Ravinia has canceled its 2020 summer concert season for the first time since the Great Depression due to the coronavirus pandemic, the music venue announced Friday.
"Our lengthy and thorough discourse on this topic has brought us to the conclusion that it is impossible to move ahead with the season," Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman said in a statement.
The outdoor venue in suburban Highland Park was scheduled to hold more than 120 events between June and September, the festival said, including the annual summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
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Among the major artists also slated to perform there this summer were John Legend, Jesse & Joy, Andrew Bird, Calexico, Iron & Wine, Train, The Beach Boys and The Australian Pink Floyd Show. Some artists have canceled their entire 2020 tours, Ravinia said, adding that the festival has worked with potentially re-booking performers in future seasons.
The summer conservatory, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, will also be closed this summer, the festival said. Ravinia staff were developing ways to give the musicians accepted into the program virtual opportunities, along with its lectures and classes for area elementary school students, online concert footage and more.
Ravinia is the oldest music festival in the country, the venue said, opening in 1904. This year's cancellation marks the first time the venue has not held its summer series since the Great Depression, when it did not operate from 1932 to 1935.
Anyone who purchased tickets can receive a refund or vouchers for future performances, or convert their ticket sale into a donation.
"The crisis created by the Covid pandemic has impacted so much of our lives in dramatic ways. Ravinia will do its part in helping the nation recover,” Ravinia Board Chair Don Civgin said in a statement, adding, "and we will celebrate that recovery with music under the stars next summer."