The sweet lullaby of Lowcountry bluegrass echoed through the gated garden of Spoleto’s George Street headquarters as the sun set over Charleston Wednesday night. A drove of culture-craving guests roamed the estate’s property for Spoleto SCENE’s kickoff party, their lively chatter rising up into the unseasonably warm air. Attendees combated the late April heat by sipping the Charleston, a refreshing Maverick Vodka cocktail. Patrick Emerson, Maverick’s wine and beverage maven, created the concoction using Madeira, a popular Charleston beverage during the 19th Century. By contrast, the single-bite, Lowcountry-themed appetizers felt a bit dull.

SCENE Steering Committee member Kyle Nichols explained the choice of venue: “It’s a beautiful building with beautiful gardens — what better place to celebrate Charleston and celebrate the season than being here where Spoleto’s all about?” Lindsay Fleege, Cynthia Rowley’s King Street boutique manager, was predictably chic as he chatted with fellow guest McLeod Williamson. Surveying the crowd of successful young professionals, she said, “I love the culture of the whole experience and all the fun people to see and connect with.”

As the night wound down, SCENE’s co-chairs took center stage, thanking patrons for their support and explaining to the fence-sitters in attendance that the entirety of membership fees goes toward bringing artists, such as this year’s special SCENE guest, bluegrass wunderkind Sarah Jarosz, to the festival. The crowd lingered long after the caterers had closed up shop, exchanging business cards and buzzing with anticipation for the season ahead.

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