Patty Stevenson & Craig Siemsen | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, September 30, 6:45pm/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 Patty & Craig.

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

The video premieres HERE at 6:45pm/CDT, Wednesday, September 30. 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 checking out our Video Gallery.

Featured Performers: Patty & Craig

Described as genuinely talented with classic folk voices, Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen are known for their gorgeous harmonies, impeccable musicianship, playful stage humor, and jewel-like original songs. Patty says about performing, “I try for magic – nothing less! For the place that opens hearts and will move an audience to tears or smiles.”

Patty and Craig were individually ‘out there’ enjoying their music, when, in the mid – 1980s, they met while performing at a folk music festival. For many years, the couple maintained solo careers, even after they married. Eventually, with the prodding of wise friends, they agreed to perform one show as a duo. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, they continue to create and record original songs as well as their own variations on timeless pieces that often span the ages of creativity in sound.

Patty performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival in 1995. We look forward to a future time when we can hear Patty and Craig in person.

Patty and Craig toured the Midwest and beyond. Their work includes solo recordings, guest appearances on others’ CDs, and, most recently, a well-received duo CD entitled, “Paint Me a Picture”, that has received airplay around the world, and charted on the Folk DJ Charts. Enjoy the celebration of life and love with veteran song masters Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen.

“We hope this finds everyone safe and healthy as we all make the best and the most of these challenging times. We truly look forward to seeing everyone in person, with hugs and smiles, sometime down the road.” ~ Patty & Craig

“(The songs) jumped out like old pals.” ~ Mark Dvorak

“Classic folk voices…  a real pleasure”   ~   Santa Fe Summerscene

“It has been a pleasure to listen to your CD.  It has a wonderful underlying spirit.  Nice work, to put it mildly!”  ~  Peter Berryman

Go to to purchase their CDs to show your appreciation. You can listen to their music and watch videos.

We know you will enjoy Patty and Craig’s show!

On Thursday, November 12, at 7:30 pm/CST, Patty and Craig will be streaming a virtual concert sharing songs, stories, and humor! The concert will be posted on their YouTube channel and on Facebook Live (streaming on Craig Siemsen or Patty & Craig).

On Thursday, December 17 at 7:30 pm/CST, Craig will perform a program celebrating Christmas and the winter season. He will sing and reflect on the history and traditions of this wonderful time of the year!


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

Posted in News, Online Events, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Patty Stevenson & Craig Siemsen | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, September 30, 6:45pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays | Don White | Online Concerts | September 23, 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 Don White. If you are not on our mailing list, please sign up using the Mailing List signup in the right column of our website.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT Wednesday, September 23. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. Go to our Gallery to view and listen to other performers. Music is a powerful force in our lives. Click on Gallery to view and listen to more music. Yoda has said, “May the force be with you,” and perhaps that meant the force of folk music!

Featured Performer: Don White

Don White performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival in 2014 and we are thrilled that he is now performing for Woodstock Wednesdays. The first two songs that Don sings on his performance are recorded on his Live at the Guthrie Center CD. You will hear about the significant mission of the Guthrie Center. Don’s third song is a very meaningful work in progress.

There is no one-word description for what Don White does. He’s an award-winning singer/songwriter, a comedian, an author, and a storyteller. He’s been bringing audiences to laughter and tears for thirty years, released ten CDs, three live DVDs, and a book, Memoirs of a C Student. His latest album is Live at the Guthrie Center, available at .

In 2011, he won the Jerry Christen Memorial Award, given out by Boston Area Coffeehouse Association, for his work with the community and that same year was given a key to the city in his hometown of Lynn, Massachusetts.

White has opened for Arlo Guthrie, Ritchie Havens. Louden Wainwright III, and Taj Mahal, shared a bill with David Bromberg, Janis Ian, and Lyle Lovett. White has been featured in storytelling festivals around the country including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee and the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Utah. Since 2015, he has joined master storytellers Bil Lep and Bill Harley in Father’s Daze, a hilarious three-man storytelling show about the triumphs and tribulations of fatherhood. He toured North America for nine years with folk songwriting legend Christine Lavin, with whom he still plays the occasional show.

Don’s approach to music is a unique blend. If he just played folk music, it would be a handy label. But he has invented his own genre with a mix of humor and powerful songwriting. White’s arc as a writer and performer has taken him from his industrial hometown of Lynn, Massachusetts, through Boston’s comedy clubs and coffeehouses, and onto stages around the country. At every point, White has been the ultimate observer, infusing his work with his experiences as a husband, a father, a seeker, and a joker.

“White is a riot on stage, a bona fide crowd pleaser. One of the most popular acts on the circuit. He plays an audience the way Leo Kottke plays a 12-string.” ~ The Boston Globe

We know you will love Don’s performance for Woodstock Wednesdays. Go to Don’s website for more information on other virtual shows: Thursday, 9/24/20 at 7am at the Green Wood Coffee House and Thursday, 10/1/20 at 7:00am at the Home Grown Coffee House.

Each Monday at 2pm/EST, Don hosts a Performance Forum.

“Every Monday at 2:00 EST I host a forum on zoom for performers, promoters, venue owners, booking agents and anyone else that is interested in learning or sharing what they have learned about performing on line. I go over some of the ways I have been reaching my audience, finding new audiences and making some money. I show examples of different things that people in different genres are doing to use the internet now that they can’t perform in person. Then we open the forum for questions and for people to share new things they have learned or are experimenting with. We’re all in a weird new world. If you know anyone that might be interested in joining us feel free to forward the number and password: Meeting ID: 871 1197 2086 Password: 099358 The forum is always FREE. There will be a virtual tip jar for anyone who wants to contribute.” ~ Don White

What People Are Saying

Please visit to purchase Don’s DVD, CDs or purchase his book. You can listen to him sing and tell stories. His stories can cause mirthful laughter, which has many positive effects on our health.

“No artist on the coffeehouse circuit today is better than Don White at combining the heartfelt aesthetics of the singer-songwriter with side-splitting laughs.” ~Scott Alarik in The Boston Globe

“I’ve never seen a comedian that made me both want to laugh AND go home and hug my kids.” ~ a fan

“Trust me folks. You will want to get your hands on Don’s new book as soon as you can. I would have got through it faster, but I kept reading passages out loud to wife, and then my children, and then anybody else who would listen. This is special!” – Matt Watroba

“I love books. I love reading. Over the years I’ve recommended a lot of books I’ve loved to a lot of people in my life. And although I loved reading `Memoirs of a C Student’, I’m not going to recommend it to my friends and family; I’m going to buy them all a copy for Christmas this year.” – Jon Svetkey

After you watch Don’s Woodstock Wednesdays video and check out more on his website,, remember that you can purchase his book to give to friends and loved ones. Reading his book will spread good cheer!


Please show your appreciation to Don White by purchasing his DVD, one or more of his CDs, or buying his book. To donate to the Woodstock Folk Festival, go to the donation box near the top right column on the Woodstock Folk Festival website.

We know you will enjoy Don White’s show!

Posted in News, Online Events, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Woodstock Wednesdays | Don White | Online Concerts | September 23, 7pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays | Cielito Lindo | Online Concerts | September 16, 7pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays is excited to bring a performance by Cielito Lindo to you. The Lucero family plays traditional and nontraditional music of Mexico, Latin America and the United States. They will perform at the 36th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival 2021. If you are not on the Festival mailing list, please sign up in the right column of our website.

The video premiers HERE at 7pm/CDT Wednesday, September 16. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others.

Featured Performers: Cielito Lindo

Image result for free downloadable logo for national hispanic heritage month

Cielito Lindo was featured on WGN in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in 2017. You can go to their website to watch their performance. National Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 in the United States will begin on Tuesday, September 15 and will end on Thursday, October 15. This month is celebrated to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. You can go to to search the menu: Exhibits and Collections, Audio and Video, For Teachers, Images, and more.

” Here are ways that you can help support our special performers: As a former teacher, I suggest that you contact your child’s or grandchild’s school. You can speak to a principal or teacher and suggest that they check out Watching the Lucero family perform can inspire children and adults. Call your public library and make the same suggestion, especially because public libraries promote celebrations of culture such as Hispanic Heritage Month. ” ~ Mary Sherman Woodstock Folk Festival Board Member

As seen on WGN, Univision, Chicago Tonight, Parents Latina Magazine, Chicago Parent and Nickelodeon, Cielito Lindo is a modern Latino family band formed by the Lucero family of 9. The children range in age from 6 to 17 and have performed for numerous events throughout the Mid West. With a fresh look and youthful energy, the family performs the traditional music of Mexico with influence from bands such as Los Lobos, Trio Los Panchos and more. The family is passionate about inspiring parents and children to enjoy music, culture, and creativity together.

The Lucero Garcia children are 4th generation musicians The family’s music story began in 2006 when the two eldest boys (then 3 and 4) began singing with their father and his band. In 2015 this large family of 9 relocated from the state of New Mexico to their mother’s hometown Chicago, IL to provide their children with better opportunities.

Since moving to Chicago, the Lucero family supports themselves 100% through the arts and has had the thrill of performing for large audiences at Chicago Bulls games, Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, music festivals, various television programs and hundreds of private events.

