Real Estate Show with Abby McKee Britt Festival CEO

Real Estate Show with Abby McKee Britt Festival CEO

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Alice Lema: [00:00:00] Well, hey there, Southern Oregon, welcome back to the Real Estate Show. So glad you could join us today. And boy do we have a great lineup. We have Guy Giles from Mutual Mortgage to give us a market update and he is bringing along his friend Abby McKee, who is the president and CEO of our local Britt Music and Art Festival.

So it's just gonna be jampacked with great conversation, great information. And Abby McKee of the Britt festival will be talking about the summer lineup and some of the changes they've made. So super excited to talk to them both. In the meantime, before we bring in Abby and Guy, let's check briefly on our local statistics.

Things are a changing, and it's why we track this every week. And Klamath Falls our prices year over year are down 13%. The average now for a single family residential is $307,193. The number of solds year over year in Klamath County are down [00:01:00] 22%. That's mostly due to lack of inventory, and the number of listings year over year are down 2%.

Josephine County prices year over year, hold onto your hat. We have some good news. Josephine County prices are up 8% an average. Home in Josephine County will now cost you $485,592. So good news for the sellers, maybe not so good for the buyers. The number of solds year over year in Josephine County are down. 43%. Again, that has to do with inventory and the number of listings year over year in Josephine County are down 13%.

Jackson County prices year over year are up 23%. The average home in Jackson County now costing $596,452, and again, this is single family residential only The number of solds year over year in Jackson County are down [00:02:00] 29%. The number of listings in Jackson County are down 17% year over year, so we're starting to see a little bit of traction. We've been wondering these last few weeks, if we were bottoming out and it looks like we either are at the bottom or we're about to hit the bottom and start bouncing back. We don't know what the future brings.

The feds are threatening to have another interest rate increase, so we'll just track it week to week and keep you informed. In the meantime, we're gonna take a quick break from our sponsors. We're brought to you by John L. Scott, Ashland and Medford, Guy Giles Mutual Mortgage, and our local Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, RVAR. We thank you very much for helping us bring this show every single week. We're gonna say hi to Abby McKee from Britt Music Festival and Guy Giles from Mutual Mortgage. So stay tuned. We'll be right back. We've got a great show. Don't go away.

Well, hey, Southern Oregon, welcome back to the Real Estate Show. So glad you could join us [00:03:00] today. We have a super exciting show today. We have Guy Giles from Mutual Mortgage and his friend Abby McKee from Britt Music Art Festival. I bet you didn't know the Brit had such a long name. Welcome Abby and Guy.

Abby McKee: Hey Alice. Great to see you. Oh, we have so much to talk about.

Alice Lema: We're gonna talk a lot about what's going on with the Brit and, and part of how the Britt makes people move here.

Abby McKee: Yeah, absolutely.

Alice Lema: Makes them want to move here.

Abby McKee: Yeah, well, and I moved here for the Britt. I moved here for the job about a year ago, last May. And I mean, what a special place we have here. It's just it's beautiful. Southern Oregon's beautiful, of course, but then the cultural richness of the area is really a draw for people, and I think that's this wonderful pairing. It's like this beautiful, small town, rural kind of vibe. But with these incredible cultural offerings that you don't generally find in a small town. So it's really special.

Alice Lema: We have the best of both. We think [00:04:00] it's the the best place in the world to live, don't we Guy?

Guy Giles: We do. I've been here pretty much forever, and I, I still feel that same way. You know, everybody gets restless and looks around or goes and visit some place. And in my opinion, unless they're visiting here, you know, it might look good for a minute or two and, and then you think, oh wow, that place in Idaho that I loved gets 20 minutes less daylight right now.

Or, you know, I don't wanna be shoveling snow out in the middle of, of July is late snowstorm or something like that. So they're actually a lot, you know, we get a little bit of snow, a little bit of sun, a little bit of everything. And yeah, we still get the beautiful fall colors and the long spring and, And I can't imagine another spot that's better.

