Charleston’s Spoleto to be our Romanza

The City of St. Augustine Office of Public Affairs has reported to Historic City News that a new style music and arts festival is on track for our area.

Enthusiasm was overwhelming as nearly two dozen community leaders, representatives of local cultural and business organizations and interested citizens gathered to define and kick-off the planning for a major cultural heritage festival that will be focused on venues all over our area.

The vote was overwhelming: a Charleston Spoleto-style music and arts festival here, called Romanza.

The concept, discussed over the years, has taken root through the efforts of residents Albert Syeles and Phebe Wehr.

Syeles said, “The timing is finally right. Our festival is targeted to start in 2011, two years before the 450/500 extravaganza, and will continue annually indefinitely. The event is proposed for mid-May to attract new vitality in a slow period, when no other big events are scheduled, and visitors have historically been fewer, but the weather is fantastic.”

A mission statement under study suggests that Romanza will be, “a comprehensive and innovative multicultural festival of music, arts, theatre, dance and cuisine that capitalizes on St. Augustine’s significance in American history and leverages our unique mix of heritage, cultural assets and talent.”

The original Spoleto festival was founded by Gian-Carlo Menotti in a small Italian town in 1958, and he selected Charleston as a U.S. venue in 1977. This year’s 17-day Spoleto was held in Charleston, SC May 28th through June 13th.

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