Ravinia 2012

The Ravinia schedule was announced yesterday, and the line-up is much more mainstream than it’s ever been. Eclectic, sure, but mainstream.

For a music fan–especially a rock fan, going to Ravinia can be a less than ideal experience. As I mentioned in Off the Record Collection, “the volume is much quieter at Ravinia than all other outdoor rock venues. That’s what you get for dropping a live music venue in a pricey suburban ‘hood.”

Beyond that, there’s the suffocating North Shore social aspect of it all. If you’re stuck on the lawn (and seriously, don’t believe your friends who insist that it’s the best way to do Ravinia), you become immersed in a world of competitive picknicking, wherein Highland Park and Lake Forest denizens arrive hours before show time to lay out elaborate wine and cheese spreads, completing the vibe with candles and tablecloths.

The good news is, despite the fact that the volume at Ravinia is clearly lower than … any other venue, the sound mix is usually tops. Furthermore, the pavilion is small enough to create a fairly intimate experience. There’s enough interesting stuff going on at Ravinia this summer that I’m considering giving it another shot. Specifically:

Earth, Wind & Fire with Ravinia Festival Orchestra – Saturday, June 9

Al Green and the Chicago Childrens’ Choir – Friday, June 15

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers – Sunday, June 24 

Duran Duran – Wednesday, August 29

I love Dr. John, too, but he’s opening for Iron & Wine. I can’t see myself sitting through an Iron & Wine show for any reason, and that unfortunately includes Mac Rebennack. Right Place, Wrong Time.


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