Alice Lema: Yep. Yep. We don't even, we don't even like to leave town. Isn't that weird? People say, oh, come to Italy with me. Like, I have a girlfriend who wants to go to Italy with her. And I said, no, I don't. I've been to Italy like I would except Italy,

Abby McKee: But I haven't been to Italy, so. Fair enough.

Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah. It's [00:05:00] pretty fun. But but anyway, we need to talk about the market. Guy, we haven't had an update for a little while. Now that you're here, how about you bring us up to speed and then let's get to talking to Abby.

Guy Giles: Well, the, I mean, really, I guess the whole story is just still in the fed's target for where they want, they want inflation. And, and you know, I, I, we've talked a little bit about how, how much in love with the Fed and their experience that I'm, I'm in and, you know I, I guess at the end of the day, they're never gonna hit that 2%, but, but at least we're coming closer and, you know, little by little this inflation is coming down and it's working in the right direction, maybe not quite as fast as they would like it, so, you know, they're probably gonna do another rate hike, maybe, maybe two, which again, I, I always end that, in, that doesn't directly affect our rates.

You know, our, our people generally look a little bit further ahead. Than [00:06:00] they do, right? They tend to look in the rear view mirror and kind of do their stuff from, you know, do their policies from that. I think if they were really looking at things, they would still, you know, they'd pause it for a little while longer to let things settle in.

The housing costs and some things like that. Believe it or not, the, you know, just the shelter is coming down. It's just a lagging one. It's taken a little bit of time, so I, I, I think they've done enough. They don't think they've done enough yet, so they, they might, they might raise rates a little bit. That may or may not affect our home loan rates as far as that goes, but they're, they're still up and they've been way more stubborn than I thought.

You know, I mean, always say it when I'm right. So I definitely admit it when I'm wrong. I thought they'd be coming down by now, and, you know, they are off their highs, but we're not, we're, we're not where we wanna be yet. But hang in there. And it's still, if you, you know, I'll, I'll try to go over this, you know, fairly quickly, but, If you look kind of pre pandemic, what people were making, on [00:07:00] average, the homeowner is making about $1,200 more. I'm gonna go off a little bit of rough numbers, but

Alice Lema: you're talking about wages now, right.

Guy Giles: In front of me. Yeah. Talk about wages per month. So if you buy a house and, and just say the average house is gonna cost you, you know, more because you have a rate that's higher, it's gonna probably be about $380 more a month, which is substantial as far as that goes.

Don't, don't get me wrong, but that said, if you're making $1,200 more a month than you were, and then these are all national averages. Some people more, some people less for sure. And you take maybe 30% out of that for taxes. You're still ahead by over $300 per month, buying a house at a percent higher than you were then.

So inflation sucks. Yes. But everything kind of goes up. You're able to negotiate for a little higher wage in your job. People understand, you know, even people on fixed incomes, you know, those are tied to where the, where the inflation rate is also. [00:08:00] So, Instead of looking at it, you know, just all doom and gloom, like, oh my gosh, the payment went up 300 bucks.

Your income probably went up also, and especially if you're not in the game right now, there's the tax advantages of being in the house that you did not enjoy by not owning the house. Plus, like I said, the appreciation. Say you're coming in with 10% down $300,000 house, that's 30 grand sitting in a bank account.

If everything went perfect and you made 10% on that, you made $3,000 in a year, well, your $300,000 house going up at 5%, that's $15,000 that you made in appreciation on that. So, you know, I, I know it's scary and weird when house prices go up, but you know, kind of mentioned before the show. That if your stocks went up, yeah, it'd be more expensive to buy that stock, but you'd be really glad that you had that stock.

If you had already owned it. And wished it, you would've already bought one. So same thing with the house. If you wait, [00:09:00] then you know the, the numbers will always catch up to you as far as renting and anyway.

Alice Lema: And isn't it interesting that we didn't have the big housing crash that some people were expecting? In fact at least in Southern Oregon, we're kind of holding our own. And in some parts of the country, the prices have already started creeping back up again, which is not, was not expected this early in 2023.

