When 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.
After 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.
"There's nothing like sharing Ravinia with a thousand of your closest friends!"- Jen Luby, Ravinia Associates Board Member and Chicago in White Co-Founder #FromTheLawn Chicago in White took over our lawn on August 8th for Ramsey Lewis’ debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and it was a night to remember!
"We’re a family oriented bagpipe band out of Chicago and we were founded in 1926 by a few fellows who escaped from Ireland and lived along the banks of the River Shannon. They brought with them their culture and we try to pass that on as best we can to any place that we go to. Plus the CSO's here playing the Scottish Symphony’s for God’s sake! We gotta go see these fellas - they’re good!” – Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band #FromTheLawn
"The Under The Sun tour is here at Ravinia, one of the most beautiful venues in America. We’re here to remember some old memories and make some new ones with bands like Better Than Ezra, Sugar Ray, Eve 6, and Uncle Kracker. It’s an honor to be here again - thank you, Chicago, and thank you, Ravinia!” – Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray #FromTheLawn