September 19, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Gantenbein, Marketing Director, 541-690-3849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Britt ends season on a high note
MEDFORD, OR — The Britt Music & Arts Festival thanks everyone – our patrons, members, business partners, media partners, artists and fans – for an outstanding season. Despite another smoky wildfire season, the 2018 Britt Season was very popular with patrons, demonstrated by steady ticket sales and abundant support from the community. During the last two weeks of the season, Britt presented eight popular stars including Jason Mraz, Boy George and Jake Owen to excited crowds, making it one of the best finales in Britt history. Patrons also enjoyed the new and expanded Reserved seating this year.
“The new seating along with new concrete surfaces, and lighting has led to a better and safer patron, volunteer, and staff experience,” says Britt President & CEO Donna Briggs. “In addition, the expanded seating has increased patrons chances of getting reserved seats to their favorite concerts. Our commitment to the Britt Experience is evident in our continuing investments on the Hill.”
Out of 29 concerts performed on Britt’s main stage and five Britt Orchestra performances at North Medford High School, overall attendance was over 52,000, with an average attendance of 1535 patrons per main stage concert. Four concerts sold out completely, and four more concerts were very close to sell-out status. Overall attendance numbers are down compared to previous years, which have been averaging around 60,000 since 2011. This is partially due to two orchestra concert cancellations and other impacts of wildfire smoke in the region.
Ticket sales cover just 60% of Britt’s operating expenses on average for the Live Performances season and 33% for the Britt Orchestra Season. As a non-profit organization, Britt relies on contributed income to cover the gap. Membership numbers were 10% lower than in 2017, while Business Partner contributions saw a 10% increase over 2017, and broke the record for the seventh year in a row. Grant funding through foundations continues to grow and support our operations and expanding education programs.
During the 2018 Britt Orchestra Season, Music Director Teddy Abrams led the orchestra in five performances at North Medford High School, which were presented in their auditorium due to heavy wildfire smoke during the three-week orchestra season. Working around many logistical challenges created by moving the venue, the Britt Orchestra performed several works in honor of late composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, including his Symphony No. 1. In addition, Britt co-commissioned and performed a work that highlights the various sides of the debate on homelessness and housing insecurity: “emergency shelter intake form” by Gabriel Kahane. Accompanying the performance, several paintings by Aaron Hansen Burgess about the homelessness issue we displayed to inspire further thought and conversation around these important issues of our time. Also featured was a new work by Conducting/Composition Fellow Christopher Cerrone, “Will There Be Singing.” The season featured vocalists Measha Brueggergosman, and Sasha Cooke as well as Jonathan Biss on piano. Unfortunately, heavy wildfire smoke forced the orchestra to cancel the two final weekend concerts.
Britt Education and Engagement programs continued to grow and expand in 2018 with more in-school Residencies, more BrittKids Koncerts, the new BrittKids Klub, and our 4th year of Orchestral Fellowships. The residency program introduced twelve different ensembles to schools in Jackson and Josephine counties, connecting with kindergarten through graduate level students. The fall residency season has already begun, featuring the Anderson Brothers Trio (September 10-14) and Flamenco Pacifico (October 10-12). The free BrittKids Koncerts, held in July and August, were also expanded to provide additional performances and a wider variety of local and regional artists. With the health and safety of our youngsters in mind, we were grateful to be able to move the bulk of the series to Oak Grove Elementary School gym, allowing Britt to continue to host nearly 2,000 people at this popular series. The Britt Orchestral Fellowship program included two student string quartets this summer, providing several free performances in the community as well as rehearsing and performing with the Britt Orchestra. Many of these free community performances are made possible through partnerships with other local arts organizations and Britt Education and Engagement is continuing to form new partnerships throughout the year. For more information about upcoming education events, join the free BrittKids Klub. Look for the registration page and more about the Education and Engagement programs on the Britt website.
The Britt membership drive for 2019 is scheduled to begin October 1st. The public can learn more about supporting Britt at www.brittfest.org.
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.
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.