Robinlee Garber | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres December 9, 7 pm/CST

Robinlee Garber continuing this month as Woodstock Wednesdays celebrates the holidays!

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Robinlee GarberYou can show your support and appreciation by visiting https://robinleegarber.bandcamp.com/album/somewhere-theres-music and purchasing Robin’s latest digital release. You can also support her with a tip here using PayPal.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 9.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Robinlee Garber

photo credit: Janet Mesic Mackie

Philly born and bred but a proud Chicagoan these days, Robinlee Garber brings a crystalline alto voice with gently burnished edges and an outsider’s point-of-view to the original and time-treasured songs she sings, focusing on a repertoire that harkens to the past without being a novelty act, and is relatable without pandering. Her love of music infuses all her performances, from sophisticated showcases to inclusive open mics, exposing everyone to a lovingly curated and wide-ranging songbook of folk, jazz standards, rock and contemporary music where the voice is front and center.

You can go to Robinlee’s YouTube channel and hear a live version of the title track for her 2018 release “Resilience.”

Featured on WDCB’s Folk Festival with Lilli Kuzma, Robinlee acted as the music director of Culture Cafe for the wildly popular Chicago VeganMania festival for eight years and has been running a well-attended open mic in Chicago. She has also performed across the US, Canada, Sweden and Finland.

Cover art from Robinlee’s current release titled “Somewhere There’s Music”

Her latest album, Somewhere There’s Music, features 9 songs from the Great American Songbook, and her Dad. Recorded with producer Dave Gordon in Evanston, IL and mixed by mixing engineer Scott Gerow in Nashville, TN

Robinlee Garber – Vocals
Dave Gordon – Piano
Chris Siebold – Guitars
Matt Ferguson – Bass
Gerald Dowd – Drums

Robinlee grew up idolizing singer-songwriters and performers of Laurel Canyon’s heyday, like Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Carole King but was also deeply influenced by the music of her parents: Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Heart is at the center of the music she loves as she believes a great song has universal appeal no matter the language. From her earliest musical memory of sitting in her mother’s teal Chevy station wagon and noticing how perfectly Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” synched up to the windshield wipers to watching “The Sound of Music” on stage as a child and wanting so much to be on stage performing, the transformative power of song has been stitched through Robinlee’s whole life. As someone with chronic health issues that often left her feeling isolated, music was also an especially potent antidote to loneliness.

As a child Robinlee always felt different as she struggled with chronic health issues but found solace in creating art and music. She studied figure drawing and glass sculpture at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and she won a glass blowing scholarship at the Pilchuck School of Glass in Seattle after graduation. Not feeling entirely satisfied with creating her own art for art’s sake, Robinlee did what she calls artist activist work, and then she ultimately got another full scholarship to earn her Masters degree in Art Therapy at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Since then Robinlee has worked professionally as a creative arts therapist and clinical counselor using music and art to help others heal. Robinlee is looking forward to sharing her music and her message of hope and resilience with everyone.

Enjoy Robinlee’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Joel Mabus | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres December 2, 7pm/CST

Joel Mabus is kicking off this month as Woodstock Wednesdays celebrates the holidays!

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Joel Mabus. You can show your support and appreciation by visiting http://www.joelmabus.com/. Once there look for the virtual tip vessel. You can also purchase his CDs including Christmas CDs, and a CD titled Different Hymnals.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 2.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Joel Mabus

Joel Mabus may be called a singer-songwriter, but he doesn’t sound like one.  He’s the son of a 1930s old time fiddle champ and a banjo-pickin’ farm girl.  His performing career began in college during the Vietnam era, where he studied anthropology and literature by day and played coffeehouses by night.

You can go to Joel’s YouTube channel and be thoroughly entertained by his relevant, poignant and humorous songs.

One critic writes, “Joel Mabus knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard.” 

