The Ravinia Festival 2017 schedule is released. It is loaded with a slew of star-studded names slated to perform on the Highland Park stage.
Let’s go through the checklist before we travel to the country’s oldest outdoor music venue: Blanket: Check. Bottle of wine: Check. Cheese cubes: Check. Picnic basket: Check. Fantastic live tunes: Of course! We all do a little celebration dance when the Ravinia Festival 2017 schedule is released because that means summer is just around the corner.
Last year, the Highland Park staple was blessed to feature legendary performers such as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Train, O.A.R, Chick Corea, Seal, Diana Ross, Duran, Duran, Ramsey Lewis, Seth MacFarlane, War, Los Lonely Boys, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Buddy Guy, Frankie Valli and so many more.
This year we get a little bit of the old, and a little bit of the new. Usually, Ravinia tends to throw a couple surprises our way throughout the season. The Highland Park fest runs from June 8-September 17.
With this list of performers, you wish Ravinia would allow you to camp out on their grounds, but alas, that won’t be the case.
Mark May 9 on your calendars for when tickets to the 2017 season go on sale. Donors to the not-for-profit festival get access to tickets as early as March 22.
Here is a full list of highlights as we reveal the Ravinia Festival 2017 schedule.
Saturday, June 10; 7:30 p.m.
All of you? Or all of me? Whoever it is ‘all of,’ Ravinia gives you the ‘Green Light’ to ‘Get Lifted’ and excited as John Legend performs on the Highland Park stage. The Ivy League grad (University of Pennsylvania) will be on his Darkness and Light Tour. Legend is not just, ‘Ordinary People,’ as he has earned 10 Grammy Awards in his career.
Thursday, June 15; 8 p.m.
Everyone is still in shock and disappointment that we lost the legend, the Star Man, Ziggy Stardust himself: David Bowie. Brazilian musician Seu Jorge provides the soundtrack of Bowie throughout the entire 2004 film of ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ directed by Wes Anderson (Jorge also played Péle do Santos in the flick). Celebrate the legend’s life and times as Jorge beautifully performs the Bowie favorites in Portuguese.
Saturday, June 17; 8:30 p.m.
The diva queen of soul returns to Ravinia: Aretha Franklin. Franklin has won 18 Grammy Awards, sold over 75 million records and has been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1987. Don’t get stuck in a Chain of Fools. Head to Ravinia and show Ms. Franklin some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
La La Land in Concert
Sunday, June 18; 8 p.m.
George Stelluto and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra celebrate the complete film score of ‘La La Land.’ This film received six Academy Awards including Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Dean Richards, entertainment critic for the WGN-TV Morning News and WGN Radio will lead a pre-concert discussion at 7 p.m.
Common (Ravinia Debut)
Saturday, June 24; 7:30 p.m.
One of Chicago’s most well-known and respected rappers, Common will perform for the first time on the Highland Park stage. The three-time Grammy winner most recently nabbed an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his track ‘Glory’ featured in the 2014 film ‘Selma’ (which also featured John Legend). The Chi-Town emcee just released an album called ‘Black America Again’ in late 2016.
The Beach Boys and The Temptations
Sunday, July 2; 6 p.m.
This one is the motherload. The Temptations and the Beach Boys, two prominent American 1960s boy bands, come together for their Surf & Soul Tour. The two bands toured together in the 2014 edition of Ravinia and they’re back again to make us dance again to ‘I Get Around,’ ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone,’ and so many more hits. Between the two bands, they have netted 12 Grammy Awards (Temptations 7, Beach Boys 5). Both bands are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Friday, July 7; 7:30 p.m.
Since the release of her seven-time platinum debut album ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’ in 1993 (winning three Grammy Awards), Crow has released nine more projects (many charting in the Top 10, four of them platinum-plus). Crow has won nine Grammys in total and is currently on tour with her newest released effort ‘Be Myself.’
One Republic, Fitz & The Tantrums and James Arthur
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15; 6:30 p.m.
This trio of performers will be a treat. OneRepublic is known for hits such as ‘Apologize,’ Fitz & the Tantrums, known for ‘Don’t Gotta Work it Out,’ and season nine winner of ‘X Factor’ James Arthur are performing for two nights.
Blondie and Garbage
Saturday, July 22; 6:30 p.m.
At the dawn of the new wave era, Blondie helped push punk onto the dance floor building a catalog of enduring pop hits along the way. The band continues to inspire the world of music; frontwoman Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein have collaborated since 1974. Post-grunge, alt-rockers Garbage won fans and acclaim around the world with their hit songs ‘Special,’ ‘Stupid Girl’ and ‘When I Grow Up.’
