Jacksonville, Ore., hosted a music festival long before The Britt Festival began in the 1960’s. In 1889, more than 2,500 [twenty-five hundred] people attended the town’s band festival. All-day bands played on the balcony of the U.S. Hotel to crowds below in the street.
The Ashland City Band has held outdoor concerts since the 1890’s. The Butler band-shell in Lithia Park was completed in 1949 and still attracts hundreds to weekly summer band concerts.
Some early concerts were tiny. A picture of a Rogue River band concert in 1912 shows four band members and an audience about twice that size sitting on a few benches. Some towns put extra effort into their concerts. In the early 1900’s, the Greater Medford Club built a bandstand and the city strung lights and constructed benches to accommodate listeners at Liberty Park summer concerts.
On Aug. 5 this summer, a new music festival will be held under the trees at the Historic Hanley Farm on Hanley Road between Central Point and Jacksonville. Five regional bands will perform from noon to 8 p.m., with food and drinks, a farmer’s market, and a raffle rounding out the day.
Sources: "Concert Band for Summer." Medford Mail, 19 Mar. 1909, p. 1. "A Musical Treat." Democratic Times, 16 May 1889 [Jacksonville Oregon] , p. 2. "Routine Work by Council." Medford Sun, 7 June 1909, p. 6. O'Harra, Marjorie. "City Band Has Extensive History." Ashland Daily Tidings, 1961, p. 1. Sohs #20876 Woodville Concert. 1912, Photograph , Southern Oregon Historical Society, Medford Oregon.