Britt was a hit with concert-goers
"Ideal concert weather" helped boost attendance for the Britt Music & Arts Festival in 2016, according to Britt officials.
Concert attendance reached 64,000, with 10 of Britt's 45 shows — including orchestra shows — selling out. The sellouts included Diana Ross and Hollywood Vampires. In total, the shows averaged 1,720 patrons. Since 2011, average annual concert attendance has been about 60,000.
Use of the Britt Performance Garden also increased in 2016, according to a Britt press release.
The stage is used for pre-show entertainment before main-stage performances and for the free Children’s Orchestral Concert Series.
The Children’s Concert Series proved to be a big hit this year, providing six morning concerts in August, reaching a total audience of 1,350 children and parents, the release said.
Britt has a current budget of $4 million, and though the year's end is still three months away, CEO and President Donna Briggs said she is "cautiously optimistic that Britt will be in the black."
The 2016 orchestra season featured seven performances on the main Britt stage and saw the world premiere of "Natural History," held at Crater Lake National Park. The Michael Gordon piece was commissioned by Britt to mark the U.S. National Park Service's 100th anniversary. Led by Music Director Teddy Abrams, the seven orchestra performances brought in more than 8,500 people, which is about the same attendance as the last two years, Briggs said.
Ticket sales cover only a portion of the organization's operating expenses — about 60 percent during pop season and 33 percent during orchestra season — with contributions covering the rest. Britt received $298,000 in contributions from business partners. That's a 22 percent increase from 2015, and a record-breaking amount for the fifth consecutive year.
Britt also expanded its education programs. The organization's residency program presented eight music ensembles for more than 750 students at 23 schools. In addition, the organization launched its Orchestral Fellowship program, which pairs graduating music performance majors with Britt Orchestra members and allows them to experience performing in a real-world setting.
Briggs added that the festival's concessions area will soon receive an upgrade, "introducing exciting new food options to include some of your local eateries next year."