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MailTribune.com
  • Britt unveils star-studded '12 schedule

  • The return of Bill Cosby, a first-ever visit by Kris Kristofferson and a date with "We Are Young" hit-makers Fun headline the Britt Festivals' 2012 summer concert season.
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    • Britt Festivals 2012 season at a glance
      June 9 — Taste of Summer, with winetasting, live music, art, food, street performers and family activities, downtown Jacksonville
      • June 11 — An Evening with Primus. $48 reserv...
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      Britt Festivals 2012 season at a glance
      June 9 — Taste of Summer, with winetasting, live music, art, food, street performers and family activities, downtown Jacksonville

      • June 11 — An Evening with Primus. $48 reserved; $48 general admission pit; $38 lawn
      • June 15 — Melissa Etheridge "Live and Alone" / Maia Sharp. $84 reserved; $44 adult lawn; $36 child lawn; $336 premium blanket (for four); $168 premium blanket (for two)
      • June 16 — Tedeschi Trucks Band. $57 reserved; $37 adult lawn; $23 child lawn; $228 premium blanket (for four); $114 premium blanket (for 2
      • June 22 — Bush. $45 reserved; $45 general admission pit; $35 adult lawn; $26 child lawn
      • June 23 — Farmer Jason. All seats general admission: $9.50 - Children two and under free
      • June 24 — Natalie Merchant with the Rogue Valley Symphony. $59 reserved; $37 adult lawn; $32 child lawn; $236 premium blanket (for four); $118 premium blanket (for two)
      • June 27 — Leftover Salmon / Brokedown in Bakersfield. $36 reserved; $26 adult lawn; $18 child lawn; $144 premium blanket (for four); $72 premium blanket (for two)
      • June 28 — Jake Shimabukuro / Leo Kottke. $43 reserved; $28 adult lawn; $19 child lawn; $172 premium blanket (for four); $86 premium blanket (for two)
      • June 29 — The Crystal Method / Chris Lake / Sofi. $37 reserved; $37 general admission pit; $27 adult lawn; $19 child lawn.
      • June 30 — Trace Adkins. $72 reserved; $42 adult lawn; $37 child lawn; $288 premium blanket (for four); $144 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 1 — Katchafire / J BOOG. $29 reserved; $29 general admission pit; $25 adult lawn; $20 child lawn
      • July 3 — Ben Harper. $66 reserved; $66 general admission pit; $42 adult lawn; $34 child lawn
      • July 5 — An Evening with Dukes of September Rhythm Review. $94 reserved; $49 adult lawn; $39 child lawn; $376 premium blanket (for four); $188 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 13 — An Evening with Kris Kristofferson. $59 reserved; $35 adult lawn; $28 child lawn; $236 premium blanket (for four); $118 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 14 — An Evening with Tommy Emmanuel CGP. $38 reserved; $24 adult lawn; $14 child lawn; $152 premium blanket (for four); $76 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 19 — Black & White Gala with Michael Kaeshammer, "Celebration of Britt Festivals 50 Years and Beyond." All seats general admission: $100 (includes food, beer and wine)
      • July 21 — An Evening with Bill Cosby. $78 reserved; $42 adult lawn; $32 child lawn; $312 premium blanket (for four); $156 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 23 — Earth Wind & Fire Guiding Lights Tour. $79 reserved; $44 adult lawn; $36 child lawn; $316 premium blanket (for four); $158 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 26 — Ziggy Marley Wild and Free Tour. $45 reserved; $45 general admission pit; $33 adult lawn; $16 child lawn
      • July 27 — Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers: An evening of bluegrass and comedy. $73 reserved; $37 adult lawn; $32 child lawn; $292 premium blanket (for four); 146 premium blanket (for two)
      • July 28 — Beats Antique / Inspired Flight. $29 reserved; $29 general admission pit; $26 adult lawn; $19 child lawn
      • Aug. 3 — Classical Festival Gala 50th Opening / Sarah Chang / Britt Orchestra. $47 reserved; $32 adult lawn; $10 Student/Child Lawn
      • Aug. 4 — Anton Nel / Britt Orchestra. $40 reserved; $28 adult lawn; $10 Student/Child Lawn
      • Aug. 10 — André Watts / Britt Orchestra. $50 reserved; $35 adult lawn; $10 student/child lawn
      • Aug. 11 — Nurit Bar-Josef / Britt Orchestra. $35 reserved; $25 adult lawn; $10 student/child lawn
      • Aug. 12 — Calder Quartet, Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, Ashland. All seating reserved: $25 Adult; $15 Student/Child
      • Aug. 17 — Westwater Photochoreography / Sara Daneshpour / Britt Orchestra. $40 reserved; $30 adult lawn; $10 student/child lawn
      • Aug. 18 — Music Sets the Stage / Symphony Pops / Britt Orchestra. All seats: $5
      • Aug. 19 — Farewell Concert / Alisa Weilerstein / Britt Orchestra. $42 reserved; $30 adult lawn; $10 Student/Child Lawn
      • Aug. 21 — Michael Franti & Spearhead. $48 reserved; $48 general admission pit; $38 lawn; $21 child lawn
      • Aug. 23 — Fun. $29 reserved; $23 adult lawn; $20 child lawn; $116 premium blanket (for four); $58 premium blanket (for two)
      • Aug. 24 — An Evening with The Avett Brothers. $48 reserved; $48 general admission pit; $38 lawn; $28 child lawn
      • Aug. 26 — Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue / Ozomatli. $44 reserved; $34 Lawn; $24 child lawn; $176 premium blanket (for four); $88 premium blanket (for two)
      • Aug. 27 — Ozokidz. All seats general admission: $9.50 - Children two and under free
      • Aug. 29 — Diana Krall. $87 reserved; $42 lawn; $32 child lawn; $348 premium blanket (for four); $174 premium blanket (for two)
      • Aug. 30 — Gavin DeGraw / Colbie Caillat. $59 reserved; $38 adult lawn; $28 child lawn; $236 premium blanket (for four); $118 premium blanket (for two)
      • Sept. 6 — Slightly Stoopid (Note: Patrons will not be permitted to bring in outside beer or wine for this performance.) $39 reserved; $39 general admission pit; $33 lawn
      • Sept. 8 — Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars Tour (Note: May not be appropriate for children and those offended by strong language and adult humor.) $42 reserved; $29 lawn; $168 premium blanket (for four); $84 premium blanket (for two)
      • Sept. 11 — Heart. $79 reserved; $46 adult lawn; $36 child lawn; $316 premium blanket (for four); $158 premium blanket (for two)
      • Sept. 14 — Huey Lewis and The News. $71 reserved; $43 adult lawn; $32 child lawn; $284 premium blanket (for four); $142 premium blanket (for two)
      • Oct. 5 — Phoenix Blues — On the Stage Performance. All seats general admission: $20 (Note: Not appropriate for children 12 and under)
      • Oct. 12 — Project Trio - On the Stage Performance. All seats general admission: $20
  • The return of Bill Cosby, a first-ever visit by Kris Kristofferson and a date with "We Are Young" hit-makers Fun headline the Britt Festivals' 2012 summer concert season.
