The Ravinia Festival in Chicago is one of the city’s lesser-known music events. It gets overshadowed by Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival in terms of publicity. But the Ravinia Festival is an event that lasts all summer long and features some of the biggest names in music.
The 2010 Ravinia Festival boasts an impressive lineup. Here’s why you should pay attention to the festival.
Ravinia Festival Chicago: Background
Ravinia claims to be the oldest outdoor music fest in North America, dating to 1904 when the site in Highland Park was established as an amusement park. Over the years, fire and the economy sent some buildings into disrepair, but new buildings were constructed and the festival persevered.
A significant renovation took place in 1970. During the 1990s, emphasis was placed on featuring a number of jazz and world music acts. The main performance area currently features a seated pavilion area and a lawn area in the back.
Ravinia Festival Chicago: Statistics
According to the festival’s website, in 2009 the Ravinia Festival brought in $26.1 million, eclipsing the previous year’s record of $25.4 million. This actually left the festival in the red, as organizers spent $26.8 million on securing talent and daily operations. But thanks to a strong festival endowment fund, the event is healthy despite the one-year loss.
The sizable budget allows the Chicago music festival to secure big-name talent. The fest presents between 120 and 150 events each year and attracts more than 600,000 visitors in total.
Ravinia Festival Chicago: 2010 Highlights
Unlike Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, which are 3-day events held over one weekend, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago is held over the course of four months, with one concert held nightly.
Ravinia Festival tickets range in price depending on the performer and whether patrons purchase pavilion or lawn seats. Smaller music events and some orchestra shows are entirely free, while big-name rock shows can cost upwards of $50.
The most exciting artist on the 2010 schedule, from a music critic’s perspective, is brilliant Mexican instrumental guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who will perform on August 28. The duo leaves jaws on the ground with their lightning-fast hands, exciting original songs and impressive acoustic covers of classics by hard-rock bands like Pink Floyd and Metallica. Lawn tickets for Rodrigo y Gabriela start at only $16.
Other big names on the bill: Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Nelly Furtado, Sting (two shows), and the Beach Boys. As well as the Backstreet Boys – who knew they were still performing?
Ravinia Festival Chicago: Schedule for 2010
The entire 2010 Ravinia Festival schedule can be found at www.ravinia.org. Here are some of the many highlights for the 2010 season.
June 5: Vince Gill
June 6: Earth, Wind and Fire
June 12: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
June 13: Sheryl Crow & Colbie Caillat
June 17: Backstreet Boys
June 20: Jethro Tull
June 25: Moody Blues
July 1: John Hiatt & Levon Helm
July 10: Cheap Trick & Squeeze
July 14: The Swell Season
July 17: Sting
July 18: Sting
July 21: The B-52s
August 7: BoDeans
August 8: The Temptations & The Four Tops
August 21: Counting Crows
August 22: Crosby, Stills & Nash
August 28: Rodrigo y Gabriela
August 29: Carrie Underwood
September 1: The Beach Boys
September 3: Nelly Furtado
September 4: Train
Ravinia Festival Chicago: Summary
The annual music festival held in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park has something for everyone. In addition to the shows listed above, the festival hosts children’s events, Beethoven concertos, tribute bands and much more.
Ravinia Festival Chicago: Sources