Ravinia Festival 2012

Outdoor concerts are a summer tradition almost as old as picnics in the park. That's what makes the Ravinia (located just north of metropolitan Chicago, in Highland Park) so special: it combines both experiences. The Ravinia is known for its consistently well-rounded music schedule as well as its ability to appeal to families, friends and dates.

Last week, the Ravinia announced its 2013 programming and -- as per usual -- it's a packed schedule with more than 100 performances between June 6 and September 15. 

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a yearly resident at the Ravinia, playing a variety of shows and arrangements with various guest performers throughout the summer. However, if your musical preferences don't fall in line with classical, there's much more for you to check out.

For the Good Ol' Country Twang Fan

One of the most notable names on the Ravinia's roster this summer is age old country icon Willie Nelson (playing July 14). Alabama brings their band to the stage on August 30. And, though you'll likely recognize the name from his success in the classical genre, Yo-Yo Ma is bringing his new bluegrass project, The Great Rodeo Sessions, to town for their Midwest debut (on August 18). 

For the Daisy Rockers

The Ravinia boasts a particularly strong female singer/songwriter lineup this year. Jewel (June 16), Melissa Etheridge (June 29), Sheryl Crow (July 19) as well as the Indigo Girls (June 9).

For the Matured Rock & Rollers

Remember how wild rock concerts were when you were younger? The crowds, the booze, the volume. But eventually we grow out of it. Would you like to know a secret? Your favorite bands do, too. Luckily most of them aren't over performing. Catch acts like Journey (August 21 & 21), Heart (July 29), The Go-Gos & The B-52s (June 30).

For the Old Souls

Classic singers and musicians like Sting (June 7 & 8), Brian Wilson (July 26) and Tony Bennett (August 22) play the Ravinia this year -- setting out to prove that some songs only get better with age. 

For the '90s "Kids"

I don't get it. Sometimes I catch people making fun of the out-datedness of '90s music, but you can't tell me that there's anyone under the age of 40 out there that can hear Smash Mouth's "All Star" on the radio and resist singing along. Here this and other '90s hits when Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Vertical Horizon and others play the Ravinia on July 20. And if that peaks your interest, you might also want to check out The Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20, co-headlining the venue on July 2 & 3. 

For the full Ravinia 2013 schedule, check www.ravinia.org.

RELATED: Best Music Festival of 2013 

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