So I'm in a restaurant the other day with a few friends. We're making some small talk over dinner and the subject of Ravinia comes up. I'm asked how we're handling the "killer mosquitoes" that they've heard are closing down the park for the summer. Had a good laugh over that one. First of all, Ravinia is not shortening its season, which begins June 4, come bugs or high water.
Northern Illinois, including Ravinia, is about to be invaded by the 17-year periodic cicada. Lots of them, apparently. We don't know exactly how many, and we don't know exactly when, but we know it's a large brood that will hatch sometime from May through June. There are entire websites devoted to them.
Now, we've been dealing with the occasional hazards of an outdoor festival for over a century. We've made a couple of tweaks to the schedule, like using the Martin Theatre a little more in June, or starting the CSO's season in July. Sure, cicadas can make a little noise, and we're sensitive about that at a music venue. But they're completely harmless to man, beast and foliage. I've heard all ranges of plagues rumored to be descending upon Ravinia: locusts, bees, mosquitoes, wasps, termites, tsetse flies, and--my personal favorite--scorpions.
We don't expect the cicadas to be more than a minor nuisance, and a quick check of the calendar will tell you that we're not closing the park or opening any later than normal. We're an outdoor festival; sometimes you deal with what nature tosses your way.
Looking forward to seeing you here.