Ravinia cost me my faith in mankind!

Ravinia cost me my faith in mankind!

Last night I had my first experience at Ravinia. First and foremost, the performers, Idina Menzel and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, are two acts that I was so excited to see. I was super happy that I could see them perform together at Ravinia.

The CSO is absolutely wonderful. They are near perfection when it comes to playing music, and I cannot wait to see them again.

Menzel, though also fabulous, was sick. So while it was wonderful to see her in concert for the first time, it could have been better. Regardless, I give her total props for coming out and performing while not feeling well. Even sick that woman has a voice, and I hope she graces Chicago with her presence again.

Unfortunately, the concerts are over and there is no point in rehashing them. The part I want to talk about is how people act at Ravinia.

It is a concert hall. It should be all about joy and happiness. People go there to get lost in the music, or at least that is what I thought. Apparently they go there to act a fool.

The first incident was this horribly rude and vulgar woman who kept harassing the staff because she lost her membership card. She was yelling, screaming, and throwing out so many curse words that I thought I was at a wrestling match.

At one point, when a Ravinia employee was trying to explain to the woman that she should have held on to her card, but he could reprint it for a fee, she replied, "How am I suppose to know to hold on to it? I do not work for you guys."

He told her that it said on the letter that arrived with the membership card that she would have to show the card to get the special perks. Of course, she had a response that.

"Why should I have to read," she said. "I don't work for you guys."

I kid you not. "Why should I have to read?" Are you freaking kidding me you crazy lady?

At that moment, my faith in humanity died just a little. I did not think people that stupid existed in public venues of culture. Of course, you know that it just got worse. Unfortunately, there was another group that had to cause a scene.

As we were entering with our general admission tickets, the special members admission area was being closed off. There was a group of people standing at the members gate as the Ravinia workers kept yelling that the gate was being closed and all visitors now had to enter through the general admission side. For over five minutes the Ravinia employees kept yelling that the gate was closing, yet this group just kept talking.

So, of course, as I went to hand the employee my tickets, the group decides to try to enter the gate. When they are informed that the early admission for members is over, they become hysterical. They start yelling and screaming at the employee, who I felt so bad for.

After waiting for a few minutes while they tried to calm these people down, I finally got my tickets scanned. As I was walking away from the gate, the group was still yelling and screaming that they should get in early even though they are late.

Now when I say these people were yelling and screaming, they were seriously yelling and screaming. They were acting a freaking fool. I was embarassed for them, and everybody around was talking about these people. How could they not know people were judging them for their ignorance?

Do not get me wrong, I have acted a fool in public, but I do not believe I have ever been as rude or as disrespectful to employees as these people were.

As a public service, if you are going to a concert to pick a fight, do everybody a favor and just stay home. The world does not need to mess with you. You are an embarrassment to your family and your friends.

To the first lady that was causing a stink, your entire family walked away from you and just got in line. I hope you feel wonderful knowing that your children were horrified that their mother was such a raving lunatic.

To the second lady, your outburst made an entire group of people bust out laughing at you because you were upset that you could not get early admission because you were late. Do you even know how stupid that sounded?

Anyway, that is how Ravinia cost me my faith in mankind. Hopefully, I will meet some sane people that can restore it. Until then, thanks for reading my rant.

Be sure to read more about mankind on my Facebook page. You can get to there by clicking here.



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  • What you experienced is typical Ravinia behavior. We have never been to a show there that didn't include a bunch of spoiled, entitled adults acting like toddlers. We haven't been back since Millenium Park opened. We find the crowds to be more polite and engaging at the Pritzker Pavilion. Every time we go we find engaging "neighbors" who are happy to have our children play with theirs or share information about the show/performers/music, etc. I cannot think of a single performer who would ever draw me back to the overpriced, overhyped mess that Ravinia has become.

  • And let me just say, I grew up with Ravinia as my backyard (my parents still live on Green Bay Road) and have had wonderful experiences there going back 40 years. There are always a few bad apples.

  • How close did you come to whipping out your cell phone and start videotaping? Would have loved to see this behavior.

  • I used to visit Kenosha often and absolutely dreaded being on the train with Ravinia crowds after a show. While I'm glad that they weren't driving (many of them were drunk), they could be profoundly obnoxious. Ugh.

  • In reply to Lainie Petersen:

    I'm fascinated that after any concert there, I get multiple emails from Metra that the train is delayed 30 minutes or more due to crowding.
    Exactly how does it take 30 minutes to board the train?

