I had the opportunity yesterday morning to visit the grounds of the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon, and listen in on the rehearsal for the classical performance for that night. It was wonderful! (The above shot is part of the view from the Britt grounds.)
What is the Britt Festival, you may ask? Well, for those of us who live in Southern Oregon, it’s the best venue for fabulous open-air evening concerts under the stars – from classical music, rock, pop, jazz, and the truly legendary. To give you an idea of this year’s performers (just a partial list): Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Neville Brothers, Michelle Shocked, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Keb Mo’, Mark Knopfler, B.B. King, Winton Marsalis, Billy Bob Thornton, Lyle Lovett, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson, Midori – and the list goes on.
The Britt Festival begins in June and ends early September. It was named after an important and visionary Swiss immigrant, Peter Britt, who made his home in Jacksonville during the Gold Rush. He was a photographer by trade, but tried his hand at gold prospecting, bee keeping, wine cultivation, horticulture, etc. By the time he died at age 86, he was one of the wealthiest and most highly respected men in Southern Oregon. The festival grounds adjoin the original site of Peter Britt’s home.
This shot was taken in the spring, before the Britt is open, but it gives you an overall context.
Last year, I took a photo of one of the morning classical rehearsals that I later attended that evening. There is nothing like sitting on a green lawn under the stars, surrounded by woods and pine trees, listening to such music, seeing the warm golden lights from the stage, sighing in unison with the audience during a particularly moving passage.
Departing in the late evening from the grounds is very difficult. But the memory of the experience carries me through many days afterwards.