For the first time in weeks, Charleston’s theaters and concert halls sat empty on Sunday afternoon. Downtown was a little quieter as hundreds of Spoletians made the trek out to Middleton Place to bid adieu to the Spoleto Festival.
Early guests played bocce on the plantation lawn or stuck to the shade under the trees, setting up picnic spreads ranging from the elaborate (bouquets and champagne) to borderline trashy (Bojangles and cheap whiskey). As the evening wore on, the lawn filled up with picnicers, and crowds of well-dressed folks took mass strolls around the manicured grounds as the sun set over the Ashley River.
As the last rays of sun shone through the Spanish moss, the first twangs of bluegrass came from the lawn and everyone headed toward the stage to see Del McCoury and his band perform. The crowd in the “dancing area” stayed pretty low-key as the legendary strummer worked his way through a set of classic songs that were a perfect match for the sultry Southern night.
After the show, the lights went down and the fireworks, set up in between the butterfly lakes, took over the night sky, signaling the end of another crazy, successful festival.