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Let’s Go North to Ravinia

It is always a treat to visit the North Shore to go to Ravinia in Highland Park. There are options to reach the park from the South Side, other than driving—a transportation jewel is the Metra train that takes you right into Ravinia Park, with little care or concern.

In years past, I have seen Aretha Franklin, 50 Cent, Al Green, Mary J. Blige, The Spinners and many other cultural icons at Ravinia.

This year’s lineup is no exception, with a great choice of artists, from all music genres.

Ravinia President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon recently announced Ravinia Festival’s complete 2024 summer lineup, offering 60 artist debuts and more than 100 concerts ranging from rock/pop, R&B, classical, jazz, and country, to movies with live orchestra, dance performances, Fiesta Ravinia, and more. The season runs from June 7 to September 15.

Summer 2024 also features the annual six-week summer residency by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) with Chief Conductor Marin Alsop and a range of classical offerings from solo recitals and chamber music to semi-staged opera and dance.

“With an extraordinary range of concerts and artists, we are excited to offer an inspiring and captivating season for everyone who comes to Ravinia,” said Haydon. “Whether in Bennett Gordon Hall, Martin Theatre, Pavilion, Lawn, or Carousel, concertgoers will surely experience the spirit of summer with incredible music under the stars.”

The CSO’s annual six-week residency is from July 12 through August 18 and features three weeks of special programs with distinguished guest conductors.

Among programming, on July 19, Conductor Ted Sperling joins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with special guest vocalists to celebrate two iconic pop songwriters, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.

The Breaking Barriers Festival, which began in 2022, to spotlight and celebrate women in classical music, will return this year—with a focus on music in space.

Other highlights include Ben Platt, Samara Joy, Violent Femmes, Big Boi, Abel Selaocoe, Gaelic Storm and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Returning favorites are James Taylor, Trombone Shorty, Norah Jones, Mavis Staples, The Roots, Little Feat and Los Lobos, The Beach Boys with John Stamos, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Gipsy Kings, Joffrey Ballet, and many more.

Reach Teach Play hosts second National Seminario Ravinia: Orchestras For All, a gathering for more than 100 students from El Sistema-inspired programs from around the world on July 7-11.

Jazz in June: Battle of the Big Bands featuring Adonis Rose & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra* and Orrin Evans & the Captain Black Big Band*, with special guests Kurt Elling and Rufus Reid, plus Ravinia Steans Music Institute Jazz Fellows.

The student and professional musicians of the Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program, one of the Reach Teach Play programs, open the night on the Carousel Stage – June 16.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Big Boi* and Danielle Ponder* – June 19.

Because of You starring Michael Feinstein and the Carnegie Hall Big Band in A Tribute to the Legendary Tony Bennett – June 23.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper* – June 27; Carousel Stage.

Norah Jones and very special guest Mavis Staples – July 14.

Victor Wooten & the Wooten Brothers – August 7; Carousel Stage.

Samara Joy* – August 25.

James Taylor & His All-Star Band –June 8 and 9.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss and JD McPherson* on the Can’t Let Go Tour – June 12.

Violent Femmes* play their debut album in its entirety with Chicago Philharmonic and conductor Stuart Chafetz* – June 21.

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band and Clint Black – June 30.

Daryl Hall and Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Charlie Sexton – July 6.

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Angélique Kidjo and Meshell Ndegeocello* – August 8.

Robert Glasper* and J. Ivy* – August 14.

The Roots, Digable Planets*, and Arrested Development* – August 24.

ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd on The Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour – August 29. * indicates Ravinia debut.

The festival is located about 20 miles north of Chicago at Green Bay and Lake Cook Roads in Highland Park, Illinois. This summer, remote parking will continue to be consolidated in downtown Highland Park; park-and-ride buses will cycle, as needed, to and from the park on concert days.

All seats in the Pavilion are reserved. Patrons can bring picnics or choose from a selection of in-park dining options. The Ravinia Market offers a selection of festival favorites and popular beverages. The Café will be open on all concert nights and will offer coffee and an assortment of ice cream, as well as grab-and-go snacks, among other options.

Visit the website at for the most up-to-date programming, seating information and protocols. Tickets go on sale to the public on April 24. You can also call the box office at 847-266-5100 between Noon and 4 p.m. to order tickets.

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