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Britt's cancellation first in 55 years

I'm just wondering, why didn't Britt have some sort of cancellation insurance for the $100,000 loss they are reporting for the 2017 season?

— Chris G., Central Point

We asked Britt Music & Art Festival CEO Donna Briggs that very question after an Aug. 8 performance was canceled with patrons on the hill due to storm conditions and a power outage that left most of Jacksonville dark.

She anticipated at the time that the cancellation "could result in a six-figure loss," lining up with recent reports that the festival lost $100,000 this season from the abrupt cancellation and wildfire smoke-related reschedulings.

Briggs' answer at the time of guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela's cancellation was that performance insurance for an organization that puts on 40 performances a year is prohibitively expensive. Besides, a cancellation because of power outage had never happened before.

The on-hill cancellation was the festival's first in 55 years, Briggs said, and our electronic database going back about 25 years matched up, showing only artist-related Britt performance cancellations — most of them rescheduled.

Britt was able to coordinate a new performance date for Michael Franti, but Rodrigo y Gabriela couldn't be rescheduled. The performers get paid, rain or shine, Briggs said.

We also asked whether Britt had considered backup generators, but Briggs told us that was "just not feasible" based on how much lighting a live performance takes. 

"You couldn't bring enough generators to put on a Britt show," she said at the time.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.