Saturday, August 17th. With the Milford harbor area in the background, this is bound to be a big draw, especially considering that the concert is free! Blues Traveler is a fan favorite and known to always bring its “game” to its live shows, including the band’s three top 40 hits “But Anyway,” “Run-Around” and “Hook.” Other artists include singer/songwriter Beth Patella, 80’s tribute “hair band” Mullett and the acoustic and funky Frank Viele. Also, there is a kickoff pre-party on Friday by Jimmy and the Parrots, a tribute band playing Jimmy Buffet-esque tunes. In addition to music, Saturday is filled with children’s activities, a car show, amusement rides, schooner cruises, canoe and kayak races and nearly 200 arts and crafts vendors. Bring your appetite along with your sea legs, as there are also over 20,000 oysters from the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association.

Wolf Den Nights at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd.
Uncasville, CT 06382
(888) 226-7711

Here’s a chance to hear some free, good music and make back some of your money. Wolf Den Nights bring live music to the center of the casino floor with local, regional and sometimes national flair nightly. In August and September, highlighted artists include Puddle of Mud, Salt-N-Pepa and MC Hammer, plus live tributes to Elvis and the Beatles. Also just because you haven’t heard of them, don’t brush off the other bands. They include local favorites Eight to the Bar, Groovematics and What Up Funk Band, among others. Free concerts and parking with a chance to come out ahead financially? Yes, please.

Related: Best Ice Cream In Connecticut

chs 295 Top Shows To See This Fall On A Budget In Connecticut

Get your fill of bbq at the festival (Credit, Edward Main)

6th Annual Blues, Views and BBQ Festival
Levitt Pavilion
40 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 505-8716

Dates: Aug. 31 through Sept. 1, 2013

Fine, it’s over the budget, barely, but the festival is still a great budget-based event, chock-full of great entertainment and family fun. Besides, technically it is only $15 for students and seniors and free to kids 12 and under. With over 14 bands playing throughout the two day event, you can’t help but find a toe-tapping or soul-soothing act that makes you say “that’s good music!” Where else can you enter a pie or rib eating contest while listening to some hot blues and southern rock? Throw in a “kids corral” for the kiddos, a mechanical bull and great food including jerk chicken, BBQ ribs that fall off the bone and heavenly ice cream and you get a fantastic view of good southern living, without leaving this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Pipes in the Valley Celtic Festival
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
300 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 713-3131

Date: Sept. 28, 2013

You don’t have to be Irish or even wear a kilt to experience all the fun of the annual Hartford tribute to a cultural heritage and all the rowdiness that ensues. Raise a glass with the Celts and gingers or sit back and hear some great bagpiping, including headliners Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Other than the music, there are also Highland athletic games, step dancing, birds of prey, Highland cows, kids’ activities, puppetry, storytelling, sword demonstrations and great Celtic food. The best thing, it’s all free, except for parking which should stay within your $20 budget.

Related: Best Irish Pubs In Connecticut

Edward Main is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on