Ravinia, the summer-long music festival in north suburban Chicago, has rolled out its 2013 season schedule with plenty of fanfare — and a few surprises.
Predictably, the most popular bold-face names on the bill are dominated by veteran performers like Sting, Tony Bennett, Sheryl Crow, Journey and Brian Wilson (who, for legal reasons/a spat with Mike Love, can't officially perform with his old band mates as "The Beach Boys").
(See the major acts announced for Ravinia's 2013 festival lineup below.)
Younger acts like Josh Groban and St. Vincent, playing with David Byrne, mix with the more long-in-the-tooth artists, while hip acts like Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings add freshness to a (usually very white) lineup that skews heavily toward the contemporary crowd.
There's also a small crush of alt-rock and pop bands, mostly from the '90s, many of whom would be considered past their sell-by date, that have been jammed together in odd configurations: Sugar Ray sharing a bill with Smash Mouth and Vertical Horizon (remember them?).
Maybe Ravinia is on to the "Nickelback Effect" and booking these groups knowing they'll still draw a crowd. After all, the Highland Park fest typically boasts an annual attendance of more than 600,000 people.
Despite the proliferation of rock shows, Ravinia's real gem has long been its classical music programming, and the 2013 lineup is no different. Lovers of Mahler and Vivaldi can hear masterpieces — played by top ensembles like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — at a fraction of the price of a ticket in the city.
Ravinia tickets are available at the festival's website, in-person at the box office starting May 18 or by phone starting May 20.