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Britt cancels its 2020 season

The entire 2020 season of the Britt Music and Arts Festival has fallen victim to the coronavirus.

In a post on its website, Britt officials announced the decision to cut the cord on this summer’s musical event in Jacksonville — a decision, they said, that was prompted by Thursday’s mandate from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown canceling all large gatherings, including concerts and larger sporting events, through September of this year.

“Due to this mandate, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community, including musicians, fans, partners, and staff,” organizers wrote on the website, “the 2020 Britt Presents Season will be postponed until 2021.”

The season was to have opened June 6 with a performance by country music legend Tanya Tucker, with the Britt Festival Orchestra set to begin its season in July. A final announcement of the lineup of the season — which last year ran through Sept. 16 — had been postponed a couple of times as the festival waited to see what kind of restrictions would be placed on large gatherings as Southern Oregon emerged from the pandemic and the state began to reopen.

Brown’s announcement Thursday effectively shut the door on logistical hopes for a Britt season.

“Since February, Britt has been working with artists’ management to determine how best to proceed, including opportunities to rebook these performers next year,” organizers wrote. “Work has already begun on the planning of next year’s season. We are excited to share that many artists in our 2020 lineup, including some acts that we hadn’t announced yet, will be joining us in 2021 to bring you the celebration of a lifetime in what is sure to be our most meaningful season yet.”

The other largest arts event in the Rogue Valley, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, previously had announced that it would present a truncated season beginning Sept. 8. There was no word Thursday night whether the governor’s mandate would affect its plans.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland and the Camelot Theatre in Talent each had made tentative plans to reopen as early as later this month. At the Craterian Theatre in Medford, scheduled events either had been postponed or canceled through the summer. How the rules over events and gatherings would affect those theaters was unknown at press time.

Britt announced that it was preparing a series of online presentations, called BrittVids, that would include members of the Britt Festival Orchestra, friends of Britt’s Education programs, and local musicians. Videos in the series will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday on Britt’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

“Until (live shows can return), and with a deeper appreciation for the people and art around us, we are ready to be a part of this changing world by bringing music, inspiration, and humanity straight into your home,” Britt organizers said about the series.

Information about refunds, donations or holding onto tickets for the same show in 2021 can be found at brittfest.org.

“Together, we will overcome this period of time while discovering a new era of creativity, respect, and appreciation for one another,” the Britt announcement concluded. “Next year will be a celebration of unity and resilience.”

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com

Teddy Abrams leads the 2019 Britt Orchestra. Photo by O'Neil Arnold