Nationally known radio host, Rich Warren (Midnight Special, WFMT) named Different Hymnals as one of his favorite CDs of 2017. He wrote:  “Mabus selects a different framework and motif for each album he records. His knowledge of music runs exceptionally broad and deep. Different Hymnals covers shades of faith from near agnostic to devout. The album is highly spiritual, but not particularly religious. Although it includes a few Christian hymns, it is not a Christian album. The spiritual songs suit nearly any faith. He includes originals, rewrites of traditional hymns and even a lengthy Child ballad imbued with spiritual/moral overtones. An outstanding guitarist, Mabus also mixes instrumentals with songs. Mabus connects all of these fourteen songs with the message that shared faith of whatever religion can bring us closer together and that peace is the ultimate goal.”

“Joel is one of those quintessentially Midwestern American artists. He has a style we will always associate with Will Rogers or Mark Twain, and a great sense of humour which compliments, rather than contradicts, some very serious material. He has perfected the art of being entertaining without pandering, he teaches without lecturing, and does it all with great style.” ~ VANCOUVER FOLK FESTIVAL

Born in 1953 in the southern Illinois town of Belleville, Joel has recorded 27 solo albums of original and traditional music since his recording career started in 1978.  Joel’s latest CD is 2019s Time & Truth, a return to songwriting both topical and timeless. Among his awards: inducted into the Detroit Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2000, the inaugural Lantern Bearer Award presented by Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FAI) in 2006.  

A one-off in the folk world, Mabus defies any easy pigeon-hole.  His palette ranges from mountain banjo to jazz guitar — from sensitive introspection to wicked satire.  He’s both picker and poet, and from coast to coast over the past 40 years this Midwesterner has brought audiences to their feet, wanting more.

JOEL’S BOOK The only bound book of his, to date:  Parlor Guitar, was published by Hal Leonard — a world wide publishing firm — in 2006. This book has detailed note-for-note transcriptions (music & tab) of ten songs from the Parlor Guitar CD.  The book also has a CD included of those 10 cuts from the original album.

Enjoy Joel’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Claudia Schmidt | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres November 25, 7pm/CST

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays with this special Thanksgiving week performance! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Claudia Schmidt.  You can show your support and appreciation by visiting https://www.claudiaschmidt.com/. Once there look for the virtual tip vessel.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, please use the donate button in the right column of this site. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe just below the donate button.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, November 25. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Claudia Schmidt

If it were the intention of the creator or creators of this universe to perfectly blend together the night sky with moon and stars, it might have been their intention as well to deliver Claudia Schmidt as their messenger of reminder.

To say that Schmidt is simply a performer with a talent to entertain would be an understatement. Schmidt takes her audiences into her world as easily as the child who discovers the endless universes that exist in a cardboard box. We are delighted that she is performing for Woodstock Wednesdays. The peace and gratitude that she conveys in her music is truly a gift we can be thankful for this week.

From lying on sandy beaches under an endless barrage of northern lights, to the expected anguish and frustration of spinning tires on cars stuck deep in snow, from the age-old struggle of change between adolescence and adulthood to the observation of sheer idiocy, she leaves it to the imagination of her audience to conjure their own images of her storytelling and song. No interpretation of a Claudia Schmidt song or story is wrong — she invites audiences to tie their associations to her style.

About Claudia and her connect to Woodstock Folk Festival

We have followed and supported her from the beginning and throughout her career. She performed at our festival as recently as 2011. She is recognized as an acclaimed artist and was recently on the “Wisdom of the Elders” panel at a recent FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) conference.

Schmidt weaves her way through her concert in much the same manner as a jester. Interwoven anecdotes, revealing her past and present, bring people to expect a relationship between themselves and memories driven deep with the passage of time. The concert is an endless display of self-realization through humor and longing, leaving audience members yearning to become an integral part of her world. In addition to doing both folk and jazz, Claudia also does theater and poetry.  Aside from her own work, Claudia has worked with follow artists such as Michael P. Smith and Sally Rogers.  

Claudia Schmidt performing live

“Schmidt is a one-woman revitalization movement. Schmidt is the best at what she does.” ~ The Tribune (Oakland, Ca.)

