Spoleto/Piccolo Spoleto/Piccolo Fringe

The season of summer arts festivals is upon us and we wanted to break down the differences between the big three that reign supreme in the Holy City.

Let's start off with the granddaddy of them all: Spoleto Festival USA.

Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Christopher Keene, and others who sought to create an American counterpart to their annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.

In the decades since its inception, Spoleto Festival USA has firmly established itself as one of the world’s leading festivals, presenting more than 200 world or American premieres.

If you enjoy all types of performing arts be it dance, marionette troupes, opera, theatre, rock show, chamber music, etc. and have some dinero to spare then Spoleto Fesitval is for you. Performances will be taking place from May 28th through June 13th in churches, theaters and performances halls throughout downtown Charleston. Spoleto tickets can get a bit pricey if you decide to attend more than one show, so pick and choose your poison wisely.

You can take a look at which Spoleto shows we're most excited about for some addition insight.

Now let's talk a bit about Piccolo Spoleto, which literally translates into "Little Spoleto." That being said, Piccolo Spoleto is pretty much what you'd think, the perfect compliment to it's parent festival, Spoleto Festival USA.

Piccolo Spoleto provides access to the festival for Every Person, especially children. Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of its parent festival and its 700 events in 17 days, transforms Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts. Piccolo Spoleto's traditional program offerings include visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theatre, poetry readings, children's activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts, and film.

Piccolo aims to provide the Spoleto Festival experience for anyone and everyone. Half of the events are admission free and the rest are offered at modest ticket prices. As mentioned above, there are over 700 events happening during Piccolo Spoleto's run from May 28th through June 13th - do the math and that's a lot of free fun.

Last, but certainly not least is Piccolo Fringe, 16 days of off the wall stand-up comedy that is celebrating it's 10th birthday this year.

Theater 99 and The American Theater play host to this comedy festival which features 72 performances by local and out of town acts. Some notable favorites that are returning to the stage this year are the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, One Man Star Wars Trilogy, and FrankenMatt, among others.

You can check out the full schedule and show descriptions for Piccolo Fringe right here. Tickets to individual shows are $15 each.