Guy Giles: No. You know, that's another thing I've been kind of looking at the numbers on the headline lately has been, median house prices goes down. And then this is national too. I think you're right on our local level, I don't see these prices going down. There's just a finite amount of houses. We can't grow fast enough to, to do that. We're not a Phoenix, Arizona that could just spread out, you know, over a you know, a thousand dollars.

Alice Lema: Well, the development costs in, in Oregon, it's, right. Ugh. It's, if you took our development costs out, we would be [00:10:00] competitive with the Midwest or, you know, lower cost places.

Guy Giles: Yeah, maybe we need to have Brad on here to get a, a, you know, an update on that sometime pretty soon. But yeah, I think the last I heard it was over $80,000 just in administration and and I, anyway, we go on and on. Before you laid your first Brit, you know, I mean, that was just to get the project going, so that's not helping the little guy at all. For sure. You know, having those prices come down would be, would be good. I say, The little guy or a little gal, you know, whichever.

But real quick, before we get into the Brit stuff, cause I think there's some really interesting stuff with her, but I know people do kind of wanna know what's going on with the markets. One of the headlines was that that median house prices went down. Well, to try to just put it into a nutshell, what really happened on these last numbers, some of the higher end houses were not selling like some of the lower end houses.

It was mostly the lower end houses. So say you had five [00:11:00] buckets at a hundred thousand 200, 300, 400, 500, your median price would be $300,000, right? If price number five is not selling that much and fi price number four isn't selling a ,lot now your median house price is more in the two, two and a half than it is in the three.

So it shows that our median house price went down when in fact the house in that, in that price range didn't go down, just the average went down because some of the more expensive ones didn't. And I, I don't know if just saying it that way could, could make you understand. But you still have 1, 2, 3, a hundred thousand, 200, 300,000. Or the same buckets, the same prices, but you, if you didn't have 400 and 500 selling, it would drive, it would just naturally drive the average down. But that doesn't mean that that our housing went down as far as what it was worth. It just means some of the higher end stuff wasn't selling.

Alice Lema: And that's why it's so good that you come on the show on a regular basis because it [00:12:00] helps people understand that it's just a giant math problem. And like you were talking about earlier, if and I think you said this last month if we were in the, the most recent market, where we had extremely frenzied multiple offers, overpaying, waiving the appraisal, it was actually worse. And it was harder because you had to have all this extra cash that you, you, you had to have the cash.

Now, the prices have stabilized a little bit, but they haven't really gone down that much. And in some parts of the country they're going back up and that's why it's so good. You explain to people to sit down and run the numbers, compare what your wages are, compare to what your payment's really gonna be, even though it's a higher interest rate. And remember, you're getting a place to live that's gonna go up in value as well.

Guy Giles: So, Yeah. And, and I had a guy that I was speaking to, an old client from he's actually a sheriff over in Klamath County, and he called me up and he said, you know, I'd really love this [00:13:00] 2.6% rate you gave me. But I want to, I wanna move up in house. And he is like, what can we do? Do you think they'd let me keep my rate if I brought it? You know? And I'm like, dude, no.

Alice Lema: Can you buy it down that low?

Guy Giles: Well not even buy it down that low. He was actually just hoping that he could go to his original, his original loan amount and then keep that rate. And, but I mean, he's, he's, he's a sheriff in not doing this.

If I was trying to go to, well, actually I did take crim in college. I'd understand what he's doing. But anyway, it didn't, it didn't really work out. I like that. But, but what we did talk about was, you know, he, he's got a big truck payment and if instead of coming in with all of the money that he would come in with it, he's, cuz his house is worth a lot more than it was when he bought it.

So it, instead of taking, if he could take some of that equity that he was going to use for the down payment on his new house, and paid off that truck that frees up $460,000, $460 a month. Put him [00:14:00] over the top, but, but if he was to take that, some of the money he was gonna use for the down payment, pay his truck off, which I think was around $35,000, his mortgage insurance that he would have now only equated to about $40 a month. So now he's actually can go into the house for the same price that, that he was in and be in the house that he wants to be in. So there are different strategies that we can look at, you know, that can maybe help people to achieve their same goal.

Alice Lema: Yeah. It's not, it's not death to you know, your new house sale to get a higher interest rate. So it's really great that you're helping people run those numbers.

