Spoleto: Best of the Fest

South Carolina

The buzz is building in our home city of Charleston, South Carolina, for Spoleto Festival USA (May 25–June 10)—the annual international arts bash that draws thousands of visitors to the Holy City. The busy seventeen-day schedule packs in nearly 150 shows encompassing all manner of the performing arts, but it’s always a hotbed of great music. And this year is no exception, beginning with a festival-eve concert courtesy of the boys of Old Crow Medicine Show (May 24). Check out our best-of-the-fest picks below.

We’ll see you there:

Joy Kills Sorrow
Where: College of Charleston Cistern Yard
When: May 31, 9:00 pm
Named for the radio station where the Monroe brothers often performed (WJKS), this Boston-based string band mixes bluegrass and jazz for a fresh new sound.
>Click to listen

Mavis Staples
Where: Gaillard Auditorium
When: June 6, 7:00 pm
Legendary gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples has recorded with everyone from Bob Dylan and The Band to Prince. But she’ll blow you away solo.
>Click to watch

Rebirth Brass Band
Where: College of Charleston Cistern yard
When: June 8 & 9, 9:00 pm
Winner of the 2012 Grammy for best roots album and a New Orleans institution—if Rebirth can’t get you dancing, no one can.
>Click to watch

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole
Where: Middleton Place
When: June 10, 8:30 pm
Cedric Watson is a fiddler, an accordionist, and a four-time Grammy nominee, and his bluesy vocals stand out even among the crowd of talented young musicians coming out of Louisiana. 
>Click to listen

Making Up the Truth
Where: Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston
When: May 25–28
OK, not music, but put this one on your radar. A regular contributor to public radio’s This American Life and a G&G contributing editor, Jack Hitt knows a thing or two about telling a good story. The Charleston native will perform his latest solo show, which touches on everything from childhood tales to contemporary brain science.
>Click to watch