“Claudia Schmidt is a true artist-she has talent AND the fire of genius.” ~ The Boston Globe

We know you will enjoy Claudia’s show.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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David R. Hawkins | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres November 18, 7pm/CST

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and storytelling to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including David Hawkins.  You can show your support and appreciation by visiting https://hawkmanmusic.com/ and purchasing his CDs.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, please use the donate button in the right column of this site. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe just below the donate button.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, November 18. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: David R. Hawkins

In 2017, David opened the Woodstock Folk Festival and led the All-Sing Finale. He has also performed at other Woodstock Folk Festival concerts. We are delighted that he is performing for Woodstock Wednesdays.

David Hawkins has found Pittsburgh by way of Chicago, New Orleans, Tulsa,  and Detroit, and he has picked up musical flavors wherever he has lived. His songs are both tough and gentle, born in a place where flesh and spirit meet and one’s soul is on the line. They are songs of Love, Hope, Death, Loss, a splash of Whiskey, and an echo of the Divine.

A Few Thoughts from David ~ Singer/songwriter and former English Teacher

As an English teacher, I had the privilege of reading and teaching some of the greatest writing in the English language. Of course, that set the bar pretty high for me as a writer. Nevertheless, while I see myself falling short in nearly everything I write, I’m much more attuned to the power of the word than I would have been otherwise. Also, ideas from literature often show up during the writing process without my being conscious of it at the time.

Thousands of websites are full of musicians looking for a style, trend, image, or even a true depiction of who they are–anything to be noticed as distinct identities in an ocean of identities. Often, even the really good musicians seem to be drops in the bucket, spit in the ocean.  At its best, music is about how the spirit of a song calls to us. My vision is that the true voices in music will emerge from the blurred mass and be heard alongside the other true voices already among us. The way I see it, somewhere under all the layers is a true voice in everyone.  Whether or not I have found my truest voice yet, I know that one of the ways that I feel closest to it is through writing or singing a song.

David Hawkins (L) and Don Stiernberg (R)

“With his second release, Hello Mr. Death & Other Love Songs, David Hawkins delivers an excellent collection of new material, from the delightfully witty romp with the title track, to superb country-infused tracks and gorgeous ballads. The well-crafted songs shine with fine vocals and acoustic guitar, and embellishments by noted sidemen such as Don Stiernberg, Mark Dvorak, David Wallace, and Clark Sommers, among others, contribute to this top-shelf production filled with stand-out material from start to finish. It is highly recommended.” ~ Lilli Kuzma, Host of Folk Festival, WDCB Public Radio, Glen Ellyn/Chicago, IL.

You can go to David’s website and listen to audio or watch videos of his music. Purchase CDs by visiting https://hawkmanmusic.com/buy-music

We know you will enjoy David’s show.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Lee Murdock | Woodstock Wednesdays | Encore Presentation November 11, 7pm/CST

A Message From Woodstock Folk Festival President Carol Obertubbesing

This week the Woodstock Folk Festival salutes the 50th Anniversary of the Two Way Street Coffee House in Downers Grove by offering an encore of the July 15 Woodstock Wednesday that featured Lee and Joann Murdock.  Lee, along with Andrew Calhoun, will be part of the Coffee House’s virtual celebration on Friday night, December 4 at 8 p.m./CST.  It will be on the Two Way Street Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Go to twowaystreet.org for additional information about the celebration and how to watch this concert.  

The history of the Festival and Two Way Street Coffee House are interwoven; many artists have performed at both, and often Two Way Street featured a Festival musician on the Friday night before the Festival. Andrew Calhoun (December 4), Mark Dvorak (November 27), Lee Murdock (December 4), and Small Potatoes (November 20) are all part of the Two Way Street celebration and all have received Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Dave Humphreys, who founded Two Way Street and served as its director for over 45 years, received one of the the Festival’s Inaugural “Woody” Awards in 2018. Heather Styka, featured in the celebration on November 6, was part of the Festival’s “Power of Song” concert earlier this year. That concert is still available in the Video Gallery of the Festival website. In 2010 the Festival helped the Coffee House celebrate its 40th Anniversary by presenting Cheryl Niemo & the Down Home Boys at an all-day celebration in Downers Grove. We regret that we cannot celebrate in person this year.

