Part of Spoleto Festival USA. The Festival Finale at Middleton Place is a beloved festival tradition and the perfect way to bring the season to a close. Arrive early to stroll through the exquisite landscaped gardens and then enjoy a pre-concert picnic on the grounds. For a celebratory end to the day, the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra will offer a concert under the stars conducted by Marc Dana Williams – all capped off by a spectacular fireworks display.
WHAT IS IT? It’s the final course of the 17-day meal and the last time you’ll hear the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. At least until next year. The Festival Finale is generally held every year at historic Middleton Place in West Ashley, not far from downtown. It’s the perfect spot to cap off the season and say hello to the sweltering heat of summer.
WHY SEE IT? First, because the music is just right. Last year’s orchestra, led by John Kennedy, gave spirited renditions of movie music and Copland. It sounds really big and bad outside, trust us. Second, because Middleton Place is beautiful. The orchestra performs on a platform that straddles the former plantation’s so-called butterfly lakes. The audience watches while overlooking the tiered gardens. Third reason? Fireworks. They go boom. They make pretty colors in the sky.
WHO SHOULD GO? Families with children under 14. They’ll love this, because you can take a picnic, toss a Frisbee, or just lay back and gaze at the stars. This is an ideal family outing. The finale is also ideal for those with a taste for ceremony. Spoleto has long marked the beginning of summer. Usher in the solstice with a toast to the heavens if you care to. Have one on us. You earned it. (John Stoehr)