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Britt Festival is back

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The crowd erupted in applause Tuesday evening as music icon Gladys Knight walked onto the stage for opening night of the Britt Festival summer concert series.

After having to cancel the series last year due to the pandemic, festival volunteers and concertgoers were excited to be back this year.

“This is a big deal in this valley that people look forward to, coming to from all over the West Coast. That’s why we are very happy to be back,” said volunteer Lisa Schuh.

Robert Korth, a long-time volunteer with the Britt Festival, said not having the festival last year was boring for him. “I spend quite a bit of time up here, so with nothing to do — that hurt a lot, and I know it hurt a lot of people,” Korth said.

After being away for a year, he was excited to see people shuffling in with their picnic blankets, chairs and coolers ready for a night of hanging out and enjoying the entertainment.

Local favorite Bishop Mayfield opened for Gladys Knight at 7:30 p.m., and he paid tribute to the founding artist of blues music. Crowd members danced in their seats and sang along with the songs.

As someone who has been coming to the Britt Festival for five years, Linda Sedey said she was elated to be back with her friends. “I’m really glad that they’ve started back up. It’s a great opportunity to be outdoors and yet enjoy some good food and entertainment.”

The Britt Festival has several more concerts lined up through October including ZZ Top and Pink Martini.

Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune | Gladys Knight performs for a large crowd on opening night of the Britt Festival.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Bishop Mayfield performs at the opening night of Britt Festival Tuesday.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune | A woman dances in the crowd during Bishop Mayfield's performance Tuesday at the Britt.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Bishop Mayfield performs at the Britt Festival Tuesday.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Bishop Mayfield performs on opening night of Britt Festival Tuesday.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune | A couple dance to Bishop Mayfield’s music Tuesday at the Britt.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - A woman dances and sings on Tuesday evening during the opening night of Britt Festival.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - The crowd cheers as Gladys Knight walks on stage for her performance at Britt Festival on Tuesday evening.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Gladys Knight laughs as audience members cry out "We love you Glady" during her performance on Tuesday evening.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Gladys Knight smiles at her bassist during her performance on Tuesday evening.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Gladys Knight performs on opening night of Britt Fest Tuesday evening in Jacksonville.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Gladys Knight performs on opening night of Britt Fest Tuesday evening in Jacksonville.