Throughout the United States, there are collections of many Fine Arts Festivals coupled with those focused on Music and Performing Arts. While the advancement of arts is great regardless of the venue, these specific festivals are distinguished as being some of the best available.

Spoleto Festival USA

When asked to compile a list of the best Fine Arts and Perfoming Arts Festivals in the United Stetes, it would be impossible not to include Spoleto Festival USA.

Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of America’s major performing arts festivals. It was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi.

For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music. Now approaching its 48th season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as one of America’s premier performing arts festivals.

Spoleto Performing Arts Festivals

Contributing to the Festival’s ongoing success is its location in Charleston. Recognized the world over for its stunning natural beauty, impressive array of preserved historical architecture, and wealth of charming performance venues, Charleston provides an incomparable setting for audience members and guest artists alike.

In addition to Spoleto itself, Charleston run Piccolo Spoleto in conjunction to amplify the performing arts talents of those within the local area.

2024 dates: May 24 – June 9


Piccolo Spoleto Home

Without Walls (WOW) Festival

The acclaimed annual WOW Festival is a four-day celebration of breathtaking art experiences. Free to attend, San Diegans and visitors of all ages can enjoy immersive, site-based and/or interactive projects by renowned local, national and international artists.

WOW Festival of the arts

La Jolla Playhouse

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what’s new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse is currently led by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, and Managing Director Debby Buchholz. The Playhouse is internationally renowned for the development of new plays and musicals, including mounting 108 world premieres, commissioning 60 new works, and sending 33 productions to Broadway, garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, as well as the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Save the date for WOW Festival 2024
Presented in partnership with UC San Diego
April 4 – 7, 2024

Festival | Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

In 1969, Alexander Calder’s sculpture “La Grande Vitesse” was installed in front of City Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. The National Endowment for the Arts chose Grand Rapids as the first recipient of their public art works initiative nearly 50 years ago with Alexander Calder’s work.

Festival began in 1970 – a grand celebration of the arts in West Michigan, inspired by the 1969 installation of Alexander Calder’s “La Grande Vitesse” (“The Great Swiftness”). From the beginning, the vibrant red stabile served as the backdrop to Festival, as well as a symbol of the City of Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Festival of the arts

The first Festival showcased just a few art displays and two performance stages, plus a few food booths. The following festivals have grown each year.

Over the years, Festival’s popularity grew to include most of downtown Grand Rapids. Families enjoyed local performers at several stages, art shows and activities for families – all free of charge – as well as an assortment of tasty offerings from food booths operated by nonprofit organizations.

About Festival

Aspen Music and Arts Festival

Founded in 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School is regarded as one of the top classical music festivals in the United States, noted both for its concert programming and its musical training of mostly young-adult music students. The typical eight-week summer season includes more than 300 classical music events—including concerts by four orchestras, solo and chamber music performances, fully staged opera productions, master classes, lectures, and children’s programming—and brings in 100,000 audience members. In the winter, the AMFS presents a small series of recitals and music education programs for local youth and families.

Aspen Music and Arts Festival

This summer’s 75th anniversary season: June 26-August 18.

Shakespeare in the Park, New York City

Created by the late Joseph Papp in 1962, the Public Theater’s series offers free, large-scale productions of works by William Shakespeare (as well as the occasional musical or non-Shakespearean drama). The productions often feature some of the most talented actors of our day. Past casts have included including Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Al Pacino, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George C. Scott and Denzel Washington.

Shakespeare In The Park Performing Arts Festival

How can I get tickets?

Free tickets are distributed on the day of the show, both in person and via digital lottery. This year, there are six different ways to get tickets. Check out our complete instructions on how to get free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park for a full guide to the rules that apply to this year’s SITP production.

How do I get there?

The easiest way to get to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park is to enter at 81st Street and Central Park West. Take the B or C train to 81st St–Museum of Natural History.

When should I go?

If possible, shoot for the first week of performances—seats are always in greater supply early in the run of a show, before reviews and word of mouth have pushed up demand for tickets. Another good way to increase your odds, paradoxically, is to attend on days when bad weather is predicted. (The standby line may be your best bet for tickets that day.) The Public hates canceling Shakespeare in the Park, so the show will go on even if it is drizzling; often, performances will take breaks if it gets too rainy, then resume when the downpour subsides. Open umbrellas are not allowed during performances, so be sure to bring a poncho. Tickets for rained-out shows are not exchangeable.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

In 1970, George Wein, jazz impresario behind the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival was hired to design and produce a unique festival for New Orleans. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established to oversee the new festival.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Performing Arts Festival

From the very beginning, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was envisioned as an important event that would have great cultural significance and popular appeal. The Festival was the culmination of years of discussions and efforts by city leaders who wanted to create an event worthy of the city’s legacy as the birthplace of jazz.

Wein’s concept of the Louisiana Heritage Fair—a large daytime fair with multiple stages featuring a wide variety of indigenous music styles, food booths of Louisiana cuisine, and arts and crafts booths, along with an evening concert series—formed a construct that would prove vastly appealing and enduring.

In its inaugural year, only about 350 people attended the Festival, about half the number of musicians and other participants in the event. But the Festival, which became known as “Jazz Fest” almost immediately, was a great artistic success. When Jazz Fest was held the next year, it was clear that the event had already outgrown Congo Square.

With 12 stages of soul-stirring music—jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean, folk, and much more—the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is firmly established as a singular celebration of both historic and contemporary significance.

