The Jay Pritzker Pavilion
“How do you make everyone – not just the people in the seats, but the people sitting 400 feet away on the lawn – feel good about coming to this place to listen to music? And the answer is, you bring them into it. You make the proscenium larger; you build a trellis with a distributed sound system. You make people feel part of the experience.” – Frank Gehry
Mission accomplished, Frank. This iconic bandshell is more than just a concert venue: it’s an architectural and musical triumph. Unlike any other outdoor venue of its type, this space was the first of its kind in the country.
Designed by Frank Gehry, the Pritzker Pavilion was created to provide a unique live music experience, offering near-perfect acoustics, a modern design and a stunning landscape. The purpose? Like the man said: to bring people in; to allow thousands of Chicagoans to take advantage of our beautiful park by being part of some of the best musical performances in the city.
The bandshell itself stands 120 feet high, framed by the shining stainless steel proscenium (the main attraction, if you will). The trellis — that cool-looking crisscross metal design cocooning the venue — supports the sound system and speakers, covering both the fixed seating area as well as the expansive lawn. The near-perfect acoustics create the feeling of being at an indoor concert hall, with the sound system distributed across the entire space. Another added bonus of the system is that it contains the music effectively, keeping excess noise outside of the pavilion to a minimum. For an outdoor concert space, that’s pretty impressive.
The fixed seating area holds 4,000 people, with space for an additional 7,000 on the attached Great Lawn. And if you want my opinion (you do) the lawn is where it’s at. This isn’t your typical lawn experience… you know, 500 feet away from the stage and you might as well be listening to your iPod. Nope, the Great Lawn draws you in. The music surrounds you, as do thousands of happy-go-lucky music lovers.
The Pritzker Pavilion is home to the Millennium Park Summer Concert Series each year. It’s a fabulous place to grab a bottle of wine and a few friends for an evening of good music and even better company. Check out the lineup and be sure to make your way to the Pavilion at some point this summer! We’ll see ya there.