It’s that time of year again – Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals kick off today. Monday is Memorial Day, so this weekend also marks the beginning of peak summer season.
The festivals bring 17 days of music, opera, theater and dance to the Holy City. The Spoleto opening ceremonies are taking place at noon today for this, its 43rd incarnation.
Friday, May 24, noon – Spoleto USA Opening Ceremonies at Charleston City Hall
At the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets downtown (80 Broad Street). Musical prelude begins at 11:30 before the ceremony itself starts at 12:00 p.m. Join the mayor, Congressman Joe Cunningham and festival folk as they officially declare the festival open. Included is a performance by the folks from Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.
FYI if you’re driving downtown on Friday, take note of the following street closures in and around the opening ceremonies:
- Road closures at Meeting Street & Broad Street and Broad Street & Church Street begin at 9:00 a.m. Road closures at Broad & King, Meeting & Queen, Meeting & Tradd, and Meeting & Chalmers streets begin at 11:45 a.m.
- Ceremony begins at 12:00 p.m. and runs through 1:15 p.m.; the 11:45 a.m. closure points will reopen when ceremony terminates; 9:00 a.m. closures remain until staging and equipment are cleared from roadway.
- Limited vehicular traffic will be allowed east of the ceremony on Broad Street for business purposes only. The Parking Enforcement Unit will bag meters on Broad in the affected area of the ceremony. Handicapped parking will be allowed at the meter spaces on Broad Street near Church Street or in such designated spaces or public parking garages.
The Spoleto Festival features five world and U.S. premieres
This year’s Spoleto festival features five special events – two that have never been seen before in the United States, and three that are world premieres.
World premieres include Letter to a Friend in Gaza (“A search for common ground”), Roots (“We need to know who we are, so we can imagine who we might be”), and Bank of America Chamber Music (Oboe Quintet by Paul Wiancko).
Here’s the full schedule.
Piccolo Spoleto is kicks off today as well. Almost half of Piccolo events are free, and the rest are at affordable ticket prices.
Some pretty fun, large-scale Piccolo events are free and require no tickets. They include:
Friday, May 24, 8:00pm – Sunset Serenade
Head to the US Custom House at Concord & East Bay Streets for Piccolo Spoleto’s annual festive curtain raiser. This free outdoor concert features the Charleston Symphony Orchestra directed by Principal Pops Conductor Yuriy Becker and Assistant Conductor Kellen Gray. They’ll play classical and popular favorites along with a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Arrive early to get the best seat and enjoy the festivities and libations available for sale.
Saturday, May 25, 10:00am-3:00pm – Family Day at Marion Square
March to the beat of your own drum at this year’s Family Day celebration in Marion Square with performances and workshops. The youngest Piccolo fans will enjoy arts and craft activities, hands on workshops, and live performances as they await the cacophonous arrival of The Seed & Feed Marching Abominable.
Marion Square is also the location of the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition, with over 80 artists displaying their creations.
Monday, May 27, 3:00pm – Memorial Day Concert
Also at Marion Square, get in a patriotic mood as the Charleston Concert Band joins with the Columbia Community Band to play stirring marches, Broadway show tunes, and a tribute to each of the armed forces.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger