How to lawn seats at Ravinia?
August 1, 2018 7:41 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are seeing Ben Folds and Cake at the Ravinia Festival later this month. We have lawn seats. We've never seen anything at this venue; the last thing I attended with "lawn seats" was Ozzfest in the mid-90's and I doubt my experience there applies. How do we do this thing with style and grace?

From what I've heard from other people who have attended such shows, I have a vague notion of a picnic basket filled with cheese and wine, but I really have little-to-no understanding of the practicalities or what to expect.

What should we bring?

What shouldn't we bring? (aside from the list of prohibited items)

Chairs, food, and booze: rent/buy at venue or haul in?

When should we get there? The venue opens long before the show; do we need to aim to arrive on the early side so we can stake out a decent spot, or is the density low enough that that won't be a concern?
posted by jordemort to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Bring a blanket of some kind (or lawn chairs). Bring your own wine. They sell it there but we always brought it in (and they allow it, everyone will have wine/beer of their own). I'd get there a little early if you think the show will be very popular (like 45 minutes / half hour). I always took the Metra to Ravinia, which arrives at about 6:25 or so for a 6:30 concert, and never had trouble finding lawn space. It's a big lawn though, so if you want to be close you should arrive a little earlier.

You don't need to get anything there, but there are restaurants and shops if you want to get some food instead of bringing snacks. It will be much cheaper to bring your own alcohol if that's your plan.
posted by dis_integration at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Aww. Picnic basket filled with cheese and wine, plus a blanket, are what I remember from childhood concerts at Ravinia. I don't recall the chair situation, but I think people had them?

It's a lovely venue. Have fun!
posted by missrachael at 8:11 AM on August 1, 2018


If you were going to concerts in the 90s then you are at least in your mid-thirties, so you should definitely bring lawn chairs! I (late thirties at the time) went to my first lawn seating concert in years a couple of summers ago and my fellow concert-goers (early thirties) and I were all a little bit miserable sitting just on our picnic blanket for three hours!
posted by lunasol at 8:23 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've always found it much easier to rent chairs there. You can reserve chairs in advance.

Bring booze and food. Check the weather and bring a poncho if it might rain.

I'd strongly recommend taking Metra to & from Ravinia, since it can take quite a while to exit by car. Don't worry about the Metra schedule on the way back if you're heading to Chicago; they will have a train depart once the concert is over.

Be prepared for the lawn seats to be super fun but not an ideal situation to really appreciate the performers. Most lawn seats don't even have a line of sight to the stage, so you'll be hearing through speakers and seeing the performance on screens.

When you get in it will be super-crowded on the lawn near the entrances, but just keep walking on the grass and you'll find a spot.

Also be prepared for some truly epic picnic setups.
posted by bdk3clash at 8:43 AM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yes, lawn chairs, blanket, picnic basket, wine, cheese, grapes, the whole 9 yards. Some folks come with a goddamn picnic candelabra and picnic china sets, though that's more the older folks at the symphony. Definitely come early - it can get VERY dense and you'll want to find a good spot.
posted by coppermoss at 8:44 AM on August 1, 2018


Here's a photo of our view of the stage from our last Ravinia show.

Make a fantastic picnic.
posted by hwyengr at 9:18 AM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


I always go with just a picnic blanket -- can't be bothered with chairs! Generally I don't expect to be able to see anything from the lawn. I like to go for a mosey every now and then over towards the stage area, behind the seating, so I can look at the concert for a couple minutes and stretch my legs and then go pee.

People do bring crazy-insane gourmet picnics, but people also pack some PB&J sandwiches and apples and do that. You should pack what you like to eat, whether that's a brown-bag lunch type dinner or a fancy picnic dinner or wine & cheese. (I usually go with a group and everyone brings a sort of picnic-buffet kind of dish.) You may have to walk a long way carrying whatever you're carrying, so don't make it too heavy to lug with you!

I like to bring a large cutting board (or cheese board) so there's something stable to put things on, especially for cutting. And glasses that are hard to tip over! We always bring a little tealight candle, for the ambiance. Also, bug spray.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:48 AM on August 1, 2018


Mosquito repellant.

(I've always gone the simple route, but you will see likely see some serious spreads with china and crystal. Ravina is lovely.)
posted by she's not there at 9:39 PM on August 2, 2018


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