Mary J. Blige returns to Ravinia Festival 

MARY J. BLIGE. (Photo courtesy Ravinia Festival)

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, MSJ

There have been many guests at Ravinia Festival this season, and still on the bill, among others, are Queen Latifah appearing on August 31; Guitarist Lenny Kravitz on September 7 and R&B superstar “No More Drama” Mary J. Blige appearing on September 13.

Blige is set to perform at 8:00 p.m., and tickets range from lawn at $60 to pavilion at $135 to $145. Blige performed fan favorites at Ravinia last year that included “Real Love,” “My Life,” “I’m Going Down” and “Not Gon’ Cry.” Her concert this year promises to be just as entertaining, and if she breaks out in her signature dance, it will be well worth the ticket.

MAXWELL BELTS OUT a song while most audience members sing along during his recent concert at Ravinia Festival. (Photo courtesy Ravinia Festival/Patrick Gipson).

In the meantime, to warm up R&B audiences, the alluring Maxwell graced the stage last month and gave the women such a great show. Well, there were men in the audience who immensely enjoyed his performance, as well.

Maxwell’s background singer came onto the stage and he slipped one of my favorite songs—”Pretty Wings”—in right off the bat. The undeniable, irrefutable swagger of Maxwell was set on an ultra-high level.

TWO ATTENDEES ARE all smiles at the Maxwell concert at Ravinia Festival. (Photo courtesy Ravinia Festival/Patrick Gipson).

He enthusiastically performed other songs, including “Bad Habits,” “Fortunate,” “Lake By The Ocean,” “Sumthin, Sumthin” and “Simply Beautiful,” which I first fell in love with his rendition during a tribute to Al Green.

It was a great concert in a great venue—which is known for myriad genres of music, including classical, jazz, blues and rock.

There are more acts due to perform before the season ends on September 14 at Ravinia Festival, which can be enjoyed in the pavilion or in lawn seats (where people can enjoy good food, drinks and community within a picnic setting). For those who would rather purchase food on the premises, Ravinia features the Lawn Bar, Ravinia Market, 847 Burger, Pizza Classico and Smokehouse 1904, which offer a variety of food options to please all palates.

Ravinia is located in Highland Park on the North Shore, with easy access from the Edens Expressway. The easiest and more stress free way to travel there from the South Side is by Metra. The first trains going back into the city are coordinated to leave the station about 15 minutes after the concert ends.

More information about artists, prices and performance dates, as well as the dining options available at the venue, located at 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park, IL, can be obtained at

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