Spoleto Festival USA kicks off Friday

Opening ceremonies begin Friday for the 47th season of Spoleto Festival USA.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:06 AM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 8:02 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Opening ceremonies begin Friday for the 47th season of Spoleto Festival USA.

Everything will be in full swing with about 300 artists making up this year’s festivities.

Jenny Ouellette, Associate Director of Media Relations for the Spoleto Festival, says they have more than 100 performances across the 17 days and nights in nine venues over Charleston, and the prep was easier said than done. American Soprano Opera Singer Nicole Heaston will be singing the national anthem, Charleston Jazz Academy students will be playing a piece from South African composer Abdullah Ibrahim, and a performance from the female drummers of Rwanda will all be on display at the opening ceremonies.

“There’s a magic that happens, the festival makes the city alive,” Oullette says, “There are so many people around that are creative here in Charleston pulling out the creativity from every corner and it’s enchanting, there’s magic everywhere.”

Forecasted rain on Friday is forcing this year’s opening ceremony inside. Friday’s noon kickoff will be held at Festival Hall located at 56 Beaufain Street.

Oullette says one of the most special occasions to enjoy is the Spoleto Festival USA Finale on June 11. Although she hates to talk about the end of the festival, she says the finale will be at Firefly Distillery. Charleston local band, ‘Two Slices,’ will open the show at 6:30 pm and the headliner is ‘Tank And The Bangas.’ She says it’s a great evening to pack for a picnic and bring your family on the lawn, listening to music and the night is promised to end with fireworks.

Oullette’s message to first timers that are thinking about attending the festival is to take the risk.

“You might not know if you like it or not and that’s okay,” Oullette says, “We have an amazing new ticket program called, ‘Pay What You Will’ on our website that allows people to see something for a price of their choosing.”

Oullette continues saying tickets then start at $5 to cover ticket fees but there are more than 25 different performances on the list, and she wants people to take advantage of it. She says it’s an opportunity to see something you like while also getting out of your comfort zone and pushing the boundaries of what art can be, what art is and what artists are doing.

You can purchase tickets online or purchase them from Charleston Visitor Center in person in downtown Charleston.