Ravinia Releases A Stunning Summer Lineup
Stevie Nicks will play Ravinia Sept. 9 and 10, photo via her website
When we were kids, Ravinia was the place you went with the adults to hear boring music while sneaking glasses of wine on the lawn. Of course "boring" is a relative term—my first show there was Philip Glass and that wasn't exactly a snooze—but the general sense of the venue was that it was where rich old people went to hear music.
Over the years the programming at Ravinia has increasingly broadened in scope, introducing more of a pop sensibility without sacrificing the classical and progressive sounds that the venue has built their reputation on. In our estimation the tipping point might have been a few years ago when Feist played Ravinia, and suddenly hipsters from all over the city were introduced to a new kind of concert experience ... and they also learned that a Metra ride to Highland Park isn't really all the far away.
Since then we've been more and more impressed with how the schedules have grown more ambitious and this year is no different.
This year a number of acts are making their Ravinia debuts, and some
are quite the surprise, including Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp, Common,
Pentatonix, Lila Downs,TLC,
Alanis Morissette, John Butler Trio, Andrew Bird, and Sammy Hagar(?!).
Retruning are some familiar favorites including Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Darius Rucker (Hootie!), and Sheryl Crow. And we are intrigued by the news that The Moody Blues will be there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their orch-rock masterpiece Days of Future Passed.
There have also been a number of intriguing double-bills announced for the season, with some truly interesting pairings. These include John Legend and Gallant, OneRepublic and Fitz & the Tantrums, Michael Bolton and Gladys Knight, and Garbage and Blondie. But really, you had us at Michael Bolton and Gladys Knight.
We are also excited that Seu Jorge will be appearing to present The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie as well. We have a real soft spot in our hearts for that outgrowth from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou soundtrack.
And the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will continue their summer residency at Ravinia, including tributes to Lords of the Rings and La La Land. Other classical groups you can expect to see include the Lucerne Symphony, the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
And that really is just the tiniest sampling of what to expect from Ravinia this summer. You can pore over the full schedule here and start making plans with friends for a few lovely summer nights enjoying some outdoor music.