Guy Giles: Well, the most important thing was this payment didn't go up. Other than that he needed to get into a, a different house. He needed to move up. And there really wasn't a way, but, but just paying off a little bit of debt and just, just looking at different ways to get creative and I didn't know.

Alice Lema: No, that's fantastic. Yeah. And I think a lot of the, the buyers, at least in [00:15:00] our area, they've absorbed the fact financially they've absorbed and so they're back out there shopping.

Guy Giles: Yes. Yeah. They, it really feels like it.

Alice Lema: So we're gonna have to take a quick break, and then we're gonna bring on Abby McKee the president and CEO of Brits Music and Art Festival. We're gonna be back in just a quick minute. We're thankfully brought to you by John L. Scott, Ashland and Medford, Guy Giles Mutual Mortgage, thank you. And our local Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, also known as our RVAR. So thanks to all you folks for helping to bring the show every week. And just a reminder, the show is gonna be rebroadcast tomorrow on Sunday, same station K C M X 99.5, and it will air at 6:00 PM on Sunday. So don't touch that dial.

We have Abby McKee, Brit Music and Art Festival right back. Welcome back to The Real Estate Show, folks. I'm Alice Lema. I'm a [00:16:00] broker here in beautiful southern Oregon with John L. Scott Real Estate, and today we get to talk to Abby McKee. She's the president and CEO of Brits Music and Art Festival. Welcome, Abby.

Abby McKee: Thank you so much for having me, Alice. I'm really excited to talk.

Alice Lema: So you are kind of new to our area and we love Brit. Brit is a really big deal. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you found, how you found Southern Oregon?

Abby McKee: Sure. Yeah. So I have been here since May of last year, so May of 2022. I have been an arts administrator for like, close to 20 years at this point. So I've run a number of cultural centers, music festivals, orchestras. And about a year and a half ago, I guess spotted the job posting for Britt and really fell in love with the idea of, of coming back into a small town.

I grew up in a very small town in the Appalachian Mountains in old Virginia. And it was 8,000 permanent residence, 24,000 college students. So a very small town. And [00:17:00] then really just like falling into the arts. Most of our jobs are in major urban areas. Most of the jobs running arts organizations are in major urban areas.

I really thought that I was never going to be able to live in a more sustainable place that that has the lifestyle that I was looking for. And then Brit popped up and it's just been kind of like finding a unicorn. So that brought me here and I have loved it every single day for the last year plus.

Alice Lema: Well, we're so glad that you're here and Britt is doing really, really well. Congratulations.

Abby McKee: Thank you. Yeah, it's, it's been a really interesting thing. I think so many of our classical performing arts and other kinds of arts organizations coming out of the pandemic, have seen major audience attrition, but popular music and places like Brit have actually seen major audience expansion.

You know, we were just talking about things like inflation. We're not seeing that, having the kind of impact on popular music ticket sales that you might be seeing in other things. And I think that's [00:18:00] attributed to a couple of things. But I would say my, my impression most strongly is that, People were cooped up for a year and a half, and all of us really wanna get out and be in community and really experience live music and live performance.

Again, it's such a fundamental part of being a human being. And so everybody is really happily coming back to Britt and we're having a wonderful summer.

Alice Lema: Oh, I'm so glad. So during the break we were chatting a little bit about the lineup that you've had this year and also some of the artists that are coming in the months ahead. Why don't we talk about that?

Abby McKee: Sure. Yeah. So we launched June with just an All-star kind of situation. Quite literally an all-star situation cuz we had Ringo Star in his All-Star band. Which was incredible, incredible. I think Ringo's turning 83 this year. Wow. He would not believe it from his stage presence. I mean, at the end of the show he literally got up and did jumping jacks in front of it, in front of the crowd, which was incredible. We [00:19:00] also had the legendary Diana Ross, who's 79, who also, killer show., 55 degrees in pouring rain, and yet all of us were having the time of our lives dancing and singing along and really incredible. And then we just had Kelsey Ballerini, who's just this really like shooting star, rising star in the country world. Incredible show, like 95% women out at Brit, which was really fun and wonderful and exciting to see.