The prominence of Chicago on the national folk scene is due in part to the collaborative nature of folk venues, festivals, and performers in this area. Together we make each other stronger. Two Way Street Coffee House’s illustrious history is truly indicative of the “Power of Song,” and the Festival salutes everyone who has performed at or been associated with the Coffee House. 

Serendipitously, this fall Joel Simpson, along with Jennifer Ashley, became Directors of the Two Way Street Coffee House. Now Joel has joined the team presenting Woodstock Wednesdays. We hope this symbiotic relationship will strengthen the bond between our organizations even further.

Joel and his business partner Jennifer Ashley are the musical duo Ashley & Simpson; they will perform at next year’s Woodstock Folk Festival on Sunday, July 18, 2021. Joel will also perform with the George Mattson Trio as part of the 50th Anniversary on November 13.  

Thanks to the entire team who bring you Woodstock Wednesdays – Mike Breen, Leslie Cook, Julie Roberts, Annemarie Serra, Mary Sherman, and Joel Simpson.  

And now for Lee & Joann Murdock, this week’s Woodstock Wednesdays encore performance . . .

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality storytelling and music to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years.

Read all about Lee and Joann Murdock and enjoy their video HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, November 11. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching other past performers’ shows as well by visiting on our Video Gallery.

Supporting the Performers Who Support Us

Your donations and purchases are a great way to thank Lee and Joann for creating this Woodstock Wednesdays video! Please show your support by visiting http://leemurdock.com/.

We need your help spreading the word! When you receive our email each week, please visit Facebook or Twitter (or both!) and search for the Woodstock Folk Festival page. You can always tell who we are by the raccoon logo. Take the top post and share it with your Friends and Followers. Remember to look at all the previous performers in our Video Gallery and view their videos again and share with your friends and family.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, go to the button on the right. If you are not on our mailing list, please sign up in the right column of our website.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Mustard’s Retreat | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres November 4, 7pm/CST

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and storytelling to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Mustard’s Retreat. You can show your support and appreciation by visiting https://www.mustardsretreat.com/ and purchasing their CDs.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, please use the donate button in the right column of this site. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe just below the donate button.  

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, November 4. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performers: Mustard’s Retreat

David Tamulevich had been doing some singing with Michael Hough, a fellow musician and cook at the same restaurant, but Michael was busy playing bass for another singer. David had the gig at the Heidelberg for 2 months when Michaels other gig came to an end, so David suggested that Michael audition at the Old Heidelberg which he did and got the job. Over the next 2 months David would come and sit in with Michael, and then Libby would come up to sing … and their popularity grew. By the middle of May 1975 they were playing together all the time, and decided to formalize things … and Mustard’s Retreat was born.

In 2015, David Tamulevich and Michael Hough performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival. Michael has now retired. David and Libby Glover are performing for Woodstock Wednesdays.

Mustard’s Retreat has always sung the songs they enjoyed and cared about, regardless of the trends of the music industry and pop culture. They are committed to simply being themselves, not chasing fame or brass rings, while delighting in and connecting with their audiences as if they were family. The honesty of what they present onstage and the extensive body of outstanding original songs and recordings all contribute to a fiercely loyal audience that continues to grow. “Music to cure what ails you” was how one reviewer in the 1970s described them, and that is as true now as it was then.

They’ve traveled more than a million miles and performed more than 6,000 shows, from pig roasts and pool parties to Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Barns at Wolftrap and the Kennedy’s Center’s Millennium Stage.

Follow these links to upcoming virtual concerts by Mustard’s Retreat.

