Ravinia Festival: A GO for 2021

Ravinia Festival: A GO for 2021
Gate 1 entrance. Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

Let the music begin  

Ravinia Festival announced today that it will be reopening for 2021. The 2021 season will be a little shorter than past years with opening day set for July. In addition, the fest will embrace safety regulations pertaining to COVID-19. But its signature mix of classical, popular, and chamber music programming will be on tap.

Ravinia President and CEO Jeff Haydon, who is presiding over his first season at the festival, said, “Ravinia believes that music and the arts are an essential part of the personal, artistic, and economic recovery from this past year. Our 36 acres of outdoor space provide the perfect setting for a healthy and inspiring experience for all of our guests. The experience will be a little different than in the past, but our science-based approach to carefully reopening the park puts safeguards in place so that audiences can again enjoy live performances.”

Safety First 

All concerts at Ravinia this summer will take place outside in the open-air Pavilion and on the lawn.

The Pavilion will have a reduced audience capacity, and be offered with reserved-in-advance, distanced seating.

The number of artists on stage will also be reduced, in order to allow for proper distancing between performers.

Dining facilities will be evaluated with safety in mind with specifics TBA


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will return to Ravinia in July forits six-week summer residency. Conductor Marin Alsop will lead seven concerts with the orchestra in her first season as Ravinia’s Chief Conductor and Curator.

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association is proud of the long-standing partnership that has made the Ravinia Festival the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1936,” said CSOA President Jeff Alexander. “We are so pleased to be working closely with our colleagues at the festival to bring the sounds of the orchestra back to Ravinia this summer, and are looking forward to concerts taking place once again in this beautiful setting.”

“The musicians of the orchestra appreciate Ravinia’s commitment to the great tradition of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s summer residency,” said CSO Members’ Committee Chair James Smelser. “We look forward to performing live concerts at our beautiful summer home.”

The Lineup

The full lineup of 2021 concerts will be announced in late April along with the protocols for attendance. The Ravinia  website will feature the latest information.

The Steans Music Institute

The Ravinia Steans Music Institute (RSMI) will also return to the festival grounds this summer, with its fellows from 2020 participating in person this year in its programs for jazz, chamber music, and voice. RSMI has made appropriate modifications to accommodate a collaborative and healthy environment for its young professional musicians. RSMI concerts will, as always, be livestreamed on YouTube, but this year will also be broadcast to the Lawn, as there will not be public audiences inside Bennett Gordon Hall.

About Ravinia Festival

Ravinia, the oldest outdoor music festival in the country, was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the worldwide pandemic and close the park for the first time since the Great Depression. In lieu of a live season in 2020, Ravinia produced RaviniaTV, a weekly variety show webcast on its YouTube channel, featuring interviews, musicians at home, community features, and performances from the storied venue, and From the Vault, a series of streamed archival performances by RSMI fellows in previous seasons.

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