Ravinia’s 2021 pop concerts return, with Judy Collins, Willie Nelson and Gladys Knight

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After a dark summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ravinia’s 2021 season of pop music begins July 3 with two Chicago stalwarts — blues singer Shemekia Copeland and ’60s rock icons Ides of March

Tickets will go on sale in two phases, perhaps easing the long online waits of previous seasons. The two-phase sale also will enable Ravinia to update seating guidelines and any programming changes in the second half of the season. Tickets for the general public will go on sale on Ravinia’s website, ravinia.org, on June 16 for concerts between July 1 and Aug. 15, and on July 21 for concerts after Aug. 15.

For this summer, Ravinia will feature shorter concerts without intermissions, reduced capacity and later park openings prior to performances. All public performances will be outdoors, and all CDC and local health guidelines will be followed.

Seating in the Pavilion will be distanced and sold in groups of two or four. The South Lawn will require reservations, with distanced pods for two, four or six people with a video screen showing the performers on stage. On the North Lawn, there will be reduced capacity for general admission access with first-come, first-served seating.

Also new this season, all Metra trains on the Union Pacific North line will honor Ravinia tickets as train fares; patrons can show their concert e-ticket for a free train ride to and from the park on concert days. Also, only the downtown Highland Park park-and-ride lot will be available; buses will have reduced capacity to maintain passenger distancing and cycle as needed.

Here are other highlights Ravinia announced Thursday:

The “Chicago Festival” — a daylong event for an invited audience of front-line, essential and health-care workers — will feature Ides of March, Shemekia Copeland and other Chicago artists. Saturday, July 3

Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro withOch & Oy! A Considered Cabaret.” The “Cabaret” and “The Good Wife” actor is touring this summer with “All Things Considered” host Shapiro in what Shapiro told Playbill is a show featuring “storytellers who try to help audiences better understand themselves and the world around them. This show lets us explore those shared ideals on stage together, through stories and songs.” Tuesday, July 20.

Michael Feinstein and Betty Buckley , Broadway icons both, were booked for the canceled 2020 season. Buckley was Norma Desmond during the original Broadway run ofSunset Boulevard,” and Feinstein has toured extensively with his “Great American Songbook” of classic tunes. Sunday, Aug. 1.

Judy Collins , still touring into her 80s, the ’60s folk and cabaret performer’s voice remains “as clear as a spring wending through a field of wildflowers,” according to The New York Times. Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux is also on the bill. Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Willie Nelson & Family lands in August with most recent reports of a highly spirited Nelson onstage when he toured before the pandemic. Saturday, Aug. 14.

Gladys Knight often performs her crowd-pleasing hit “Midnight Train to Georgia” as an encore after hitting other highlights of her long career, including “Neither One of Us” and “You’re the Best Thing To Ever Happen To Me.” Wednesday, Aug. 18.

John Hiatt, a Ravinia regular, has delivered a slew of roots-rock classics, including “Cry Love,” and returns to Highland Park with The Jerry Douglas Band. Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco were also booked for 2020. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have been playing together since high school, and in concert their compatibility underscores their folk music underpinnings. Like the Indigo Girls, DiFranco has a long record of speaking out on political issues as well as an impressive catalog of music that ranges from folk to punk to alt-rock. Friday, Sept. 10.

Ziggy Marley withA Celebration of Bob Marley” features the reggae pioneer’s son Ziggy 40 years after Bob Marley’s death. Ziggy is touring the country with this tribute to his father, who wrote and performed classics, including “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “Get Up, Stand Up.” Sunday, Sept. 19.

Other concerts of note include:

The Mike Love version of The Beach Boys (Aug. 21-22)

— Train (Aug. 27-28)

— King Crimson and The Zappa Band (Aug. 29)

— Collective Soul, Better Than Ezra, Tonic (Sept. 1)

— Blind Boys of Alabama (Sept. 11)

— Ben Folds (Sept. 18)

— Andrew Bird (Sept. 24)

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