The main draw is the mellifluous concertos performed in the semi-outdoors on brisk summer evenings.
But step back from the music and you’ll see another performance unfolding: The people watching. The hierarchy between the inhabitants of the Shed and the occupants of the lawn is like sartorial anthropology. Broken down further, Tanglewood resembles the tennis club-meets-Target. It’s impossible to catalog all of the looks and fashions (unless you bring a camera with a large memory card), but see if you recognize these personal favorites.
BEVERLY (known to close friends in the Tri-state area as Bunny) — Her third-row seat in the Shed affords her an opportunity to stay warm and dry. She enjoys walking in a maze-like route (think Billy from “Family Circle”) across the lawn in her pale, sand-colored Capri pants with a sweater draped over bare shoulders to show the lawn dwellers that she doesn’t need to worry about grass-stained pants or the chill in the air.
LEXIE — The 17-year-old was dragged to Tanglewood by her parents and has the dour expression to prove it. Her iPod buds are planted firmly in her ears (the soundtrack of her night is Nicki Minaj, not Frederic Chopin). She’s wearing her favorite “Sexy and I Know It” T-shirt accessorized with Ugg boots. Her head is buried in her phone as she frantically texts for details of the epic party she’s missing back home.
CAROL AND BOB — They’re the fun-loving couple that never misses an opportunity to party, even if it means listening to classical music rather than Jimmy Buffett. Bob, in the Hawaiian shirt and ponytail, has brought two coolers loaded with wine. Carol, in a tank top and shorts that have seen better days, breaks out the Cool Ranch Doritos. Those sitting around the rambunctious couple are annoyed at first when they start tossing around a beach ball, but quell judgment when Bob graciously starts passing around cups of wine.
JENNIFER AND JAMES — At first they seem like harmless 20-somethings. She’s head-to-toe in J.Crew — a budding fashionista on a middle management salary. He’s in a Brooks Brothers polo with Banana Republic shorts. But then they start pulling out a spread of tightly packed Dean & Deluca bags, including enough cheese, pate, prosecco, and prosciutto-wrapped figs to line the shores of the Stockbridge Bowl. They’ve carefully set up their Crate & Barrel table and taken out a romantic candle (in a Pottery Barn hurricane lamp). It’s all finished off with a bouquet of wildflowers. It gets worse, because once the music starts, they could be mistaken for a pair of Suckermouth Catfish. Their public display of affection escalates from sweet to stomach churning.
EDWINA — “Eccentric” is a charitable description of her style. Her frizzy curls, which haven’t seen a bottle of conditioner since the late 1980s, explode around her head like the contents of a jostled can of Pepsi. A giant pashmina swallows her up, and she sits in the Shed with the score of the evening’s concert on her lap, conductor’s wand in hand, putting on a show that’s nearly as entertaining as the action on stage. Those around her roll their eyes, but Edwina sees none of it because her glasses have slipped down her nose and her eyes are strictly focused on the music.
GEORGE AND MARY — They’ve held BSO season tickets since the mid-1960s. They bought a second house in Lenox for the sole purpose of spending August at Tanglewood. These may be casual, al fresco concerts, but George still dons a bow tie, along with anchor-print slacks from Vineyard Vines. Mary owns virtually every shade of twin set known to womankind, which she always wears with a strand of pearls and a expression of disdain for the hordes who show up at concerts dressed like slobs.