“Today is Mardi Gras and I’ve got New Orleans jazz on my mind. Will anybody from the Big Easy be at Spoleto this year?” 

As you don your finest Mardi Gras accessories and indulge in King Cake, we’re putting together a New Orleans-themed itinerary just for you. Settle in with a cup of chicory coffee (or if you’re reading in the evening, might we suggest a rum-filled hurricane) and check it out.

FRIDAY, MAY 22

  • 7:00pm: Sazeracs and Jazz at the Charleston Grill

Start your evening by ordering the Crescent City’s signature cocktail in one of downtown Charleston’s finest bars. It will go down easy with some live music—and the Grill features jazz seven nights a week. Speaking of jazz, there’s a whole lot more where that came from…

  • 9:00pm: Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Cistern Yard

This headline act needs no introduction; Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a New Orleans institution that’s older than the Festival itself. When they’re not entertaining crowds at the hallowed grounds of their namesake venue right off Bourbon Street, they’re touring the world as musical ambassadors for their home city. For one unforgettable night at the Cistern Yard, you can experience their lively energy and virtuoso musicianship in person.

SATURDAY, MAY 23

  • 1:00pm: Chamber Music in the French Quarter

While the one in New Orleans might be more famous, did you know Charleston has its own French Quarter? This area—roughly from Broad to Market streets—is one of Charleston’s most beautiful and walkable neighborhoods. Situated in the heart of this district is Dock Street Theatre, where you can enjoy a Bank of America Chamber Music performance. 

  • 9:00pm: A New Orleans Jazz Celebration at the Cistern Yard

Head back to the Cistern Yard for another performance rooted in the history of New Orleans’s legendary music scene. Dr. Michael White has assembled a supergroup of eight talented musicians to pay tribute to the music of the late Danny Barker, a jazz legend who played on more than a thousand records in his lifetime. As a moving tribute to the past from some of the most captivating and dynamic talents of the present, A New Orleans Jazz Celebration is not a show to be missed.

Fat Tuesday will long be over by the time our Festival rolls around, but you won’t have to wait ‘til next year to get a true taste of New Orleans here in the Holy City.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

Tickets to these—and all—Festival performances are available online at spoletousa.org or by phone at 843.579.3100. Remember: this is just a sliver of this season’s parade of programming, and we encourage you to browse all the Festival’s offerings to see what’s right for you.

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(Top: Preservation Hall Jazz Band photo by Patrick Melon)

NOTE: The 2020 Festival has been cancelled. For more information, click here.