    The season gets under way June 11 with alt-rockers Primus and closes on the hillside Sept. 14 with San Francisco's Huey Lewis and the News. Two "on the stage" performances are slated for October.
    Ticket sales for Britt members start April 12 and for the public May 17.
    Britt Executive Director Donna Briggs promises a summer of musical diversity. And if that leads you to suspect a more youthful note along with the usual gray-hairs, you're right on the money.
    "We have a commitment to presenting some new genres," Briggs says. "It's an intentional and focused effort."
    In addition to Fun (Aug. 23), she points to acts such as Primus, the San Francisco band that will be touring in support of its new album, "Green Naugahyde;" English rockers Bush (June 22); roots rockers The Avett Brothers (Aug. 24); and San Diego eclecticists Slightly Stoopid (Sept. 6), although the Avetts and Slightly Stoopid have performed at Britt before.
    In an average year, slightly more than half Britt's headliners have previously performed on the county-owned hillside in Jacksonville. Not this year.
    "Normally 48 percent are new to us," Briggs says. "This year it's 62 percent."
    It's not that Britt hasn't tried to land certain artists before.
    "Ben Harper (July 3) we've been trying to get for a decade," she says.
    Melissa Etheridge (June 15) is in the long-time-wanted category, too.
    Other shows you wouldn't have expected at Britt in past years are electronica duo The Crystal Method (June 29) and world fusionists Beats Antique (July 28).
    There are familiar faces as well. Cosby will return July 21, and Earth, Wind and Fire will visit two nights later. Country singer Trace Adkins will play June 30, and Steven Martin (July 27) and Ziggy Marley (July 26) are among the repeat performers in July. Martin will perform with his bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, and Marley will be on his Wild and Free Tour. Songstress Diana Krall will return Aug. 29.
    Still other artists coming back for an encore are coming with fresh, new shows. Natalie Merchant will stop at Britt on June 24 to perform with the Rogue Valley Symphony in between shows in San Francisco and Seattle with symphony orchestras in those towns. The Dukes of September (July 5) tour brings together Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs.
    Others haven't been here before, it only seems like they have. Kristofferson will try his luck at Britt for the first time on Friday the 13th (of July).
    The Bob and Tom radio show will provide the season's R-rated night on Sept. 8, a show Briggs says may not be suitable for the younger set.
    "This is grown-ups night," she says.
    Briggs says there are signs the concert industry, after several down years, is coming back.
    "There is an energy you can feel," she says.
    As a result, expect ticket prices to resume their upward trajectory after being flat for a couple of years. Britt's are up an average of $2. There are 13 shows with reserved seats above $50 and just seven with reserved seats for less than $40. The Dukes of September are the summer's priciest ticket at $94 (reserved) and $49 (lawn). Diana Krall ($87, $42) and Melissa Etheridge ($84 and $44) are close behind.
    It's a challenge for Britt to present hot acts at prices people will pay because the festival has only 2,200 seats to sell, and performers have turned to live shows as a way to make money with the decline of the recording industry.
    Britt has made a strong financial comeback after a couple of very bad years. Britt officials last year projected a deficit of $173,000. Instead, the festival very nearly broke even for the first time in years, finishing only $23,000 in the red.
    There are a couple of wrinkles that figure to take some getting used to. Britt will designate the area in front of the stage a "pit" for some shows (typically younger acts and danceable shows such as Primus). General admission pit tickets will cost the same as reserved seats, and access will be controlled.
    In addition, you know those concerts where you get searched going in? Well now bags will be subject to search when you're going out. Briggs says the policy is a result of feedback from the OLCC and others, and she expects questions.
    "Concert-goers will not be allowed to take beer or wine, opened or unopened, away from the grounds after the show," she says. "They need to bring the amount they know they can consume safely on the hill."
    Britt's classical season, Aug. 3-19, was previously announced.
    Bill Varble is a freelance writer living in Medford. Reach him at varble.bill@gmail.com.
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