Guest blogger, David Lauterstein, shares an incredible story from Ravinia's 1964 season:
In June, 1964 Bob Dylan played an acoustic concert at Ravinia Park in Highland Park, Illiinois. Ravinia's an outdoor venue with reserved seating under a bandshell and most of the concert-goers sitting out on extensive grassy lawns.
Even before Dylan came on, I was filled with the excitement and optimism so common in those days - feeling the world change for the better right in front of our eyes. Next to me an immigrant man and his grandson sat and he pointed with glowing eyes to Dylan as he walked onto the stage..."Look, my dear grandson, here is someone who will help make this world a better place."
Right after the concert began, rain began pouring down and Dylan called for everyone on the lawn to come in out of the rain and under the bandshell to stay dry. People ran in from every direction – like rain. There was a celebratory energy in the liberated crowd which now sat in every aisle and every space.
During his third song, Dylan broke a string.
He yelled out, “Anyone out there have a string or a guitar?”
I was 16 then and carried my guitar everywhere. So I walked up to the stage (my friends shouting, "Lauterstein, Lauterstein!") with my guitar – a beautiful Martin Dreadnought - and handed it to him.
He started his next song.
He said, “If this song’s no good, it’s the fault of this guitar!”
When he got done, he said, “This guitar’s better’n my guitar!”
Needless to say, my already uncontainable excitement overflowed - the entire concert was an ecstatic experience, especially for me, but certainly for the whole crowd. And Dylan played the rest of the concert on my guitar.
To this day, pride and excitement well up in me that Bob Dylan played a whole concert on my guitar on that liberating night during that world-changing time in history.
Come on people - let's keep on doing it! Singing, playing, working and changing the world for the better!