Chicago Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival has presented countless number of blues notes and moments to millions of blues fans from around the world on Chicago’s lakefront Grant Park. After coming on board midstream for the initial festival in 1984 I have had the opportunity to help the City of Chicago celebrate an important part of the city’s heritage and lay the foundation for the annual festival’s role in becoming an important city institution. The city’s first Blues festival helped open the summer festival season and came a year after the death of blues icon Muddy Waters. Thus the first festival celebrated Muddy’s memory and presented many artists who today are just a memory. Eddie Taylor, Estella Yancey, Jr. Wells, and many who represented the Sons and Daughters who today make up a very important part of the mature Chicago Blues community.

Chicago Blues Festival Performing Arts Festival

Through the years the festival has celebrated many benchmarks; what would have been Robert Johnson or T-bone Walker turning 80 years old to the centennials of Big Bill Broonzy, Bessie Smith, Skip James and others. Each benchmark places the blues in context especially when icons like Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Walker, and Willie Dixon were around to help keep the blues alive. In previous years we have been privileged to present Honey Boy Edwards, Henry Townsend and Homesick James on days when the Blues in the Schools students perform. That’s what the festival is all about-showing the blues as a living tradition and celebrating the men and women who lived their lives playing and singing the blues.

So, let it be the night Chuck Berry shared the stage with Keith Richards or the evening the crowd left the park after Little Milton’s set singing “Hey Hey the Blues are Alright”; or even the days Janie Hunter did circle dances with the audience and John Lee Hooker did “Boogie chillen” solo for a crowd of hundreds the Chicago Blues Festival as it stands has provided countless number of memories for too numerous numbers of patrons to be able to quantify in this passage. Thus, turn the page and plan your weekend out with a music to “let you hair down and have a good time.”

Williamstown Theatre Festival

For seven decades, the Tony Award-recognized Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought emerging and professional theater artists together in the Berkshires to create a thrilling summer festival of diverse, world premiere plays and musicals, bold new revivals, and a rich array of accompanying cultural events.

Williamstown Theatre Festival Festival

Artists are drawn to Williamstown Theatre Festival to make great theater in an environment conducive to artistic risk-taking. Matthew Broderick, Audra McDonald, Dominique Morisseau, Mary-Louise Parker, Susan Stroman, Uma Thurman, and Blair Underwood are just a few of the luminous theater artists who have worked at the Festival. Many others, including Chris Pine, Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Allison Janney, Sterling K. Brown, Brie Larson, George C. Wolfe, Ty Burrell, and Charlie Day, began their careers at the Festival.

Productions and artists shaped at the Festival fill theaters in New York City and around the world. Recently, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside, Grand Horizons, The Rose Tattoo, The Visit, Fool for Love, The Elephant Man, Seared, Selling Kabul, Unknown Soldier, the 2018 Pulitzer-Prize-winning Cost of Living, and Lempicka which will make its Broadway debut this spring.

Artscape “baltimore”

Since its inception in 1982, Artscape has proudly held the title of America’s largest free outdoor arts festival, pulsating with Baltimore’s cultural essence. Originally conceived as an Arts Fair, it not only showcased Baltimore as a dynamic cultural hub but also rallied local community support for the arts, ignited economic growth, and encouraged investment in the Mt. Vernon/Bolton Hill neighborhood.

Artscape Fine Arts Festival

Artscape weaves a captivating tapestry of visual art exhibitions, electrifying main stage music performances, delectable culinary adventures, vibrant community gathering spaces, immersive family and youth activities, a bustling artist marketplace, and so much more! This year, we expanded with ‘North of North’ in Station North, introducing an additional layer of artistry and excitement to this beloved event.

Burning Man

Guided by the values expressed by a set of Principles, Burning Man is a global ecosystem of artists, makers, and community organizers who co-create art, events, and local initiatives around the world. Most recognizably, tens of thousands of Burners gather annually to build Black Rock City, a participative temporary metropolis in the Nevada desert.

The nonprofit Burning Man Project produces the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, and provides year-round support, connection, education, and grants to an ever-growing network of Regional Burning Man communities in more than 40 US states and 35 countries.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Performing Arts Festival

With a focus on fellow man, Burning Man is dedicated to assisting humanity with the advancement of culture, art, music, sustainability, civic involvement, education, Philosophy and social enterprise.  Learn more here

Honorable Mention:

The Savannah Sidewalk Arts Festival

While more limited in nature, the Savannah Sidewalk Arts Festival is a local, cultural classic that has a massive following within the art communities that it caters to.

The Sidewalk Arts Festival is one of those annual events Savannahians look forward to each year. Tourists don’t really plan a trip or vacation around something like this, but the visitors who are in town during the event love it. It showcases the best of Savannah, Georgia — their rich history and tradition which looks into the past — and their hope for the future with continued creativity by the talented people who call Savannah home.

Artscape Fine Arts Festival

The Sidewalk Arts Festival is a four decade old tradition that brings the students of the Savannah College of Art & Design into Forsyth Park every Spring to show off their artistic talent. Generally held on a Saturday each April, the Sidewalk Arts Festival attracts locals and tourists alike who want to see what students from all over the world can create with just chalk and concrete! Come watch the student artists — who are attending S.C.A.D. to enhance their creativity — turn the sidewalk into works of art with just colored chalk.

Festivals of the arts, be they performing, musical or fine arts, are a bedrock of the United States.  American Culture has been shaped and has grown based on the arts showcased on local and national levels.  We encourage to you check out these listed above, as well as those within your local community.