Thursday, November 5th 2020 Mustard’s Retreat at Virtual Concert for The Ark Ann Arbor, MI; Thursday, November 19th 2020 Mustard’s Retreat at Virtual Concert for the Hiawatha Music Coop Marquette, Michigan; Friday, December 4th 2020 Mustard’s Retreat at Virtual Concert for the Earlville Opera House Earlville, NY

Their performances are always joyful and uplifting, as well as intelligent, thought provoking and insightful. They’ve recently begun referring to their career and touring as “Defiantly Hopeful.” In part due to their long career, but more as a statement about what the music has meant to them. “Folk music is, at its heart, defiantly hopeful!” Tamulevich says. “We came of age in the 60s, at the confluence of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan and the singer/songwriter revolution. We care much more about what we do and stand for and finding that common ground with our audiences, than fame or money: this is our community of choice, and we consider ourselves so fortunate to be here.”

“Mustard’s Retreat played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Indy Folk Series. David Tamulevich and Libby Glover charmed everyone with their songs and stories. Fine guitar picking, coupled with beautiful harmonies, carried the evening. Libby shined with her accapela songs and unique poems, she commands the stage. We had great comments about them from the audience, a tribute to their talent.” ~ Indy Folk Series

“Music to cure what ails you.” – Michigan Times

“Fresh, vital, relevant” – Robert Reid, Waterloo Record, ON, 2015

Purchase CDs by visiting https://www.mustardsretreat.com/legacy/music-new/

We know you will enjoy Mustard’s Retreat’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Jim May | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, October 28, 7pm/CDT

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality storytelling and music to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Jim May. You can show your support by visiting https://jimmaystoryteller.com/ and purchasing his books or booking him for your next educational program or workshop.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, please use the donate button in the right column of this site. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe just below the donate button.  

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT, Wednesday, October 28. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Author & Storyteller : Jim May

Jim May

Jim was born in Spring Grove, Illinois where his ancestors first settled in the 1840’s. Raised in this small German-Catholic farming community, his stories resonate with the rural voices of the Illinois prairie. His relatives spent time “visiting” and telling stories as an integral part of daily life–a means of weaving the social fabric of the community.
As an Emmy award-winning storyteller and author, Jim seeks to reestablish live storytelling as an art form, ideal not only for entertainment and education, but also for the grounding and healing that is needed in complex, modern times.

“For centuries telling and listening to stories has been a way for people to enjoy and cherish one another’s company. When I tell a story I try to entertain and delight, but also to capture, for a few moments, the kind of direct, soul to soul communication that we have all experienced at some time in our lives under the ‘spell’ of a story, either in the listening or the telling.”

Jim May’s stories have taken him across the United States and Europe. He has told stories at schools, corporations, professional groups, and festivals across the land. Chicagoans know him from his appearances on WGN’s Roy Leonard Show and from the Studs Terkel radio show on WFMT-FM. He received a 1989 Chicago Emmy award for a WTTW-Channel 11 production of his original story, “A Bell For Shorty.”

Jim performed at the first Festival in 1986, again in 1998, and then hosted Festival performer Joe Crookston at his storytelling event on Festival Eve in 2019.

The artist and the storyteller

Jim May and his wife, Nan Seidler, live less than a mile from the highest glaciated point in Illinois, which is 1,189 feet above sea level. Located east of Harvard in Alden Township, this area is unique in McHenry County, largely due to the rolling topography left by the glaciers. Some of the locals began referring to the area as High Point many years ago, realizing that they had something special. There are over 70 vernal pools, relic oak/hickory woodlands, seeps, springs and headwater streams all within a three mile radius. Jim and Nan thought about preserving their land for many years and placed a conservation easement on 24 of their 25 acres in August, 2017.

“Storytelling perpetuates a folk art tradition that has gone on for ages and ages. It presents many genres of literature: myths, fables, epics, sagas, hero tales, legends, folk tales, fiction and poetry. It provides entertainment and motivation, builds a bridge to literature, provides a means for personal, social and intellectual growth, and develops a feeling of sensitivity to life and people of the past and present. Without moralizing, it embodies positive ethical, moral and spiritual values.” ~ author Spencer Shaw

His newest book a “Trail Guide for a Crooked Heart” received much acclaim.

