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Ravinia Festival

Ravinia Music Festival is a well known Chicagoland event. With professional music shows from world renowned performers, Ravinia is the pinnacle of culture and entertainment. Music buffs worldwide line up for tickets to the many specialty performances.

Performances for the summer are from June 3 - September 16.

Tickets can be purchased several ways:

By Phone
Starting May 21, 2006 by calling 847.266.5100
May 21-June 7, 2006 from 9am-6pm daily; 12pm-6pm Sunday
June 8-September 16, 2006 from 9am-11pm daily; 12pm-10pm Sunday

By Fax
Starting April 20, 2006 via 847.266.0641

By Mail
Starting April 20, 2006
Ravinia Festival Box Office
PO Box 896
Highland Park, IL 60035

If you go out to the sunroom of the Ravinia Guest House in Ravinia, Illinois, among the greenery and wicker furniture, on a day when the wind is just right, and it is the warm part of the year, and you are very lucky, you may just be able to catch part of a rehearsal for the Ravinia Music Festival, which is what Ravinia, Illinois is known for. Guests who have gone out there to enjoy a book or perhaps just the fine spring and summer weather have occasionally been pleasantly surprised at the gentle strains of music wafting to them. That is because the English Colonial House is only two blocks from Highland Park, where the festival is held each year from the first week of June until mid-September.

Ravinia, Illinois is a nice name, isn't it? It's not one of those names that you often see on maps, or anywhere, for that matter. This particular town has the distinction of not being named after a person, but of being named after the geological characteristics of the location itself. Ravines, of course. It is nestled within a ravine of Chicago's North Shore, and is thus named after that ravine.

Guests who have stayed at the Guest House in Ravinia, Illinois in order to experience the festival up close and personal have been pleased to discover that there are three separate concert venues—the open-air Pavilion, which seats 3,200, handles dance, symphony concerts and pop concerts. The Martin Theatre seats 850 and handles chamber music concerts and recitals. Bennet-Gordon Hall handles some dance recitals and workshops, as well as Steans Institute concerts. It seats 450. No one can say that Ravinia, Illinois doesn't know what to do with Classical and Jazz.

That means that Bennet-Gordon Hall is sort of an incubator for future Ravinia, Illinois festival musicians. The Steans Institute for Young Artists is the festival's professional studies program—or, rather, programs in the plural. There is a jazz program, a piano and strings program, a vocal program and a music theater program. No matter what your taste in traditional music, you are sure to find something in Ravinia, Illinois to make you glad you came. The faculty teaching the young Ravinia, Illinois performers are internationally known. They're learning from the best, and the fruits of their labors will be on display all summer long.

If you wish to have a seat on the lawn to enjoy the finest park in Ravinia, Illinois, you must buy a ticket, though it is not for viewing the concerts, but for enjoying the park and perhaps a picnic. This is to ensure the comfort of the guests. Bring your own drinks and food, but leave your cigarettes at home, as there is no smoking allowed inside this Ravinia, Illinois park. Other things not allowed are athletic equipment, including rollerblades, beer kegs, grills, pets and bicycles, among other things.

There is no need to leave the festival to shop for gifts and souvenirs. In fact, this year, in 2007, shopping at the Ravinia Music Festival in Ravinia, Illinois will be more convenient than ever before, as Ravinia Gifts now exists in, not one, but two locations. Buy Ravinia, Illinois gifts for music lovers, picnic lovers, and cooks who like to make magic in the kitchen. All profits go toward running the music festival.

Aside from the interesting story about being named after a ravine, there are many other interesting facts about Ravinia, Illinois. For one thing, it started as a tourist trap, way back in 1904. It's amazing to think that there were such things over a hundred years ago, but it's true. The A.C. Frost Company put an amusement park on the land in order to get people there so that the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railroad would have passengers. There were other things as well to keep the people occupied, such as a baseball diamond and a casino. But it's interesting that those things grew up to feed the railroad—the railroad wasn't routed to get people to the attractions.

There were, of course, performances for these fine patrons of Ravinia, Illinois and the residents alike. In fact, the residents really enjoyed them—so much, in fact, that when the railroad went bust in 1910, they became patrons and kept the performances going. The festival had its ups and downs through the rest of the 1900s, including the Great Depression, but it survived and is now the oldest outdoor music festival in the country at just over 100 years.