Guy Giles: And yeah, it's like right now all the dudes are outnumbered. Here we go. Should guys dominating as it should. I, I'm a with daughters, so that kinda stuff. Do you guys have also had, another thing we talked about was a ton of people in town as far as all these, I'd say people, that's all I wrote down on my notes was people, but, but you guys were doing it

Abby McKee: yeah, so the Britt Festival orchestra is actually the oldest kind of component of Britt, that's been going for 61 years. It was what started Britt music in our test. [00:20:00] Yeah. And, and we bring in, we self-produce that, so we bring together an orchestra of about a hundred people. And they come here for three weeks every summer.

So we are bringing in a hundred folks to live in Jacksonville for three weeks. So the economic impact of that is huge. And of course the artistic, input impact is enormous.

Guy Giles: Dude, that, that, that's super cool. So it is not just like playing music out on the street corners.

Abby McKee: No. It's a real legit orchestra.

Guy Giles: That's cool.

Abby McKee: We actually, my, my favorite thing that we have done so far personally was we had the orchestra play, live to picture the score of the Princess Bride while we showed the movie. My God. And it was packed. It was, what a great idea. So fun.

Alice Lema: One of the best movies ever.

Abby McKee: It is. It is a perfect movie. It's a perfect movie. Yeah, holds water. Awesome.

Alice Lema: And so for folks who have not been to Brit, it's an outdoor amphitheater. You can have a glass of wine, a piece of cheese. You can sit on the lawn. They do [00:21:00] have benches if you don't wanna sit on the grass, but it's absolutely fabulous and the lineup is usually really, really good. But this year it sounds like you knocked it out of the park, Abby.

Abby McKee: Well, thank you. And you know, I think, I think the park is really what I, what makes it so special. For those who grew up in Oregon. I did not. But for folks who grew up in Oregon, you know, you studied Peter Brit in your fourth grade or third grade classes, Peter Brit was an incredible human being who has had such enormous impact in Oregon. Just for example, he was a painter and a photographer. He planted the first wine grapes in Oregon.

And Peter Britt is the reason we have a wine industry. I didn't know that he planted the first pears in this southern Oregon area, which we all know is a huge history. And Peter Britt actually took the photos of Crater Lake that were submitted to Congress, which then led to Crater Lake becoming a national park. So he was an incredible person and we're actually literally in, what is his backyard? We're on the grounds of, what was his [00:22:00] homestead?

Guy Giles: So, well, I'm terrible. I did not, I did not know all that stuff.

Abby McKee: Yeah, well, you know, the Virginian is schooling you.

Guy Giles: No, we it's, it is funny cause I, I've been reading a book, actually, I need to give you a copy of that. Where Past Meets present and he is a local author and he writes all about here. We're talking about I think 1910 or 1919, there was more cars here than anywhere in the country just because there was so much money with the pears and there, or in the world. Like I said, per capita, there was more cars per person than than anywhere else. And in southern Oregon, it all had to, yeah, it all had to do with the pears.

Alice Lema: Well, and it's, it is such an amazing place to live. And it's interesting because we were joking during the break that, brit is one of the reasons people actually buy homes here. But it's true. Having that culture, like you were talking about in an agricultural community in a smaller town, folks who are coming from bigger cities really don't feel like they're giving that urban access to music [00:23:00] and concerts. You know, and those kind of arts.

Guy Giles: Well, and for us, you know, country boys coming out of Butte Falls, you know literally, I remember going the first time kicking and screaming. Yeah. Just like, really? You're gonna take me to there? And the same thing with Shakespeare.

Alice Lema: Oh, did you, did you think of it as like a fancy pants thing?

Guy Giles: Yeah. I didn't know what the heck it was gonna be, and I got out there and I just absolutely loved it. And this was a long time ago. I won't date myself too bad, but it was, I, I just remember working all day in the heat. And, and this girl dragging me to the Brit and I thought, oh my gosh, this's gonna suck.

