Summer’s finally arrived in the Berkshires, with a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday. I finally opened the Tanglewood brochure that’s been lying on my desk for several days. Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and probably the most famous of Berkshire summer venues. It gets tremendous crowds–over 20,000 people on some nights–but it’s only a 20-minute drive so we try to get there once or twice a year.
Tanglewood’s a bit like Glyndebourne, in England, in that people have elaborate picnics on the lawn, and because it’s so crowded you have to get there early for a prime spot. People bring folding tables and even candelabra, but reading the program I see that open flames are forbidden, and attendees are warned that, “No areas of the lawn may be staked or cordoned off for any reason.” Staked or cordoned off? Not exactly the community spirit that makes open air concerts so appealing. Unfortunately, this warning rings all too true: it does seem that the people who visit the Berkshires are wealthier and more frantic every year, and many seem to lack any sense of community or civic responsibility. They’re hostile drivers and even more hostile (and inept) when parking their cars. I’m not so sure I want to face the lawn at Tanglewood this year!