Ravinia Festival hopes to have two major park improvements ready for concert-goers during the 2018 and 2019 summer seasons, including an interactive museum with a classical bent.
The Highland Park concert venue is proposing to add the experiential exhibit space, known as the Ravinia Music Box, for the 2019 season. An outdoor dining veranda overlooking the park would be added in 2018. Both improvements are aimed at attracting younger audiences, particularly millennials, and reversing the declining audience for classical music.
During summer concert seasons, the Ravinia Music Box would be free to ticket-holders and open to visitors who sometimes arrive hours before the concert is scheduled to begin. The new building would be located in the northwest corner of the park.
“It will be a value-added music experience that we hope will entice all of our audience members, especially kids and families,” said Welz Kauffman, Ravinia’s chief executive officer, as he explained the proposed improvements to a city of Highland Park commission on Feb. 21.
“This is not just designed for classical concert nights, but also very specifically for non-classical evenings,” said Kauffman, noting that audience members arriving early for non-classical concerts often are looking for something to do.
During the off-season, the center would be available to school groups and for other pre-arranged visits.
Kauffman said Ravinia has been working for 10 years with…