The Cistern Yard is a beautiful outdoor venue with the same problem as all outdoor venues: it becomes unusable when it rains. And, while last year’s Spoleto Festival USA shows at the Cistern Yard were graced by clear skies, the festival’s production team is monitoring the weather in anticipation of having to move some of this weekend’s performances indoors.
Three shows are likely to be affected by wet weather this weekend, including a tropical system working north from the Gulf of Mexico that's likely to impact the Lowcountry on Sunday and Monday.
Jon Batiste, bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, is scheduled to perform at the Cistern Yard Friday and Saturday evenings, while jazz pianist Fred Hersch is scheduled to perform there with his trio on Sunday.
Jessie Bagley, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the festival, said that they plan to move any performances affected by weather from the Cistern Yard to the TD Arena, home of the College of Charleston Cougars. The arena, on Meeting Street near George Street, is a short walk from the Cistern Yard.
“Our weather plan is to make the call as late as we can, so that we don’t have to change the venue if we don’t have to,” Bagley said.
The final call is usually made by Rhys Williams, the festival’s director of productions. Once the call has been made, emails will be sent to ticket holder announcing the change of venue. The same announcement will be made on the festival’s social media accounts.
In the event of a change in venue, the seating arrangement at the Cistern Yard will be recreated in the TD Arena.
“Premium seats are seated just as they would be at the Cistern, only on the floor of the basketball court,” Bagley said.
Reserved seat ticket holders will also be on the court, while general admission ticket holders will be seated in the stands just like attendees at a basketball game.
The last time that the festival had to move performances inside was in 2016, when Tropical Depression Bonnie caused performances by Arturo O'Farrill and Brandi Carlile to be moved from the Cistern Yard to TD Arena.