Sunday, July 23; 7:30 p.m.
Andrew Bird is an American musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He also is originally from Lake County as he grew up in Lake Forest. Bird was initially known through his work with the ska band the Squirrel Nut Zippers before forming Bowl of Fire. He is now best known as a solo musician. Bird’s primary instrument is the violin, but he is also proficient at other instruments including the guitar and the glockenspiel. Opening for the former Lake County resident is spectacular jazz musician Esperanza Spalding.
Friday, August 4; 8:30 p.m.
Tony Bennett returns to Ravinia (the day after he turns 91). The 90-year-old legend has released over 70 albums, sold 50-million records worldwide, won 19 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award) and earned two Emmy Awards. Watch him sing the greats like ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco,’ ‘Rags to Riches,’ ‘Because of You,’ and so many more hits.
Saturday, August 5; 7:30 p.m.
After successful years performing as the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman, Darius Rucker went solo and continued to flourish in the country scene. Rucker has taken home two Grammys – one with Hootie and the Blowfish and one as a solo performer. Rucker will be joined by Radney Foster.
Friday-Saturday, August 11-12
‘And it’s just like the ocean under the moon, that same emotion that we get from’ Carlos Santana. Santana is a 10-time Grammy Award winner, no. 15 on the Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Guitarists list and is still entertaining audiences with his psychedelic rock. Spend an evening with the living legend as he continues his Transmogrify Tour at Ravinia Festival for two consecutive weekend performances.
Leslie Odom Jr.
Fresh off his Tony Award (Best Lead Actor in a Musical) winning performance as Aaron Burr in the Broadway hit ‘Hamilton,’ Leslie Odom Jr. makes his way to the Highland Park stage. Odom recently released his self-titled solo album and it was at one point ranked no.1 on the Itunes Jazz Charts.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Lord of the Rings in Concert Friday-Sunday August 18-20. (Other performances throughout the summer)
For three days, Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform the entire score of the Lord of the Rings saga at Ravinia, conducted by Ludwig Wicki. The movie will play in the background as these overtures are performed by some of the most talented musicians in the world. The concert series will stretch for three days.
Friday, August 25; 8 p.m.
Alanis Morisette ruled the 90s with the release of her awesome album, ‘Jagged Little Pill.’ The former child actress turned dance-pop diva, Morissette transformed herself into a confessional, alternative singer/songwriter. ‘You Oughta Know,’ that you have to bring the friends out for a great night of music.
Monday, August 28; 7 p.m.
The winners of the 2011 show ‘NBC the Sing-Off,’ Pentatonix make R&B, pop and electronic-infused acapella music. Along with their original material, the group is widely known for their medley-format song covers. Their work is characterized by pop-style arrangements with vocal harmonies, bass lines, riffing and beatboxing.
Gladys Knight & Michael Bolton
Friday, September 1; 7 p.m.
Hear the sounds of Motown as Gladys Knight performs. Known as the Empress of Soul, Knight recorded legendary hits (as lead songstress of Gladys Knight and the Pips) including ‘Midnight Train to Georgia,’ ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ and ‘Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye).’ The Grammy Award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame diva is paired on the ticket with Michael Bolton. This is a must-see show!
Franki Valli and the Four Seasons
Friday, September 8; 8 p.m.
Valli and the Four Seasons are one of the best-selling musical groups of all time, having sold an estimated 100-million records worldwide. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. The band has also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 with 25 different hits. Their success inspired the Broadway hit and Tony Award-winning musical (and later film), ‘Jersey Boys.’
Friday, September 15; 8 p.m.
For 43 years, William Robinson (a.k.a Smokey) has written, sung and produced renowned contributions to popular music. The Motown vice president has scored a plethora of top 10 hits as a solo artist and as the lead singer of the Miracles. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was awarded the 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for his lifetime of achievements in the music industry. Robinson tallied three Grammy Awards in his solo career and four as a member of the Miracles. It’s set to be a memorable evening as the sound of Robinson’s falsetto resounds through the Ravinia speakers.
Other Must-See Shows at Ravinia Festival Schedule 2017
- Lila Downs
- The Stars of the Peking Acrobats
- Michael McDonald
- Booker T. Jones
- John Mellencamp
- Lifehouse & Switchfoot
- Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac
- Los Tigres del Norte
- Concert Dance Inc.
- Pacifica Quartet
- TLC, Biz Markie, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, O-Town, All 4 One and Snap!