12 percent fewer attend Britt shows this season

A 12 percent drop in Britt Festivals attendance this season means most staff will take a month off without pay and that the organization will eliminate a fall education program.

Attendance at the Jacksonville and Central Point concerts organized by the nonprofit organization fell from 69,000 last season to 59,000 during the season that closed Friday.

“We hope to increase our income from contributions, sponsors and members. We're looking at changing our business model — should we do more or less shows? We're cutting expenses so we're as lean and mean as we can be,” said Angela Warren, interim executive director.

“Are we going to shut the doors? Absolutely not. We're just trying to be creative about becoming sustainable.”

Most of Britt's 15 full-time workers will take December off without pay, she said. A wage freeze started a year ago will continue, as will the practice of cutting paid vacations and leaving open jobs open, she added. Use of volunteer help has also increased.

Because of failure of a grant it normally gets, said Warren, the Festival has decided to cancel its fall Britt Institute, an education program.

The festival had six sold-out concerts this year but endured lightning storms on its opening weekend and cancellations by Natalie Cole, Etta James and the Regeneration Tour — the most cancellations in its 47-year history, Warren said.

— John Darling, for the Mail Tribune

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