Alice Lema: Yeah, we're so lucky time. So lucky. So Abby, you just have been here for a year. You really just jumped in with both feet. How did you get so many big stars to come to our little area? Just one year out of the box. Well, I'll tell you, we have such an incredible team at Brit. Mike Sturgill has been our director of programming for, I think about, I, I think since like 1997 or 1998.

And so he knows this [00:24:00] industry backwards and forwards and has built these amazing connections, and he's been an incredible thought partner. So the two of us really have talked about every act that's coming through and have really been looking at, one of the things that I think is so special about Britt is that we very deliberately serve the broadest possible demographic.

So we wanna make sure that there are options for people who like country music, for people who like jazz if we have that opportunity. Jazz has been a little tough for the last couple of years. But people who like classical, people who like indie rock people, who like the classic rock. But then within each of those genres, we also wanna think about the different age groups that we're serving.

So for example, we've got this really wonderful lineup this summer that includes Ringo Starr and Diana Ross and George Thurgood and Buddy Guy. And that is like four different genres of music that serve the baby boomer demographic. But then we're also looking at sort of the Gen Zs and we're looking at artists like Tosh [00:25:00] Sultana and Gregory Allen Isikoff that really speak to a younger demographic as well. Because we wanna make sure that we're drawing the broadest possible community to Brit. So it's a jigsaw puzzle.

I never put all that much thought into it, but you're right, it always has been. So he's done a great job too. A, as far as that goes. Cause it always is a huge mix. You know, I remember seeing, I'm more of probably a country guy, Scottie McCurry out there. Yeah. Years ago. And, and you're right, you're not, you're not gonna be like country, country, country. It's gonna be a little bit of everything. So that's, that is actually really cool. And I hadn't even thought about that.

Abby McKee: One of my favorite things to see out there is night to night you'll see a radically different audience on the hill. So for example, last year we had, One night we had the Happy Together tour, which was a kind of an older baby, baby boomer demographic. It was sort of contemporaries of like the monkeys. I can't remember the, any of the bands that were on that. I think The Turtles, I can't remember who. And, but, but, so that was, that was an audience that was from that age range when that music was on the radio. [00:26:00]

And then the next night we had the band camp, and the average age dropped about 40 years, and that audience was crowd surfing. And so it was really interesting because you're in the same place, right? But you're seeing a whole different group of people come through. And I think that's so special because all of those groups think of Brit as their own place. And that's really, I think, such a, such an important thing. That's what we call creative placemaking. And I think that's just so crucial.

Alice Lema: Well, I think that's partly what makes us all feel lucky to have the Brit. And I didn't realize how deliberate the breadth of the acts that you're trying to bring in was so that that is really, really appreciated.

Thank you. . And it's, it's funny cause I'm sitting here listening to all these different people that I've never heard of. And again, this is why we're so lucky to have you because we can be introduced to new things. Which a lot of people think of only being possible in a big city.

Abby McKee: Well, and you know, there's statistics [00:27:00] around when do we as, as human beings, when do we stop listening to new music? And it's quite young, statistically.

Alice Lema: Is it really?

Abby McKee: It's like somewhere in our early twenties overwhelmingly people, people stop listening to music that is new to them after that time. And I think that's a very generalized statement. But what I love about an organization like Brit is it's a great place where you can trust us that you're going to have a good time.

Yeah. And come to a show maybe you don't know anything about, you know, close your eyes. Swirl your finger around and pick one on the calendar and just come give it a shot. And for me, you know, I'm, I'm not in my early twenties anymore by a couple decades at this, so I feel like this has kept my brain so much more engaged cuz I get to listen to new music to me all the time.

Alice Lema: Oh. And it's good music, you know, that's the other thing is it's all really good, good music. Yeah. So we're talking to Abby McKee the president and of our local Britts. Music and Art festival and also Guy Giles [00:28:00] Mutual of Mortgage. And we're gonna have to get another sponsor word in here. Sorry we've got so much to talk about with Abby and Guy, so don't touch that dial. We'll be right back. And we're brought to you by John Scott, Ashland and Medford, Guy Giles of Mutual Mortgage and our local Rogue Valley Association of Realtors. I'm Alice Lema. I'm your host of the show. Do not touch that dial. We'll be back in just Jiffy.

