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Music, Arts and Culture

Britt Joins The Music And Art Festivals Returning To The Rogue Valley

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The Britt Festival Orchestra practices. The Britt Music & Arts Festival in Jacksonville, Ore. is among the regional venues beginning to reopen after more than a year of pandemic closures.

The pandemic put most live cultural events on hold for a year, including festivals that are at the core of Rogue Valley’s tourism economy. As COVID eases, many events will be making a comeback in the next few months.

Britt Music & Arts Festival, an annual performance festival in Jacksonville, has announced live music lineups for this summer. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will be coming back, too, likely attracting an influx of out-of-town visitors.

Bob Hackett is the director of Travel Southern Oregon. He says that although outdoor and culinary tourism helped keep the region’s economy afloat through the pandemic, live events are a staple in the valley.

“We were able to invite visitors here to have a really good experience even through 2020 and that really helps sustain us going forward," said Hackett. "To have the cultural sector back means the world, though. Because that is a differentiator for us here in Southern Oregon. We really do offer culture and travel in a way that many parts of the state don’t.”

The Britt Festival is the Pacific Northwest’s longest-running outdoor music and performing arts festival. The season, starting in August, includes big names such as ZZ Top, Gladys Knight, and Fitz and the Tantrums.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has also announced their plans for live performances, which could help kickstart the region’s tourism economy this summer.

Katherine Cato is the director of Travel Ashland.

“People are truly grateful to be able to come together again and celebrate our culture," said Cato. "And that is really that historical root of what makes this such a special place.”

The Britt Festival starts in August and tickets go on sale in late June.