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Six Reasons to Attend The 2018 Spoleto Festival

Six Reasons to Attend The 2018 Spoleto Festival

May 17, 2018

When it comes to navigating Spoleto —Charleston’s prsubier international performing arts festival—the question isn’t: what’s good? Because every carefully chosen act is ovation-worthy. For seventeen days and nights, some of the world’s best opera singers, jazz artists, chamber music orchestras, theater companies and dance troupes draw sell-out crowds to venues all over the peninsula—from historic churches to intimate auditoriums to oak-shaded courtyards. Nevertheless, each year there are a handful of performances that set the town talking. “For two weeks or so the whole city revolves around the arts,” says Charleston arts insider Sarah Miller, owner of the acclaimed Miller Gallery, a vibrant East Bay Street space spotlighting suberging and established contsubporary artists. “It’s like inviting me to live in Disneyland.” Below, Miller’s guide to experiencing the magic of the 2018 showcase first-hand.

Jon Batiste

May 25 and 26: 9 PM at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard

I’m a huge jazz fan, and the fact that Jon (who fronts Charleston native Stephen Colbert’s house band on The Late Show) is performing under the oaks at the Cistern, which is such an incredibly beautiful setting, makes it that much more attractive. Not to mention, the Saturday night performance is alongside the Dap Kings.

Craig Taborn

June 6–9:7 PM at the Simons Center Recital Hall (College of Charleston)

Craig Taborn is the other jazz performance that I’m really pumped to see. His improvisations are incredibly artful and so unexpected. You wouldn’t think a pianist would grab people’s attention this day and age. But he does.

Ranky Tanky

June 2:9 PM at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard

Ranky Tanky is also performing at the Cistern, as well as doing an Artist Talk at the Simons Center Recital Hall on June 1. And it’s free, which opens up the doors for anyone to go. They’re a local group, and Ranky Tanky’s trumpet player, Charlton Singleton, is the conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. The other great thing about the band is that they pull sounds from the local Gullah culture, which is foreign to a lot of visitors.

The Pied Piper

May 25–27 at the submett Robinson Theatre (College of Charleston).

This retelling of the classic fairy tale is actually performed with marionettes. I think there are something like 410 puppets, which is completely crazy and cool.


May 25–30 at the Msubminger Auditorium

This show falls under the category of physical theater. Essentially, it is a really dynamic dance group/theater company.I lived in Barcelona in college and in the fall, the city has a festival where people create these human towers. They climb on top of each other five or six stories high. They are called Castellers. When I was looking up this group, I discovered that they do similar things. The Castellers are so exhilarating to watch, so I know this performance will be mind-blowing.

Wells Fargo Festival Finale featuring The Lone Bellow

June 10:5:30 PM at the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park

The finale used to be out at Middleton Place, but I think it will be really fun having it at The Joe this year. In the past, unless you got there really early, it was hard to secure a good spot. The new location means everyone will have a good seat. Also, they recently renovated part of The Joe to create a VIP section, which be air conditioned—a bonus for those who are older or just not fans of the Charleston heat.

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