“A brilliant mixture of story, philosophy, humor and wisdom, this book reminds us that—if we are open to story, dreams, imagination, and myth—we can open doors within our soul.” ~ Jay O’Callahan, author, storyteller, and NPR commentator

A lifetime collection of stories, wise words, assembled musings and quotations about overcoming hurdles, elusive enlightenment, personal evolution, persistence in the face of discouragement, this pastiche is designed to encourage the downhearted, lift up the strivers and add wings to the heels of spiritual seekers.

Attention parents, families, and educators! Here are some of the programs that Jim offers for school aged children and adults.

Assemblies for Students – Students will hear traditional folk tales and fairy tales from cultures throughout the world as well as humorous stories about growing up on a farm in Northern Illinois. Stories include participation in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL).

Writing workshops for Students – Students will learn how plot, character, setting and elements of ancient folk tales, myths, and legends can become the building blocks for their own original, and sometimes autobiographical stories.

In-service training/workshops for Teachers – Research shows that children who hear and tell stories develop increased imaginative capacity, creative flexibility, and language mastery. This is true across the curriculum. Participants will learn to employ storytelling in an educational setting and will learn at least one story to tell in a classroom, family or administrative setting.

Keynote presentation – Storytelling: The Thinking Teacher’s RX For The Technology Blues or How I Got My Students To Listen To Me And Learned To Love My Job Again.

Non-Profit Organizations are eligible for partial sponsorship through Illinois Arts Tour.

“Jim May brought his storytelling wizardry to the 2017 Promising Youth Conference (2017 in Snowbird, Utah) and taught us the power of simple stories to unpack complex human problems in an atmosphere of humor and joy. We traveled our crooked pathways, embracing both the “fire” of our burning desires and “water” of our tearful defeats. At the end of each session, we hoped for another session quickly to begin so we could live again under the spell of Jim’s stories, poems, wise sayings, jokes and life-reframing, soul-renewing questions – questions that magically opened answers hidden just below the surface of the everyday in our memories and imaginings. Bravo! Jim is a master teller and healer!”

Supporting the Performers Who Support Us

To find out about Jim’s books and CDs and how to purchase them, visit his website (https://jimmaystoryteller.com/).

We know you will enjoy Jim May’s Ghost Story for Halloween!

We need your help spreading the word! 

When you receive our email each week, please visit Facebook or Twitter (or both!) and search for the Woodstock Folk Festival page. You can always tell who we are by the raccoon logo. Take the top post and share it with your Friends and Followers. Remember to look at all the previous performers in our Video Gallery and view their videos again and share with your friends and family.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Dennis Warner | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, October 21, 7pm/CDT

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music to our community and to enjoy and support performers who have worked with us over the years, including Dennis Warner. You can show your support by visiting http://warnersongs.com/ to purchase CDs, “Beads on One String”, or a T-shirt.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, please use the donate button in the right column of this site. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe just below the donate button.  

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT, Wednesday, October 21. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Dennis Warner

Dennis Warner’s Latest CD is #8
on the World Folk Music Radio Charts! A song from “Pilot Me” will be featured on Dennis’ Woodstock Wednesdays video.

Dennis Warner’s career has brought him to all 50 states and beyond, earning him global recognition and a reputation of being one of the top entertainers in the singer/songwriter genre.
Dennis is a two-time McKnight Foundation Artist Award winner and three-time finalist for the prestigious Kerrville Folkfest songwriting awards, co-founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. Another accolade was being invited to perform in concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. for a series honoring the best of the unknown songwriters.

