Or one big reason to go to Charleston, South Carolina


For many, the term music festival has as much appeal as the phrase routine dental procedure. With hordes of sweating fans blocking your view with phones and talking more than listening, it's not hard to understand why. While still technically a summer music festival, Charleston's annual Spoleto couldn't be further from this nightmare scenario.

Founded in 1977 as an American iteration of the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, the three-week long celebration doesn't cater to one genre of music. Instead, you can find performances as varied as opera to bluegrass and jazz all held in Charleston's historic, charming downtown.

Sounding like your kind of event? Here are three more reasons to attend.

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Courtesy of Spoleto Festival USA

Courtesy of Spoleto Festival USA

Hear for it

Since almost all the performances take place in seated, air-conditioned, and quiet rooms from Charleston's Gaillard Center to the Woolfe Street Playhouse, that means you can take a moment to listen and truly appreciate the talent of Spoleto's selection of artists. Call us meemaws and peepaws, but not having to crane our necks around gabbing groups of festival-goers or have 50 people walk in front of us in a rain-soaked field sounds like our idea of fun.

One-time only

Noted for hosting many American premieres of chamber music compositions to plays, Spoleto attendees can be the first to see groundbreaking works. Renée Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, the Emerson String Quartet and Jean-Yves Thibaudet all performed at Spoleto early in their careers.

Why choose?

To see a set by Jon Batiste, New Orleans music scene fixture and band leader for Steven Colbert, and a tour-de-force performance of Brahms' German Requiem within days of each other would otherwise require plane tickets or time travel, but at Spoleto, such delightful dualities are routine.