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Britt: Lauper, Steve Miller, Doobie Bros., Speedwagon

Pop star Cyndi Lauper, singer/songwriter John Hiatt, the Steve Miller Band, country singer Billy Currington, American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, contemporary Christian artists Amy Grant and Brandon Heath, gospel legend Mavis Staples and guitar sensations Rodrigo y Gabriela are among the artists on their way to Britt's 2013 season of concerts.

The lineup, which was announced Wednesday evening at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville, features 33 performances of pop, rock and country music from June 15 through Sept. 14.

The season will kick off with the annual Taste of Summer celebration in Jacksonville on Saturday, June 8. The citywide celebration will include live music, food, street performers, members of the visual arts group Art Presence, a wine walk, a beer garden, children's activities, classic car displays, hot air balloon rides and more.

Britt Executive Director Donna Briggs says the festival is particularly excited about the presence of several prominent country music artists in this year's lineup.

"It's been a few years," she says. "Martina McBride, she's up there with Reba, and there's Scotty McCreery and Billy Currington. Every year we try to book good, strong country acts, and this year it came together for us."

There's also plenty of classic rock, with Steve Miller, Kenny Loggins, REO Speedwagon and the Doobie Brothers.

Briggs says there's a good chance of other shows being added as the season goes on.

"We do have a few offers out," she says. "We hope to book a few more." It sometimes takes months of negotiations to book an act, she says.

Ticket prices have held steady. The Steve Miller Band is the most expensive show at $92 for reserved seats and $49 for the lawn. McBride and the Doobies are next at $76 and $74, respectively. Most reserved seats are in the $40 to $60 range. Most lawn seating is in the $30 to $40 range.

The new alcohol policy that went into effect last year, with some shows excluded from Britt's traditional bring-your-own beer and wine policy, will continue this year, Briggs says. The shows with a ban on bring-your-owns will be announced before April 11.

Other performers coming to the Northwest's oldest annual outdoor summer music festival are folk singer John Prine, perennial Britt favorites Michael Franti and Kenny Loggins, rockabilly singer Chris Isaak, ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, and swing favorites Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Oregon's Pink Martini with singer Storm Large.

Also on the bill are some younger acts that will be new to Southern Oregon audiences. There's the sophisticated guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela and indie rockers Tegan and Sara, who toured with the Black Keys.

Also part of the summer season will be a Best of Britt benefit on Thursday, July 18. The evening will include music, food by local restaurants, wine from 25 wineries of the Southern Oregon Wine Association, beer and a return performance by boogie woogie/jazz pianist Michael Kaeshammer. Proceeds will benefit Britt's education programs.

Britt's Classical Festival, the element that started the thing, was announced in January. The Classical Festival will run Aug. 3-19, bringing nearly 100 musicians to Southern Oregon for three weeks to form the 2013 Britt Festival Orchestra.

This season will see a passing-the-baton event in the wake of the retirement of longtime Britt Music Director Peter Bay, who left at the end of last season after 20 years of leading the summer orchestra.

The orchestra and the Britt board will audition three finalists for the position of music director: Mei-Ann Chen, Teddy Abrams and David Danzmayr. The season also features the return of the popular symphony pops night, with all tickets just $5.

Tickets for Britt's 2013 season will go on sale beginning April 11 to Britt members and May 16 to the public. Visit www.brittfest.org, call 541-773-6077 or 800-882-7488, or visit the box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 216 W. Main St., Medford.

Bill Varble is a freelance writer living in Medford. Reach him at varble.bill@gmail.com.

Cyndi Lauper - Photo courtesy of Britt Festivals