Taylor Davidson · Tanglewood

How to do Tanglewood right.
by Taylor Davidson · 05 Aug 2013
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood, MA, 2013

I’ve only been to Tanglewood to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra once, but here’s what I’ve learned about doing it right.

  • Before you go, decide if you want to buy lawn seats to seats inside the shed (the Serge Koussevitzky Music Shed). It appears the regulars buy the inexpensive lawn tickets to sit outside on the grass, listening to the symphony under the warm summer sky. Or, do we what we did, and buy seats under the shed, and arrive early to enjoy the scene.
  • Speaking of the scene, Tanglewood picnics like it’s a competitive sport. We arrived at 6 PM (doors open at 5:30 PM) for a 8:30 PM show, and the lawn already had 50-100 people staking out their ground, setting up their blankets, chairs, tables, and already starting on their food and drink. At the minimum, bring a picnic blanket and the toys to enjoy a summer picnic. Don’t set up at the very front of the lawn, but other than that, pick a spot that fills comfortable to you. The performance is amplified and displayed on video screens, so you’ll still be able to experience it farther away from the shed.
  • It’s easy to buy food, wine and beer in Lenox before a show. We bought provisions at Nejaimes Wine Cellar in Lenox; they had an ample supply of wine, beer, cheese, and other prepared foods. If you’re completely unprepared, they also have plates, plastic wine glasses, corkscrews, baskets, forks, etc.
  • Once you’re settled in on the lawn, enjoy the scene. Wander around to the different sections. Talk to the locals (one woman I talked to had been to at least 3 shows a year for 38 years).
  • Listen, relax, and enjoy.