To purchase their album, Cielito Lindo by Cielito Lindo Family Music, go to

Cielito Lindo has the following events scheduled online or through a drive-in venue:

9/15/20 Tues 6pm – 6:30 pm – Live Streamed – Chicago Public Library Latinx Heritage Month

9/17/20 Thurs 6:00 pm – Chicago ChiTown Futbol (Drive-In) 2343 S. Throop Street, Chicago, 60608 Destinos 

9/25/20 Friday 6pm to 6:15 pm – Live Stream – Evanston Public Library

Watch the Lucero Garcia Family on Nickelodeon’s Americas Most Musical Family! Their performance will amaze and delight you! The judges raved about their talents with great enthusiasm!

“To meet a couple with 7 children is shocking but then to learn that every single member of that family is musically talented and together they make up a band that travels the Midwest entertaining thousands… that takes the shock to another level! That’s the story of Cielito Lindo, one of Chicago’s very own. Cielito Lindo has been entertaining Chicago for the last 2 years from private parties to a Bulls game. This family of 9 has wowed anyone who listens to it’s wonderful talent. ” ~ Ana Belaval, WGN News

“Esta agrupación familiar se destaca por mantener vigente la música regional mexicana. Juan Lucero y sus siete hijos se encargan de enaltecer el patrimonio cultural propio de sus raíces hispanas.” ~ Jesse Echeverria, Univision Chicago

“The whole family has impressive singing and musical abilities and they performed a really nicely balanced set that included traditional songs as well as familiar favorites such as La Bamba. They really had the audience dancing and moving and they grabbed the attention of people who were just passing by. I appreciated that they were so engaging with the audience and spoke to parents about the importance of exploring the arts at home and how it’s impacted their family. Aside from their really fun and memorable musical performance, the whole family was just great to work with. I would very enthusiastically welcome them back for a return performance!” ~ John Mangahas, Chicago Public Library Programs and Resources

We know you will enjoy Cielito Lindo’s show!


To show your support for Cielito Lindo, go to their website You can purchase their CD.

You may donate to the Woodstock Folk Festival via the Donate Button near the top of the right column on every page of this website.

Posted in News, Online Events, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Woodstock Wednesdays | Cielito Lindo | Online Concerts | September 16, 7pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays | Curtis & Loretta | Online Concerts | September 9, 7pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays brings high quality music to our community. Enjoy and support performers who have worked with us over the years! Curtis and Loretta live and breathe folk music. Their music comes straight from the heart! They played at our Festival in 2006 and we are thrilled they are performing for Woodstock Wednesdays. Their music will move you!

The Video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT Wednesday, September 9. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others.

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

Featured Performers: Curtis & Loretta

Curtis and Loretta’s extraordinary harmonies and proficiency on a parade of stringed instruments create an alluring frame for their poignant original songs, and traditional pieces from America and the British Isles. 

The current menagerie includes mandocello, folk harp, guitars, clawhammer banjo, ukulele, and mandolin, plus a bit of kazoo, harmonica, and shakers. Curtis’ down-home sense of humor and Loretta’s theater background engage the audience in an experience that runs the gamut of rolling with laughter to holding back tears, with plenty of side-trips in between.  They have racked up countless miles each year, crisscrossing the country to deliver their own unique brand of folk singer/songwriter music.  Then worldwide events changed their touring.

Curtis and Loretta have had many events postponed due to Covid-19. You can visit their website for further information on their upcoming virtual concerts: Sunday, September 13 – Harmony House Concerts; Saturday, September 19 – Hickory Ridge Concert; Monday, September 28 – Missouri River Regional Library;Tuesday, September 29 – Daniel Boone Public Library; Wednesday, September 30 – Brookings Public Library; Thursday, October 1 – Aberdeen Library. For even more detailed information including receiving an invitation to a Zoom concert, you can email Loretta at

The duo’s perennial humor is ever present, with songs and stories of harp players trying to get into heaven, small spenders on first dates, bugs, and lutefisk!  Their years of performing and touring together have honed their comfortable stage presence to a delightful edge. 

They received Arts Tour Minnesota Grants in 2018 and 2010, and an Artist Initiative Grant in 2015, all from the MN State Arts Board, and were named Best Acoustic Performers of the Twin Cities by City Pages in 2002.  They have been on the South Dakota Arts Council Touring Arts roster since 2011. Their CDs have appeared on “Top Albums of the Year” at, and they’ve received several nominations for “Best Acoustic Folk Artist” for the Minnesota Music Awards.  They’ve released nine CDs, and shared billings with such luminaries as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Holly Near, Vassar Clements, Claudia Schmidt, and many more!  Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet were married (to each other!) in 1987, and live in Minneapolis. 


