“Hot town, summer in the city/Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty/Been down, isn’t it a pity/Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.”
Thankfully, things have changed a lot since John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful penned that line more than 40 years ago. Temperatures may be the same (or even warmer), but an increasing number of performing arts groups have begun to offer some kind of summer programming, and almost all major cities now offer extensive and well-attended summer arts activities and festivals. We list many of them in each city’s section.
Summer is still a great time, however, to get out of the city and re-learn what having green below and blue above is like, and for arts buffs, few activities are more enjoyable and complete than rural summer theater, classical music under the stars, or – best yet – a wide-ranging summer festival. There are dozens of summer festivals throughout the United States that cater to every artistic taste – or, in the case of the Chautauqua Institution or the Spoleto Festival, multiple tastes.
Festivals offer multiple events at a range of prices, including many free events. You’re surrounded by fellow enthusiasts; prices, especially if you book early or become a member, can be inexpensive; and you can frequently walk from one event to another, as well as to local restaurants and wherever you’re staying. The only trick is figuring out how to get to the festival, as many of them are in relatively rural locations. Usually, a call to the festival office or local tourist bureau can get you an answer to that question, as well as others, such as “Where’s a nice reasonably-priced B&B or self-catering cottage?”
If any of these festivals interest you, go to the website and sign up for email updates, which is the best way to find out about discount tickets.
-Jeffrey Compton, Publisher