Hi. Hi everybody. We're back, the real estate show and we're talking to Abby McKee, the president, and CEO of Britt Music and Art Festival. Abby, this is such a fun conversation. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the artists and why do they, why did Diana Ross and Ringo Star come to Southern Oregon, what's in it for them?

Abby McKee: You know, it's a great question. There are a couple different factors here. And I'm, I'll start with the most pragmatic and kind of, [00:29:00] you know, move to the, move to the kind of more emotional pieces. So pragmatically speaking, we are in the sweet spot here in southern Oregon where we are outside of the circles of exclusivity for San Francisco and for Portland.

So let's imagine you're a band that's on tour and you're driving up I5. You don't probably want to do the drive from San Francisco to Portland in one day and do two, two shows back to back. So you probably wanna stop somewhere. And all of us, when we book these shows, we say you can't play another show within a radius of a certain number of miles.

Alice Lema: Right. Oh, I didn't know that.

Abby McKee: Yeah. Yeah. Cuz you know, you want people to be able to drive in to come to your show, you wanna sell tickets, you wouldn't wanna have something right here and Grant's Pass, that would be crazy. Right. So, so we're in the sweet spot in between those different circles of exclusivity, and that is huge for us because it means that not only do we get people on the way, but Brit is also a very intimate venue.

I think that's one of the things that [00:30:00] makes it super special. We only have 2200 seats to offer, and that means also our budget is really different. We also, as a nonprofit, we're a 501C3 nonprofit, so we work to keep our ticket prices reasonable for, for people who live here. But what that means is we're not able to write these mega offers that artists might be able to command in big cities.

So we are really in this magical little halfway point where artists might wanna have a date that kind of stops them between those two big metro areas. And this is a perfect place geographically and they're happy to negotiate a fee that works for us. So we're really, really lucky in that way. So I, that's the very pragmatic answer.

Guy Giles: I think they could probably settle down and just have fun.

Abby McKee: That's the other thing for a day or two. Yeah. They love coming here. They love coming here cuz you know, let's say they're on a tour bus. The tour bus pulls up at 7:00 AM. They've been in the tour bus all night sleeping, cuz they had a [00:31:00] show the night before.

So you're leaving San Francisco, it's 11 o'clock at night, you get on your tour bus. Yeah. The driver drives you and then you pull up in this parking lot, you've never been here before. It's seven o'clock in the morning. The gate, the, the bus doors open and suddenly you're at Brit. Probably deer running around.

There's fawns and the people are nice. You know, and, and you're in the hills. The air smells good, hopefully if it's not smokey. Yeah. And then you walk into the backstage area and the first thing that happens is Karen Parker meets you. While she is hand scrambling eggs to order for the breakfast.

Alice Lema: Wow. You, you guys are awesome.

Abby McKee: It's awesome. So from there, you know, you have the sound check and we have possibly the best sound system on the entire west coast. We have a million dollar sound system that's provided to us by George Wellis. It's a Meyer Sound Panther system. It is [00:32:00] awesome. It is. Awesome. And George has been with us for 42 years.

So he knows exactly what he's doing. He knows how to make that hill sound like more than a million dollars. Yeah. So you are suddenly in this beautiful place. The sound is incredible. You are very well fed, and then you have the afternoon to kind of do whatever. So maybe you wander downtown in Jacksonville and you go buy a book at Rebel Heart Books. And then you wander across to Happy Alpaca and maybe you buy your niece or your nephew or one of your kids an adorable thing to take home as a souvenir, right?

And then you wander down to the farmer's market. Kelsey Ballerini actually went and bought goat milk soap at the farmer's market. She talked, oh, that's so cool. So you're in this magical place and then you walk back up the hill. And then you have your show. And the thing that's so special at Brit is that the hill is this really steep hillside as we all know.

And so even though it's only 2200 people, when you're on the stage, it feels like everybody's [00:33:00] right there. And when you get a roaring crowd, that's that steep of a rake right there in your face. It sounds like you're in an arena.

