Creating The "From The Lawn" Hashtag

Kevin: It was all his bright ideaWhen I was offered an internship at Ravinia this summer, I was overjoyed. Having been a longtime Ravinia customer, I was drawn to this place because it’s not just a concert venue—it’s an experience. It’s a place where people from many different walks of life come to lighten the weight of their troubles, connect with loved ones, and share in the experience of some of the world’s greatest music. It’s this experience that I set out to capture with my proposed social media campaign, #FromTheLawn.

The idea was simple: I would get quotes and portraits of Ravinia customers on the lawn and they would be posted onto social media using the hashtag “#FromTheLawn.” Being a newly hired intern, I wasn’t exactly prepared to speak on this concept to a room full of seasoned Ravinia employees but, lo and behold, that’s exactly what my supervisor asked me to do. So I did and, to my surprise, they instantly took to the idea.

Some members of the Communications team testing out the new frameAfter weeks of brainstorming we landed on what would be a simple, fun, and effective execution of #FromTheLawn. Rather than just taking photographs of people, we decided it would be more fun to have them hold up a giant Polaroid-like frame, something they could pose and interact with. Our awesome designers got to work, and within a week the good people over at Signs Now in Highland Park had it printed and ready for the 2015 Ravinia season.

We kicked off the project by photographing Ravinia CEO Welz Kauffman holding up the frame and used this to introduce the idea to our followers on social media. It wasn’t a week later before the season started and I was stepping out onto the lawn with a camera, a pad of paper, and giant white frame under my arm looking to capture the Ravinia experience.

Over the past four months, I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing so many unique, diverse, and loyal Ravinia customers and performers. Whether it was a young couple in love, a group of friends who have been coming here for years, or Ramsey Lewis surrounded by the love and support of his family, their thoughts, stories, and joy echoed the very sentiment that brought me here looking for an internship.  

As the 2015 Ravinia season came to an end, I found time to reflect on the #FromTheLawn campaign and compiled a list of some of my favorites from the season.


When Chicago in White, a pop-up dining event, hosted its gathering at Ravinia, I was there to capture it. This picture was (unintentionally) taken right as the clock hit 7:00—the cue for participants to start twirling their napkins in celebration!


As if the CSO performing Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony wasn’t enough to transport us all from Highland Park to the Highlands, Chicago-based pipe band The Shannon Rovers was there to help start the journey! I hurried over to where they were tuning and snapped this photo just before they started their march around the park.


I heard these ladies laughing before I saw them. When I approached them to take their picture, they lit up and jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t get a chance to stop back and visit after the show started, but I can only imagine they brought the party!


I had just finished shooting for the day and was in the office uploading the photos when someone told me that a couple got engaged out on the lawn. I quickly gathered my things and ran back out to capture the excitement. Their joy was undeniable, and I was so happy to talk to them on what Tim called “the greatest night of his life.”


How could I possibly have walked by these ladies without stopping to talk to them? These adorable best friends won the hearts of literally thousands of people on Facebook and the quote that I pulled from our conversation was only a glimpse into the love they expressed for one another.


With the Under The Sun Tour coming through Ravinia, I decided to reach out to Sugar Ray’s management to see if Mark McGrath would be willing to pose with the frame. They loved the idea and Mark was kind enough to take the time to not only pose, but express his love for Ravinia, the bands on the tour, and all the great fans that were there to “remember some old memories and make some new ones.”