Jacksonville, OR - With a solid 2012 summer season, Britt made steady improvements in several areas, as the organization continues to regain its financial footing. This season saw jumps in contributed income from both business partners and grants, and a slight increase in earned income through ticket revenue. Ticket sales and membership held steady with 2011 numbers, both numbers exceeding budget goals.
Out of 37 concerts on the Britt hill in 2012, overall attendance was 61,000, with an average attendance per concert of nearly 1,650 people.
This compares favorably to 2011 numbers, in which 40 concerts had a total attendance of 62,000, an average of about 1,530 per concert. In 2012, twelve concerts sold out completely, a significant increase over past years.
Ticket sales cover just over 60% of Britt’s operating expenses, on average, for the pops season, and 33% for the Classical Festival. As a non-profit organization, Britt relies on contributed income to cover the gap, and this season Britt concentrated heavily on increasing the contributed income stream. As a result, business partners contributed
$175,000 to Britt this year, a 35% increase over 2011. Grant support also increased this year, by 14%.
Executive Director Donna Briggs commented, “We have been busy building strong and diverse relationships within the business and foundation communities and these efforts are succeeding. We thank all of our supporters for their investment in Britt, and in the cultural and economic vitality of southern Oregon.”
The 2012 season marked Britt’s 50th season. Britt continued its efforts of reaching new audiences this season by offering a diverse lineup, appealing to audiences new to Britt, as well as more traditional Britt audiences. The season lineup included the current act Fun., ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, country artist Trace Adkins, classic pop act Huey Lewis, rocker Ben Harper, reggae artist Ziggy Marley, singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, blues stars Tedeschi Trucks Band, and many more. In addition, the summer included several celebratory events, especially within the three-week Classical Festival. The Classical Festival is how Britt started in 1963, and this season commemorated Britt’s beginnings, along with its growth over 50 years, through new commissioned works and celebrations. The Classical Festival made a strong showing in attendance and ticket revenue, with its best attendance levels since 2006.
Britt’s educational and outreach programs continued to reach new students and community members throughout the region. Highlights included an artist-in-residency program in the Illinois Valley, which included teacher training and provided instruments that stayed in the schools, attendance growth and curriculum improvements to Rock Camp, and growth to the Table Rock City performing series, the pre-concert music series offered in the concessions area before Britt concerts.
The latter provided more opportunities for local artists to perform, with 75% of the acts new this year.
A notable change that Britt also made this year was in its alcohol policy, restricting outside alcohol on four concerts, a first for the organization. The policy shift was made in an effort to curtail excess drinking, and to increase safety for patrons. After thoughtful consideration, the Board of Directors has decided the new alcohol policy will remain in effect for 2013 concerts, with restrictions on outside alcohol for select shows only.
Britt is already at work on plans for the 2013 season, and has kicked off the membership drive for the new season. “It’s clear that the revenue improvement strategies we implemented over the past several years have put us on the path to a more stable and sustainable future for Britt,” Briggs says. “Given the amazing community we live in, we are confident that individuals, businesses and institutions will embrace our vision for the next 50 years.”
Britt Festivals invites audiences and artists to celebrate the joy of live performance, the power of community and the magic of the Britt Experience. Through ongoing education and audience development programs, Britt connects audiences to the inspirational power of classical music, and helps new generations of listeners discover the wonder of music and performance. In addition to presenting concerts, Britt Festivals maintains an education program through the Britt Institute. Established in 1985, the Britt Institute hosts a variety of programs including summer camps, workshops, elementary school activities, lectures and “meet the artist” opportunities.