News & Stories


A Pastoral Picnic in White

It's Our Backyard Party for the City! On the evening of Saturday, July 27, people from all over Chicago will be dressed in white, enjoying dinner on the Great Lawn in Millennium Park, listening to Dvoƙák's Seventh Symphony played by the Grant Park Orchestra.

They’ll be taking part in the Festival’s Pastoral Picnic in White, inspired by the French phenomenon that began in Paris in 1988, when friends gathered at the Bois de Boulogne for a dinner party and dressed in white so they could see each other in the dark. Now, every year, thousands of people gather in Paris, as well as other cities in Europe, Canada and throughout the United States, for these elegant pop-up dinner parties. Here at the Festival, everyone is invited, there is no registration fee and anyone can join this free, themed picnic in the Park.

“There's a special magic in people coming together for one night of community joy,” said Chantal Forster, a Festival member who loves sitting on the Great Lawn for concerts. “You'll look out across the grass and see people clinking glasses with a neighbor, sharing appetizers, borrowing a wine opener, or asking: "Where on earth did you get that fabulous white hat?’”

There is no “right way” to participate in the Festival’s Pastoral Picnic in White. Just dress in white from head to toe, add a white tablecloth, a group of your friends, and be ready for an unparalleled night of magic and music.

It’s all free, set against the backdrop of the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the heart of downtown Chicago.

A Pastoral Picnic in White
Saturday, July 27 2019
7:30 PM Concert Begins, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
4:30 PM Millennium Park Security Entrances Open