Abby McKee

September Note from Our CEO

Published: September 1, 2022

There’s no feeling quite like the hot summer air cooling as the sun sets behind the madrones and ponderosa pines. Friends, both longtime and new, laugh and chatter until the applause swells to welcome an artist to the stage. We experience the music together, accompanied by crickets and birds as the moon rises. Britt is, simply put, summer magic – a place of happiness for anyone who has been there. It’s now one of my favorite places to share with you.

I’ve loved my first season. My personal favorite moment was listening to Chris Thile, Sarah Jarosz, and the rest of American Acoustic as the stars twinkled. The audience was so quiet during the music that I could hear our collective sighs of happiness. It’s hard to pick just one favorite moment, though. The 2,000-person sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody was a highlight, as was dancing with audience members at the Britt Festival Orchestra’s closing show with People of Earth. One thing is unmistakable: my favorite experiences at Britt are all about sharing the joy of live performance with everyone else in attendance. I know performers at Britt feel the same way. The energy they get from our audience is something extraordinary, and they tell us again and again how special this place is.

Planning has already begun for our 2023 season, of course, and I can’t wait to tell you about it! It’s all in the super-secret phase right now, but there is a lot to look forward to. As we wrap up the season, I want to share a few highlights with you, because this has been a record-breaking season! We have served one of our largest audiences ever: around 60,000 people have attended Britt shows this summer, plus thousands at our beloved admission-free education programs. Thirteen shows have been sold out or nearly so. We’ve welcomed icons like Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, and LeAnn Rimes; longtime fan favorites like Michael Franti (and Chicago on September 4!); and new-to-Britt hits like Caamp, KALEO, and Nate Bargatze.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the Subaru dealership having my car serviced, and two strangers are looking at the Britt brochure and talking about their favorite highlights of the summer as I eavesdrop and smile to myself. This wonderful arts organization has deep roots in this community, and it is a privilege to serve you as Britt’s leader. I hope you’ll join us for one of our final three shows this month on the Hill, and thank you for your patronage and support all summer.