“Songs that ring true…Like a heart to heart with an old friend.”
Bobby Vee; Music Legend

“Great songs, contagious energy and an engaging personality make Dennis Warner and outstanding entertainer. Add his smooth vocals and solid guitar work and you’ve got a fantastic show ! Our audience didn’t want him to leave.” Dave Humphreys; Chicago, IL

“It’s rare to find a singer/songwriter with the personality, vocals and presence to captivate and hold an audience the way Dennis did last week. He’s one performer who can effectively walk in with his guitar and engage even a savvy, musically inclined crowd all by himself. Dennis’ style is reminiscent of the great story tellers like Harry Chapin and James Taylor.”
Meghan Diamond; Walnut Creek, CA

“Remarkable natural stage presence and ability to involve the entire audience . . . a super entertainer.”
Jeff Grogan, Tech Talk Staff Writer
Oregon Institute of Technology (OR)

Attention parents, families, and educators! Now in its Sixth Printing, Warner‘s timely book Beads on One String evolved from one of his songs and led to the creation of The Beads on One String Project, an elementary school curriculum used as a meaningful and fun way to teach kids about the negative effects of bullying and the positive effects of recognizing our “connectedness” with each other. In support of his book and the curriculum project, Dennis was often a guest musician and speaker at schools, libraries and Sunday morning gatherings. When our world regains health and safety after Covid 19, Dennis will joyfully bring “The Beads on One String Project” to schools, libraries, and Sunday morning gatherings once again. In 2015, Dennis and his wife Tammy donated 250 copies of Beads on One String to Books for Africa, where they were needed in Ghana to teach kids English by using Dennis’ song and book.

Donation and Purchasing information

You can visit http://warnersongs.com/index to use Paypal to make a donation or purchase items from Dennis Warner’s website.

We know you will enjoy Dennis Warner’s show!

We need your help spreading the word! 

When you receive our email each week, please visit Facebook or Twitter (or both!) and search for the Woodstock Folk Festival page. You can always tell who we are by the raccoon logo. Take the top post and share it with your Friends and Followers. Remember to look at all the previous performers in our Video Gallery and view their videos again and share with your friends and family.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Meghan Cary Encore with a Twist | Woodstock Wednesdays | Wednesdays, October 14

This week, October 14, we are returning to Meghan Cary for an Encore as a way to support her exciting new event this week. If you don’t already know Meghan, you can read all about this exciting performer HERE — and see her Woodstock Wednesdays video that premiered on this site July 22!

This video should get you primed to tune into Meghan’s live broadcast with Jenny Rajotte from the SHE Leads Road Rally, part of a special day of programming on Folk Music Notebook, anchored by FMN founder and Folk DJ Ron Olesko.

Meghan launched her River Rock Project to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S. and to encourage people to exercise the right to vote that women and men fought so hard to achieve.

Don’t Miss Meghan Cary and Jenny Rajotte Broadcasting Live from the SHE Leads Road Rally

This week Meghan embarks on an exciting new endeavor. A motorcade led by women race car drivers will make a historic round-trip from Philadelphia PA to Seneca Falls, NY on October 16 and 17. They will retrace the journey of suffragist Lucretia Mott and her compatriots as they traveled from Philadelphia to the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. The Rally will amplify the message of women driving change and driving the vote as the 2020 general election approaches.

On Meghan and Jenny’s live broadcast from the Rally, you’ll hear key events, live interviews, special broadcasts, and a playlist featuring the music and stories of women.    

Folk Music Notebook is a free, 24/7 internet channel available at FolkMusicNotebook.com or via their free app.  

To support Meghan and her River Rock Project, go to meghancary.com

Don’t forget to vote.  Voter information isat Illinoisvotes2020.orgwww.vote.orgusvotefoundation.orgVOTE411.org; or the League of Women Voters at 202-429-1965, www.lwv.org, or in Illinois, www.lwvil.org.

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Kristin Lems | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, October 7, 7pm/CDT

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music to our community and to enjoy and support performers who have worked with us over the years, including Kristin Lems.

If you are not on our mailing list, please sign up in the right column of our website.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT, Wednesday, October 7. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Kristin Lems

Kristin sang three powerful songs as part of our “Power of Song” concert in April. Go to our Gallery to hear her sing “Ballad of the ERA”, “Life Has Other Plans”, and “We Will Never Give Up”. Kristin’s website , kristinlems.com, contains videos that will entertain and move you while you are waiting to view her Woodstock Wednesdays video.

