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Sara’s Diary, Day 50 without baseball: Ravinia is cancelled

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Summer in Chicago is going to be a lot different this year

Billy Corgan performs at Ravinia in 2014
Photo by Gabriel Grams/Getty Images

It’s hard to beat Chicago in the summer. There always seems like an endless stream of baseball games, food truck festivals, movie nights at Grant Park, and concerts. After all, Chicago is home to a Blues Festival, a Jazz Festival, Riot Fest, Lollapalooza, and, of course, the Ravinia Festival.

Ravinia was founded in 1904. It has hosted concerts during both World Wars and the 1918 flu pandemic. Today Ravinia cancelled their entire summer calendar for the first time since the Great Depression.

I imagine this will be the first of many cancellations and I feel tremendously sad about it even though it’s the right thing to do given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Music has so much power to heal as the ongoing concerts many artists have been streaming from home demonstrate. It is a cruel irony that the healing power of music under the stars will not be an option in 2020.

This short video showing people enjoying Ravinia and just being together last August seems impossibly far away right now:

I’m honestly at a loss for words today. The COVID-19 pandemic has already taken so many lives and wrecked havoc on the livelihoods of millions. That pain is acute and avoiding it has to take priority. In the grand scheme of things Ravinia, and all the other festival cancellations that will surely follow is small, but there is something about this piecemeal destruction of everything people look forward to that is painful in a dull and lasting way.