Britt Festivals may move to Jacksonville Museum

JACKSONVILLE — Britt Festivals is considering moving its headquarters from Medford to the former Jacksonville Museum, recently vacated by the cash-strapped Southern Oregon Historical Society.

Britt officials are talking with organizers of the newly formed Jacksonville Heritage Society, which this fall took over management of the 1883 courthouse and four other historic buildings from SOHS. The buildings are owned by Jackson County.

Britt and heritage society officials described the talks as preliminary.

"We have always had discussions and explored ways by which we might have more of a Jacksonville presence," said Jim Fredericks, Britt executive director. "We are attempting to identify if it's something that makes sense for us."

Most of Britt's musical performances take place at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville, and other activities are held in town.

"There would be a lot of details that would need to be worked out on both sides," said Carolyn Kingsnorth, president of the heritage society's board of directors. "When you see buildings sitting empty it's very sad, particularly when they are prominent buildings."

The Jacksonville City Council Tuesday approved a resolution supporting the relocation of Britt's headquarters to the courthouse. The document pledged support and technical assistance for grants, encouraged reopening of the courthouse's second story and said the city would strive to expedite permit processes for building occupancy.

"It's very gratifying to us that the city is so supportive of a potential move there," said Fredericks. "There's a lot of things that need to be resolved. The more we can do the better for all of us."

Among concerns the festival must consider are whether to keep a box office presence in Medford and what physical arrangements in the building must be made to accommodate its headquarters, said Fredericks.

Other groups have shown interest in using buildings now under the heritage society's control, said Kingsnorth. Britt occupancy might not preclude others from using portions of the courthouse, she added.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

Share This Story