Kristin Lems is a versatile composer, performing songwriter, folksinger and playwright from Evanston, Illinois, USA.  Born to an acclaimed concert pianist mother and musical Dutch immigrant father, Kristin studied music from an early age, singing in choruses and playing in orchestras. 

As a teenager, Kristin picked up the guitar, like many others, and wholeheartedly raised her voice as part of the movement to make a better world. With guitar in arms, Kristin brought her upbeat musical stage presence to nationwide events for the ERA and women’s rights, safe energy, peace, racial equality, and other pressing causes.

LIVE PERFORMANCES

Equally at home before vast crowds or in small living rooms, Kristin Lems has shared the stage with two First Ladies, Maya Angelou, Captain Jacques Cousteau, Gloria Steinem, Helen Caldicott and Alan Alda. She’s performed on stage with Pete Seeger, Tom Morello, Malvina Reynolds, Holly Near, Dan Fogelberg, Laura Love, Koko Taylor, Peter Paul and Mary, Michele Shocked, the BoDeans, Simon Townshend and others. New Yorker magazine called Kristin “a charmer in the most literal and least artificial sense of the word.” Gloria Steinem named Kristin “a one woman argument against the notion that the women’s movement doesn’t have a sense of humor.” The Illinois Times said, “Kristin not only has a beautiful voice, clear, crisp and forceful, but she is a very creative and thoughtful lyricist.” And of Kristin’s performances, The Evansville Courier said, “the performance was simple yet substantive, humorous, yet poignant, and always energetic and warm.” [more reviews at the ‘Press’ tab]

THE SONGS

Kristin’s songs have been covered by Butch Hancock and Marcie LaCouture, Anne Feeney, Pilshaw and Sklamberg, Lucha, Margaret Roadknight, Katzberg and Snyder, Voices, The Los Angeles Women’s Community Chorus, and several choirs. Her songs are included in the Smithsonian/Folkways anthologies The Best of Broadside (2001) and the Social Power of Music (2019). Her 1979 song, How Nice! an early recorded song supporting marriage equality, was in Marching for Freedom, a video of the 1993 March on Washington, and her songs are included in Radical Harmonies, about the women’s music movement, and The Equal Rights Amendment:  Unfinished Business for the Constitution.  Her original song “The Heritage of Farming,” was commissioned by the Illinois Farm Bureau as a theme song for a video which won a “Cindy” Award, which the producers credited to the song.  Find her songs on ITunes, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, or on YouTube, or on Hostbaby, which distributes her catalog.

AWARDS

Awards include the “Woman of Illinois Repute” of the Illinois Women’s Agenda, the President’s Award of Illinois NOW, the Humanist Heroine Award of the American Humanist Association, the Freethought Heroine Award of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Founder’s Award of the Women in the Arts Foundation, for founding the National Women’s Music Festival. In 2014, she received  the Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh Servant Leadership Award at Northeastern Illinois University for “lifetime contributions as a humanitarian singer and songwriter.”   

She has been interviewed by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and Veteran Feminists of America, which are conducting oral history projects about the Equal Rights Amendment and the second wave feminist movement.

Outside of music, Kristin’s early talent in writing and academics resulted in a first place writing award from Scholastic Magazines, a National Merit Scholarship, and a Hopwood Award for poetry from the University of Michigan.  Kristin has also twice been a Fulbright Scholar.

Kristin has performed at conferences and music festivals, for tributes and rites of passage, at libraries, senior centers, preschools, and in the classroom, as part of her work as an ESL teacher and teacher trainer.  She has written a musical play about the life of Jane Addams, who was a direct and dramatic part of her own family’s Chicago history. Kristin enjoys a wide variety of musical activities, but most of all, she enjoys singing for those working for a greener, fairer, and more peaceful world. 

Go to kristinlems.com to purchase CDs to show your appreciation for Kristin’s performance.

We know you will enjoy Kristin’s show!

Donations

To donate to the Woodstock Folk Festival, go to the donation box near the top right column on our website.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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