Photo by Justin Briggs

September 18, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Gantenbein, Marketing Director, 541-690-3849, mike.g@brittfest.org

2019 Britt season strong due to good weather and big acts

MEDFORD, OR — The Britt Music & Arts Festival has finished an outstanding season filled with wonderful weather and lots of big artists, and is thanking its patrons, members, business partners, media partners, artists and fans for a successful season. Ticket sales started slightly slow before the season began, but caught up and surpassed 2018 ticket sales by the end of the season. During the season, Britt presented 29 popular Music & Comedy concerts, nine Britt Festival Orchestra concerts and 10 BrittKids Koncerts. Nine popular Music & Comedy concerts sold out.

“2019 will be remembered as one of the best seasons in recent memory for all the right reasons,” says Britt President & CEO Donna Briggs. “The line-up offered something for everyone and the weather provided perfect conditions for concert goers.  Our patrons responded with strong attendance and enthusiastic support for Britt’s diverse programming.”

Overall attendance was over 58,000, with an average attendance of 1,533 patrons per concert. Attendance numbers were up compared to 2018 and ticket prices remained flat.

Ticket sales cover just 60% of Britt’s operating expenses on average for the Music & Comedy season and 33% for the Britt Festival Orchestra Season. As a non-profit organization, Britt relies on contributed income to cover the gap. Membership numbers were 13% lower than in 2018, likely due to changes in tax laws that impact non-profit donation deductions. Business Partner contributions saw a 13% increase over 2018, totaling $390,700, and broke the record for the eighth year in a row. Grant funding through foundations continues to grow and support our operations and expanding education programs. General operating grants are up 10% to a total of $193,850.

The 2019 Music & Comedy series provided a wide variety of musical styles for patrons. The season began and ended with tribute bands, featuring the mop-tops of RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles and an amazing light show presented by The Australian Pink Floyd Show. Britt was able to offer more country acts in 2019, including new country acts Chase Rice and Brett Young, along with the more traditional country sounds of Britt fan favorites Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson and Dwight Yoakam. Both reggae tours, headlined by Sublime With Rome and Iration respectively, sold out. The season also highlighted several folk/Americana bands plus a strong line-up of rock classics from the 1960s through the 2000s. Highlights included Jackson Browne, Little River Band, Chicago, Trampled By Turtles and Cake.

During the 2019 Britt Festival Orchestra (BFO) Season, Music Director and Conductor Teddy Abrams led Britt’s world-class orchestra in nine extraordinary performances, resulting in what many consider one of the best BFO seasons ever. Abrams welcomed BFO fans back to the Britt hill at the beginning of the orchestra season and was excited to perform all but two concerts at our historic outdoor venue. Two concerts were moved indoors to North Medford High School and Bigham Knoll due to a short period of wildfire smoke. Teddy’s Discovery Tuesdays, a new series of shorter performances featuring popular, family-friendly music, kicked off the season to a full hill, delighting children and adults alike with two works featuring film and TV star Bruce Campbell as narrator: “The Mountain That Loved a Bird” by Britt’s 2019 Composer/Conductor Fellow, Caroline Shaw, and a southern Oregon specific rendition of Prokofiev’s beloved musical fairytale, “Peter and the Wolf.” Highlights of the BFO concerts include the west coast premiere of Chirstopher Cerrone’s “Meander, Spiral, Explode,” a concerto for the Chicago-based percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion and orchestra, stunning virtuosic performances by cellist Oliver Herbert, pianist George Li, and violinist Augustin Hadelich, and a rescoring of the silent film Battleship Potemkin, screened with live accompaniment by the BFO. After their concert on July 30th, the BFO took their instruments into Jacksonville for a Musical Pub Crawl, performing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony at the Boomtown Saloon and the Bella Union before descending on the Jacksonville Tavern for the annual funk jam. In addition to the music, Britt worked with two local visual artists who created paintings in response to some of the music on the BFO program. These paintings served as program notes in the BFO program book, and the original artworks were on display during orchestra concerts and at the Rogue Gallery after the season.

Britt Education and Engagement is wrapping up a very successful season of Residencies, Britt Festival Orchestral Fellowships, BrittKids Klub, and BrittKids Koncerts. The free BrittKids Koncerts, held from mid-June to mid-August, brought such entertaining artists as Synths for Kids, The Meriwethers, Ballet Folklorico, and members of the Britt Festival Orchestra to over 2000 attendees. The BFO Fellowship program continues to provide many free string quartet concerts to the community each summer, as well as rehearsing and performing with our BFO. The audition process for the 2020 Fellows will begin in January. The Residency program brought 11 different ensembles and individual teaching artists to schools in Jackson and Josephine counties, working with pre-school through graduate-level students. Fall residencies began this week with the acclaimed Kassia Ensemble (September 16-20) and continue with the Dmitri Matheny Quartet (October 7-10). We will also be bringing Teddy Abrams back into classrooms to share his expertise with high school bands and orchestras, rounding out our 2019 calendar.  Our free education programs occur throughout the year, and the community will continue to see a variety of offerings every month.  For more information about upcoming education events visit the Education pages on the Britt website, and join the BrittKids Klub for monthly emails about Britt Education & Engagement programs and schedules.

The Britt Membership drive for 2020 is scheduled to begin October 1st. The public can learn more about supporting Britt at http://www.brittfest.org/supportbritt.

A selection of photographs that can be used in conjunction with this story can be downloaded from the following online location. Names for photo credits are embedded in the file names.

https://spaces.hightail.com/space/lPOQpr3xti

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Inspired by its intimate and scenic hillside venue, Britt Music & Arts Festival provides diverse live performances, an incomparable classical festival and dynamic education programs that create a sense of discovery and community. Since its grassroots beginnings in 1963, the non-profit organization has grown from a two-week chamber music festival to a summer-long series of concerts in a variety of genres, including a three-week orchestra season, and year-round education and engagement programs. For more information, visit www.brittfest.org.

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