Spotted: Brett Anderson from The Donnas

When I tell people I work at Ravinia Festival, their reply is almost always either Can you get me Carrie Underwood tickets? or, I bet you have a lot of stories about what goes on backstage. For the former, the answer is always impossibly 'no'. For the latter...

Some rockers go hang out backstage with friends or family, some go to their trailers and get some much needed rest, but on Monday night during the Pat Benatar set, Brett Anderson, lead singer of The Donnas, stepped out into the park sans bodyguard or security, and chatted casually with fans (for quite a long time). I think the totally unplanned moment gave our security a bit of a shock as I saw them peek through the artist gate to check on things. But the best part of this spontaneous interaction came when she obliged to take a picture with me... 

Lesson learned from this chance encounter: if you are not prepared for the unexpected, you end up with a blurry camera-phone picture, which your friends may or may not believe to be photoshopped.

Thanks again, Brett!

One of our resident photographers snapped some great photos of The Donnas on stage and uploaded them to our Backstage Gallery. If you have a story or photos from your own encounter with someone making a 'Ravinia cameo', email us at backstage@ravinia.org.

Matthew Dolkart
Development Writer


Guest Blog: The Kids Love Ravinia!

Recently we received a submission to Backstage@ravinia.org from a family that exemplifies a bit of the 'Ravinia Experience'. The Maites family has not only made it out to many shows this summer, but they have done so in style! Alan Maites sent us these photos with the subject line The Kids Love Ravinia! We think little else needs to be said for this Guest Blog photo feature which shows Ellie and Sara Maites enjoying the BoDeans, Joe Cocker and Steve Miller Band from Ravinia Festival's lawn.

If you have a story or photos to share for our blog, we'd love to hear from you! Please send submissions to backstage@ravinia.org. When sending photos, please include the dates of attendance and any applicable caption.

Matthew Dolkart
Development Writer


From the Archives: Happy 105th Birthday, Ravinia Festival!

On this day in 1904, Ravinia Festival opened its historic gates for the first time. The A.C. Frost Company created 'Ravinia Park' as an amusement park to lure riders on the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railroad, the park boasted an electric fountain, a refectory or casino building with dining rooms and a dance floor, Ravinia Theatre (which still exists today as the Martin Theatre) and a baseball diamond.

For this week's From the Archives, we went way back in the files, dusted off a few folders, and found the flyer from opening day 1904! Opening night included a performance of "Vivian's Papas"--a play from the era written by Leo Ditrichstein--by the Powers Theatre Chicago.

"No intoxicating liquors sold or allowed to be used in the park." ...I think we changed that policy.

Happy 105th birthday Ravinia Festival!

If you have your own piece of Ravinia Festival history or memorabilia, please share it with us at backstage@ravinia.org.

Matthew Dolkart
Development Writer


Ravinia Pic of the Week

My pic this week is not an object or perspective of the park, rather, the people that enjoy it. This photo captures Ella Jenkins (one of the greatest children's performers of all-time) with the Sugar Strings Trio in Ravinia Festival's National City Bank Private Dining room. In the background we see balloons and some of the action from Ella's 80th birthday party hosted by Ravinia Festival. Her warmth and excitement for children is unparalleled and I was glad to see her having such a great time.

Don't forget to check out the Backstage Gallery for more Ravinia Pics of the Week.

Russell Jenkins
Manager of Graphics and Photography 


Planning on Picnicking at Ravinia? Consider Bringing Something for the Food Drive.

Did you know Ravinia Festival accepts donations of non-perishable food and toiletry items for local food depositories? You can bring your donations to the information booth near the main entrance of the park all summer long.


We will be collecting at every concert.

Ravinia attendees who bring in donations will receive a raffle ticket (one per patron donating) for the chance to win lawn passes, tickets to upcoming performances or items from Ravinia Gifts. Each week one winner will be drawn and notified.

A small donation from each patron can lead to a big impact on the food depositories, which are in great need of supplies.

• fruit, canned
• dried beans
• peanut butter
• jellies and jams
• Kosher-style foods(like potato pancake mixes, canned fish)
• milk, canned condensed
• oil—corn and vegetable
• pasta sauce
• tomato sauce
• refried beans, canned
• tuna, canned
• cereal
• cookies
• crackers
• flour
• cornmeal
• macaroni & cheese
• oatmeal
• pasta, dried (angel hair, spaghetti)
• potatoes (not fresh)
• long grain rice (not instant)
• sugar
• coffee
• tea
• juice—all types 


• soap—laundry and personal

• shampoo

• aluminum foil

• toothpaste, toothbrushes

• diapers


We do hope that when you pack your picnics, you consider packing a little something extra for the food drive. Thank you for your consideration and your help!


Matthew Dolkart
Development Writer

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