Ravinia, North America's oldest music festival, stands today as its most musically diverse, presenting over 140 different events throughout the summer. These concerts run the gamut from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend to the annual summer residency of the nation's finest orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The 36-acre park is nestled in a gently wooded area that makes it an enchanting place to experience music.
First opened on August 15, 1904, Ravinia remains the oldest and most programmatically diverse music festival in North America, attracting about 600,000 guests to over 120 events each year. It was conceived as a high-end amusement park—complete with music pavilion, dance hall, baseball stadium, theater, and electric swing—by the A.C. Frost Company to lure Chicagoans to ride its fledgling Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railroad to a respite in the woods, far from the heat and smells of a city known as the “hog butcher to the world.” Trains still stop at Ravinia’s historic entrance today, serviced by the Metra Union Pacific North line, making it the only private train stop left in Illinois. As Ravinia grew in popularity, summer cottages popped up nearby, and when the train company went bust, Ravinia continued to thrive under the leadership of a group of North Shore philanthropists who created the Ravinia Company, headed by Louis Eckstein. Today Ravinia operates as a self-owned nonprofit—the Ravinia Festival Association—still overseen by a volunteer board of business and community leaders, but now managed by President & CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon and a year-round professional staff of 55, with support from its active and insightful Women’s Board (established in 1964) and its Associates Board of young movers and shakers (established in 1988).