There seems to be some disagreement among the small population of Spoleto wonks about exactly what Spoleto Festival USA is celebrating with its 2006 program (apart from Mozart’s 250th birthday, which even chamber music impresario Charles Wadsworth seems to agree we’ve heard quite enough about). On the second episode of his public radio program Spoleto Today on WSCI last week, host Marcus Overton kept referring to this year as “the thirty-first Spoleto festival.” His host, Spoleto general director Nigel Redden, said nothing to correct this. In a post at the P&C’s Spoletoblog today, arts writer Dottie Ashley wags her finger at anyone suggesting this is the festival’s 30th anniversary. “Many of the Spoleto signs are wrong,” she writes. “For example, the gala program proclaims, ‘Spoleto Festival USA, 30th Anniversary’ It’s the festival’s 29th anniversary. Next year is the big 3-0.”

Er, not exactly. Spoleto’s first festival was in the spring of 1977. Unless festival organizers took a year off – or jammed two into a single year – this is indeed the 30th Spoleto Festival since its inception. Count ‘em. Whenther you call it a birthday or an anniversary is up to you.

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