Britt Festivals 2011 season

Motown great Smokey Robinson, alt-rockers The Decemberists, Grammy winner Ray LaMontagne, bluegrass favorites Alison Krauss and Union Station, comic Bill Maher and singer Bobby McFerrin are among the headliners for Britt Festivals' 49th season of concerts this summer.

Tickets will be available to Britt members Thursday, April 14, through May 18 at the box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford. Tickets will be available to the general public starting May 19.

Box-office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For details, see or call 541-773-6077 or 1-800-882-7488.

More highlights include classic rockers Cheap Trick, Willie Nelson, the B-52s (headlining an all-'80s night), Britt favorite Chris Isaak, a capella artists Rockapella, trumpeter Chris Botti, singers Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs on a co-bill, and Mary Chapin Carpenter co-billed with Marc Cohn.

Jim Fredericks, Britt's executive director, says Britt has been after the Portland-based Decemberists for several years, then last year a couple of the band's members saw Britt for the first time and loved it. Fredericks said Britt is still talking with a few other artists, and other dates could be added.

The Northwest's premier outdoor music festival annually presents bluegrass, blues, folk, world, jazz, pop, rock, country and classical shows during a season that spans the summer months to mid-September.

Things will get under way with the annual "Taste of Summer" celebration Saturday, June 11, in Jacksonville. The citywide celebration will be centered in downtown Jacksonville with art, music and more. The concert season will kick off that night with the return of a Britt favorite, Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Britt's Classical Festival runs July 31-Aug. 21 with musicians from around the country joining the Britt Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Peter Bay. Highlights include the Arianna String Quartet, pianist Muza Rubackyte, violinist James Ehnes, guitarist Sharon Isbin, trio Time for Three and NPR's host of "From the Top," Christopher O'Riley.

Many of the pop artists literally need no introduction (Robinson, Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Boz Scaggs, Maher), and many others often have performed locally (McDonald, Krauss, k.d. lang).

Others may be less known to the regional audience. Kila (with Solas June 17) is an Irish band playing Celtic and world music. Solas plays contemporary and traditional acoustic music. Beatles tribute band 1964 The Tribute (July 3) formed almost 30 years ago. The Avett Brothers (July 17) sing tight harmonies and play acoustic music, and two of them really are brothers.

California rockers Slightly Stoopid (July 26) were a surprise hit in their first Britt appearance, giving rock and blues a contemporary attitude (the show may not be suitable for young children). Aimee Man (Aug. 23 with The Weepies) is a rock and folk artist who plays guitar and bass. The Weepies play indie pop-folk.

The full 2011 Britt schedule — with show dates, times and ticket prices — is available at

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