MEDFORD, OR — Despite a smoky wildfire season and a power outage, the 2017 Britt Season received abundant support from the community, with steady ticket sales, growing membership, and new, beneficial business partnerships. Britt will continue to build on this momentum in 2018.
“Britt’s new, updated food concessions were a big hit this year!” according to Britt President & CEO Donna Briggs. “Improving our ability to provide quality food options on the Hill made a huge difference for many patrons who don’t have time to pack a picnic. Now, you can come to a show and purchase a delicious meal to enjoy with the concert right here at the venue.”
Out of 36 concerts performed on Britt’s main stage, overall attendance was over 62,000, with an average attendance of 1691 patrons per main stage concert. Eleven concerts sold out completely. Overall attendance numbers are similar compared to previous years, which have been averaging above 60,000 since 2011.
Overall, 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 higher in 2017, with a 9% increase in members and dues compared to last season. Business Partner contributions saw a 7% increase over 2016, and broke the record for the sixth year in a row. Grant funding through foundations continues to grow and support our operations and expanding education programs.
During the 2017 Britt Orchestra Season, Music Director Teddy Abrams led the orchestra in seven main stage performances, highlighted by a Britt commissioned world premiere of Oregonian composer Kenji Bunch’s “Song of Sasquatch”, plus a sold-out movie-themed Pops night that featured the music of composer John Williams. The season featured vocalists Richard Cox, Tamara Mumford and Measha Brueggergosman, as well as instrumental soloists Joshua Roman, cello, Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin, and Jeffrey Kahane, piano. It was a busy season for the Britt Orchestra, enjoyed by over 8,700 audience members despite hot summer temperatures.
Britt Education and Engagement programs grew again in 2017 with more in-school residencies, more children’s concerts and an outstanding guitar workshop. The residency program introduced eleven different ensembles to schools in Jackson and Josephine counties, reaching over 2,000 students ranging from kindergarten through graduate studies. The fall residency season has already begun, and features an accessibility focused wheelchair dance performance titled “DESCENT” by New York based Kinetic Light. The newly rebranded BrittKids Koncerts, free children’s concerts that are held in the Britt Performance Garden around the orchestra season, were expanded and very popular. With 200-450 kids and parents in attendance at each show, over 2,500 people enjoyed BrittKids Koncerts. The annual guitar workshop was renamed Britt Guitar Weekend and held in June this year, adding internationally known guitarists Vicki Genfan and Terry Robb to the faculty. Britt’s education component is thriving and providing musical opportunities for our local communities.
The Britt membership drive for 2018 is scheduled to begin October 1st. The public can learn more about supporting Britt at www.brittfest.org.
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.
Featured image is of Britt 2017 by Sue Newman.