When the city announced yesterday that the opening of the Gaillard Auditorium was going to be delayed until the end of next summer, instead of being ready in April for the 2015 Spoleto Festival USA, festival organizers had already been notified — but only the previous day.
In addition to performances that were scheduled for the Gaillard, organizers had planned several special events to celebrate the opening. Those will be moved to the 2016 festival, says Jennifer Scott, Spoleto’s director of marketing and public relations. “In a way it’s better, because 2016 is the fortieth anniversary of the festival,” she says. “So it’ll be an extra big party.”
Right now, Scott and the rest of the team are working on moving the performances that were going to be at the Gaillard, some of which will be going into TD Arena — Spoleto shows started going into the arena two years ago, when the Gaillard became unavailable. Audiences have had mixed responses to the arena, as it was obviously not built for performing arts events. The festival will use TD mainly for music shows, Scott says, and not dance (audiences have not been as happy with the dance shows that have taken place in TD Arena over the past two years).
The festival will also be using one new venue that hasn’t yet been announced.
The delay announcement actually came at a good time, if it had to come at all, according to Scott. “We are obviously disappointed that we won’t be going back to the Gaillard next season, but we still have a really great season for 2015. None of the shows had been announced, we haven’t gone on sale — so that’s a good thing,” Scott says. “Ultimately, we’re pleased that the city took the time to stop and say, ‘Wait a minute, let’s have a look at what’s happening.’ We’re just pleased that they’re making the commitment to building the best hall they can.”
The season announcement will now be made on Jan. 2, 2015, instead of before the end of the year as planned.