  • It's a smaller percentage of the audience, but my experience at Ravinia is that just a couple of folks can ruin the experience. Here's an abstract of a 1990 column I did when I was a Sun-Times columnist:

    Especially rich is the "Benedictus" in the "Sanctus," where a single violin, at once an instrument and a voice, rises above chorus and orchestra in an achingly sweet song of love and praise, followed by the soloists and the chunky lady in the red sweater near the water fountain who couldn't keep her yap shut. All evening, it was: "Benedictus, qui venit yak yak yak." And "Credo yak in unum yak yak Deum."

    Someone suggested that if I was serious about the music, I should sit in the pavilion. But even there, a constant murmur of talking often drifts in from the lawn. And besides, why should I have to pay extra to exercise a right that Ravinia management says I have on the lawn - to hear the music without distraction. Ravinia posts signs and distributes leaflets politely asking lawn patrons to be quiet during performances. And you may ask security guards to tell offenders to shush. Or you can ask the offenders yourself, if you want a war.

  • Overall, its been an alarming trend in the majority of the concerts I've been to as of late. My wife and I go to concerts quite often. And more often then not, there are grown adults, acting beligerantly due to inebriation or a lack of general decorum. Several times I've voiced my opinion because those around me have also found their behavior as obtrusive and obnoxious. A couple times I've even alerted security. To make matters worse, the concerts we attend are traditionally cater to a conservative crowd (Neil Diamond, Frankie Valli, Elton John/Billy Joel, etc). Being in my early 30's, its very disconcerting to see adults twice my age acting, as you stated, like ignorant beligerant children, which we've seen at most of the concerts we've attended. Its a shame. People, if you're going to act in a way that's offensive to others, go somewhere else. We all paid good money to see these wonderful shows - if you're there to heckle or make a fool of yourself, you're wasting your money and ours as well.

  • It is an odd often rude crowd. In the Pavilion surprisingly most folks get to their seats late after the show has started. In general this is a restless crowd, leaving their seats and returning often. God knows why. We're adults, SIT DOWN! Way too many distractions. Love the venue but too many times people get testy, too many aggravating factors, weather, alcohol, crowded and out of shape adults dragging way too much stuff around....

  • When was the concert? Saturday? I think all those rude self-centered folks could have been the same people who were on my flight home!

  • Well, sad to say that this is now more of a common occurrence then ever before. There was a time when the Ravinia crowd was a fine mix of art appreciators from every walk. People would come to get away from the stressful overcrowded venues and raucous city events. Eventually, Ravinia became more of a reflection of the changing demographics and nouveau riche mentality of the northshore. The type of women that you encountered are sadly reflective of the very people who now populate many of the northern suburbs, especially Northbrook and Glenview. That type of behavior and attitude is played out at Starbucks, restaurants, retail shops, and even gas stations all along the area. For some reason, these people, many who are second generation wealthy or who never worked a day in their lives, equate high culture and society with how rude and snobbish one can be.

    Unfortunately, I will not bring my family to that locale anymore as it is a poor example of what can happen when small minded insulated people obtain large levels of wealth. Don't blame mankind, just the groups that somehow feel that they are above humanity.

    Believe me, there are plenty of venues to attend that these people wouldn't feel comfortable visiting, yet still provide a high level of quality shows.

  • I agree with all of the previous comments. Ravinia used to be a lovely place to enjoy. Couples used to enjoy dinner on the lawn and it was an evening to remember for its concerts under the stars, elegance and serenity. It's very sad to see this happening and quite honestly, the management should be more hands on and eject people or deny further use of their season tickets if anyone in their group acts up. The world is really changing and not for the better. I did not grow up privileged but through the gentle loving kindness of my Italian mother I learned to appreciate the arts such as wonderful music, opera and quality film. I was also taught to act like a lady and treat people with respect. I'm happy to say my children are teaching their children these same lessons and I am blessed to have two wonderful children and two of the most beautiful (inside and out) grandchildren ever created. I am truly blessed.

  • My last couple of trips to Ravinia have been for more of the popular/rock/blues concerts and it has got to the point where it's simply not enjoyable.

    I had never been until the mid-90's and things seemed more under control but the last 5-6 years are more rowdy, more "vocal" and more disturbing. It's just not worth struggling to sit in traffic lines for long times or having to take the "drunk" train.

    So all points valid here in my eyes.

  • Like Jimmy said, whip out your cellphone, record the idiots making fools of themselves, post it on YouTube and let their friends tell them where they saw them doing what. Nothing like your friends telling you you're an international YouTube idiot that everyone has seen act out.

  • many people drink alcohol which is a disaster

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