Alice Lema: But it's also very intimate. Fun.

Abby McKee: Yeah, it's super intimate. And so people love Britt. People like Michael Franti, who's been coming here, I think for 20 years, 20 consecutive summers. This is a home base for him.

Guy Giles: And you know how many concerts here? You go down, go down to in LA or something, and you're, you're outside. But. You can't see the stars.

Abby McKee: No, you're far, far, far away. Yeah. But you can, I, I mean the stars. Oh, the stars. The actual, like the ones we have,

Guy Giles: I mean, be able to look up and maybe see those. Yes. You were in the middle of a concert too, so it's, it is really cool and it's super special. I feel super blessed. You know that you came in about the home loan and I was just like, we gotta have her on the radio for sure.

Abby McKee: No, thank you.

Guy Giles: Just to kinda talk. Well, you're just natural. You can talk too, which is cool.

Abby McKee: Got the gift gab? Yeah, I got the gift of [00:34:00] gab. The gift of gab? Yeah. Got it. From my granddad.

Guy Giles: Oh, that's cool. But but so, so you, you. When you initially came, I mean, it was a, it was a job posting. Yeah. You didn't know about the area, you didn't know about anything.

Abby McKee: I knew nothing.

Guy Giles: And then, yeah. What, what sold you on coming to just Southern Oregon?

Abby McKee: So, there was a moment, I, I actually had to do most of my interview on Zoom because it was the end of the pandemic time, right. And so I was, I was a candidate who'd never been in the area. And so they flew me down, Brit flew me down for one morning interview.

And it was like a Saturday morning. So I flew in Friday night and stayed in Jacksonville, but it was dark when I arrived. It was like March or February I think. And the next morning dawned, walk up to the hill and then, you know, you're just like in this idyllic setting, right? And met two board members, walked around.

Went down to Good Bean Coffee . And had coffee for a while and then just experienced the walkability of [00:35:00] Jacksonville, which is so special. And then I was sort of left to my own devices for the afternoon and, and the board members were like, maybe you should just take a drive a around and check out the area.

And there was this physical sensation, so I was driving down I five. I was gonna hit Ashland just to check it out and I'm driving like past the Talent exit. And suddenly just the hills are like unfolding in front of you and it's a beautiful, sunny, beautiful, clear day and then a hawk swoops by.

And I was like, are you kidding me? Yeah.

Alice Lema: And that could have easily been an eagle as well. Yeah. Yeah. The wildlife here is amazing.

Guy Giles: Till you get your house and get your chickens, and then you see that hawk and then you're like, whoa.

Abby McKee: And that's why the chickens get their own house as well.

Guy Giles: They actually had a bald eagle come in.

Have you guys just seen more bald eagles this year than, I mean, they seem to be here now [00:36:00] and I mean, it's, it's been really, really cool. They've been hanging out in my field, believe it or not. Yeah. I don't know what it is, but it just, it almost surprises me here. Yeah. As far as you know, I mean, if I saw moose then that would just be like.

Abby McKee: Are there, are there?

Guy Giles: No, we don't, don't, there are in Oregon and the Upper East side, there's a couple moose. No. Yeah. Believe it or not. Yeah. Not, not here, not down here. They're having some now I'm just saying. But it would be the absolute perfect place. It would be, yeah. If they, if, if we got some moose down here. So get that done. That'd be cool.

Alice Lema: Well, Abby, we would love to have you back on the show, maybe at the end of the Brit season and you can tell us how everything went. So thank you so much and thank you Guy for being on the show. Again, the broadcast will repeat tomorrow, Sunday. Same station, KCM X FM 99.5, and you can listen to Abby McKee, the President and CEO of Britt Music and Art Festival and Guy Giles from Mutual of Mortgage. Thanks you guys for being on the show.

Guy Giles: No [00:37:00] problem. And we're on YouTube someplace, aren't we? Also?

Alice Lema: We are. We are.

Guy Giles: Eight seconds to go.

Alice Lema: Okay. All right, everybody have a beautiful Southern Oregon weekend. Hug those you love. Bye now.

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