Britt's secret lineup falls victim to Internet Age

A sign outside the Britt Festivals office in downtown Medford says this year's lineup remains "top secret" and will be announced April 4.

The festival is learning that "top secret" is a difficult policy to enforce in the Internet Age.

Bands who have scheduled concerts this spring and summer have pre-empted the festivals' formal announcement by listing their shows on their websites.

This was disappointing news to Britt Festivals Executive Director Donna Briggs.

"It ruins the surprise," she said.

A quick Google search of the Britt Festivals turns up announcements for several upcoming acts.

According to the artists' and other websites, this season will feature headliners Primus (June 11), Natalie Merchant (June 24), Michael Kaeshamer (July 19), Earth Wind & Fire (July 23), Diana Krall (Aug. 29) and Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald touring together as "The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue" (July 5).

The tickets to these shows aren't available for sale yet, according to the information on the websites.

Briggs said some artists have contractual demands that allow them to release their summer tour before the Britt Festivals announcement. Primus is among these bands, she said.

However, Briggs was surprised that the other acts listed above had announced their Britt shows before April 4. Britt traditionally has announced its yearly lineup at an invitation-only party for its donors and supporters.

She said this information did not come from Britt Festivals officials.

"I assure you this did not come from our office," she said.

Briggs said the Internet has made it nearly impossible to keep a secret.

"Ten years ago this wasn't a problem," she said. "It is a trend that we will be paying attention to in the future."

Britt already has announced its Classical Festival, with shows scheduled Aug. 3-19.

The nonprofit reported a jump in attendance, membership revenues and concession sales and eight sold-out shows last season.

Earlier this year, Britt Festivals was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation that will be used to make improvements on the Britt hill in Jacksonville, as well as for marketing and fundraising.

Briggs said the donation also will be used to support the Classical Festival and education programs.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email

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