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Ravinia, which bills itself as America’s oldest music festival, is one of my favorite venues in the Chicago area. It’s a Metra ride away from downtown, it’s surrounded by nature, there are stars overhead a la the enchanted ceiling of Hogwarts and – let’s be honest – there’s wine.

One of the best ways to celebrate Chicago’s too-short summer is a magical night out on the Ravinia lawn, chowing on a fancy picnic while listening to live music surrounded by other fans (and sometimes, real talk: mosquitoes).

I’ve seen Ravinia diversify its offerings over the years in terms of genre, branching out from classical and mainstream oldies to pop, R&B and even hip-hop to attract younger folks and people of color, an effort that’s reflected in this year’s calendar.

You can bring your own food and beverages or sample the park’s restaurants, ranging from small plates to full-on meals. I was first introduced to the wonders of single-serve boxes of wine at Ravinia (aka adult juice boxes), and outdoor festivals have never been the same.

If you have tickets on the lawn, you’re welcome to bring your own furniture or rent chairs and tables while you’re there. Rentals benefit Ravinia’s education programs and reservations are recommended. Contact: (847) 266-5060. If you bring 10 or more guests, you’re eligible to contact their party planners for decor, furniture and menus. Call: (847) 266-5087.

For all of you festival-loving Chicago feminists out there, here’s a rundown of female artists performing at Ravinia in 2018. You can see the full festival schedule here. New this year for ticket sales: June and July concerts will go on sale on Tuesday, May 8, and August and September concerts on Thursday, May 10.

Eds. Notes:

  • We’ve listed the show start times. The gates generally open to the public two hours or more before this listed time.
  • This calendar has defaulted all shows to two hours, which might not be accurate depending on the performance.
  • The Ravinia Park Metra stop is a seasonal offering off the Union Pacific North Line.
  • Lawn ticket price generally increase $5 or more on the day of the concert, so it pays to buy early.
  • Pro Tip: Bring bug repellant (see above).

See you this summer!

Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's...