Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team
Happy Memorial Day Chicago! It’s time to mark your calendars with street festivals, rooftop cocktail hours and of course, the sounds of summer. So grab a group (and in some cases, a bottle and a blanket) and experience a concert in the city before the curtain closes on summer.
Still Going Strong
Chicago’s acclaimed Grant Park Music Festival, led by Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and Chorus Director Christopher Bell, opens its historic Gala 75th season on Wednesday, June 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the state-of-the-art Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The opening night concert features Maestro Kalmar leading the GRAMMY®-nominated Grant Park Orchestra and internationally-renowned pianist Stephen Hough through Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Key’s patriotic Star Spangled Banner, as well as one of classical music’s greatest hits, Pictures at an Exhibition composed by Modest Mussorgsky.
All Grant Park Music Festival performances are free to the public. Open lawn and pavilion seating are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Season memberships to the Festival are available, starting at $80 for a specific night of the week (all Wednesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays) or $135 for a season-long membership for all 31 concerts. Reserved group seating is also available for most concerts. Membership and group sales information is available by calling 312-742-7638 or by visiting the Festival’s website at http://www.grantparkmusicfestival.com The summer series is short, so catch one before the season ends on August15th.
Ravinia’s 2009 season presents a diverse lineup of more than 120 events from June 5 through Sept. 19, with 38 debuts, more than 25 free or specially priced events and over 135 guest artists and ensembles including the summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra featuring Ravinia Festival Music Director James Conlon. Guest artists include Lang Lang, Pink Martini, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Ramsey Lewis, George Hearn, Jackson Browne, Thomas Hampson, Patti LuPone, Christoph Eschenbach, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Diana Krall, Juilliard String Quartet, Joe Cocker, Susan Graham, John Legend, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Bonnie Raitt, David Hyde Pierce, Carrie Underwood, Matthias Goerne, Elvis Costello and many others.
Tickets to Ravinia events are now available online at http://www.ravinia.org/. Orders are also being accepted now by fax at (847) 266-0641 or through mail by sending a printable online order form and payment to Ravinia Festival, P.O. Box 896, Highland Park, IL 60035. Phone orders at (847) 266-5100 and walk-up sales are accepted throughout the season Monday-Saturday10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays and holidays (closed July 4) 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Ravinia Festival is located at Lake Cook and Green Bay roads in Highland Park .
New Kid on The Block
It may not have the history of the Grant Park Music Fest or Ravinia, but Lollapalooza quickly became a legendary festival with a huge following. The third annual GALApalooza, benefiting Parkways Foundation and produced by C3 Presents, will be held Thursday, August 6that 6 p.m. at the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park. The concert space is transformed into a lounge-like atmosphere prior to the Lollapalooza festivities. While crews are making final preparations for the legendary festival, GALA-goers will enjoy a chic, open air cocktail party with outdoor lounge seating, an intimate and creative dining experience, and a concert featuring Lollapalooza artist Vampire Weekend, whose self-titled album was dubbed the 10th best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone Magazine. GALApalooza and Lollapalooza will be their only U.S. shows this year. Chicago sensation Hey Champ, who is opening for Depeche Mode on the Lollapalooza main stage, will take the stage to treat guests to a l set. In addition, GALApalooza features sounds from DJ White Shadow, performances by Park District Kids, and a silent auction and raffle featuring priceless VIP experiences.
The James hotel is offering a special overnight package on August 6 which includes two general admission tickets to GALApalooza, overnight accommodations in a king guestroom, and valet parking at The James Hotel. Rates start at $579. For more information or to book this package visit http://www.jameshotels.com/.
Lounge experiences are available at the $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000 level and single tickets are available for $150. For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to make reservations, please call Alison Krzys , Director of Communications for Parkways Foundation at 312-742-4807 or visit http://www.parkways.org/.