This recording is made up of 12 songs Loretta wrote, about real people who overcame great challenges in their lives. It’s the culmination of a year long project through an Artist Initiative grant that Loretta was awarded, from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Guest musicians on the CD include – Peter Ostroushko on fiddle (5 cuts), Jacqueline Ultan on bowed cello (3 cuts), Sandy Njoes on stand up bass (9 cuts), Sherri Leyda on penny whistle (1 cut) and hand drum (1 cut), Chuck Leyda on mandolin (1 cut), and Bobb Fantauzzo on Native American style flute (1 cut). There’s also a choir of 10 wonderful women singers on the chorus of “Willmar 8.” Sandy, Sherri, Chuck, Bobb and many of the “choir” will join Curtis & Loretta onstage at the Cedar on Nov 22 ! 

There are detailed stories of many of the people in the songs on their blog at www.curtisandloretta/blog  Go their website to read these poignant stories. These stories can bolster us all during these times! Courage and positive thinking can be contagious!


Please visit to purchase CDs, join their email list, and to contribute to their Virtual Tip Jar. With gigs cancelled, performers need your support. Your donations and purchases are a powerful way to thank Curtis and Loretta for creating this Woodstock Wednesdays video.

You can even start working on your Christmas shopping by purchasing Christmastide. All your favorite Christmas carols, with beautiful harmony vocals and traditional stringed instruments, including folk harp, mandolin, mandocello and guitar. Plus harmonica, and celeste, an 1800’s musicbox-sounding keyboard are on this CD.

You may also donate to the Festival via the Donate Button near the top of the right column on every page of this website.

We know you will enjoy Curtis and Loretta’s show!

Posted in News, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , | Comments Off on Woodstock Wednesdays | Curtis & Loretta | Online Concerts | September 9, 7pm/CDT

Thank You For Being Part Of The 35th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival — Reimagined

By Carol Obertubbesing, Board President, Woodstock Folk Festival

Thanks so much for joining us for the 35th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival — Reimagined. We greatly appreciated your participation and support. If you missed the Festival or want to watch some or all of it again or share it with friends, just go to our website, You can click on the green button on the upper right of any page, find it in the Video Gallery, or go directly to it on this Gallery page.  There’s also the option of watching just the All-Sing Finale again. 


The Woodstock Folk Festival is grateful for your donations. If you haven’t yet donated, please consider a donation to help us cover expenses for this year’s Festival and help us bring you next year’s Festival. You can use the “Donate” button at the top right of every page on our website. 

We hope you will also support the performers directly by going to their websites, all listed on the Festival’s Gallery page, and buying their CDs, joining their Patreon or other platforms, and donating to them. 

Upcoming Programs

Please watch our Woodstock Wednesdays each week, tune in for special posts and music during our celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S. next month, and continue to check News and the Calendar on our website for updates on future events.  To get current information delivered straight to you each week, sign up for the email list on our website via the subscription box on the upper right of the home page.

Looking Forward to the 36th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival

Mark your calendars now for the 36th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival on Sunday, July 18, 2021, Noon to 6pm, back on Woodstock Square. We hope the following performers will be able to join us on the Main Stage next year:  Meghan Cary, Cielito Lindo Family Band, Fendrick & Peck, Joe Jencks, Megon McDonough, Pete Morton, Katherine Rondeau, and Jon Shain and FJ Ventre, along with Ashley & Simpson at the Open Mic Stage and a Blues Workshop with Jon Shain. We’ll present our Lifetime Achievement Award to Megon McDonough and our “Woody” Awards to Ray Beth, Lilli Kuzma, and Chuck VanderVennet. 

And remember, keep the “Power of Song” in your heart and take it with you wherever you go.

Stay safe and be well.

Posted in Festival | Comments Off on Thank You For Being Part Of The 35th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival — Reimagined

Woodstock Wednesdays | Tim Grimm | Online Concerts | September 2, 7pm/CDT

Art by Mary Sherman

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

The Video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT Wednesday, September 2. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. Tim’s songs will touch your heart. Watch Tim’s YouTube channel to see and hear more of Tim’s music including WOODY’S LANDLORD, performed by “The Family Band”.

Featured Performer: Tim Grimm

Tim will also be performing at the Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival, September 5 – 7. Tim will close the Saturday night Mainstage performance (at roughly 7:30 pm)

Tim Grimm is a bit of a Renaissance man in the performing arts world. He has for the past 20 years, blended his love for songwriting, travel, and the storytelling of acting (theatre, film and television).

Tim’s most recent recording- HEART LAND AGAIN revisits a renowned collection of songs from 20 years ago…. A STRANGER IN THIS TIME (2017), is a collaboration with his wife, Jan,and sons Connor and Jackson– the “Family Band”. In the Fall of 2016 this same group recorded the single- WOODY’S LANDLORD– which was the #1 song on Folk Radio for the year.

Tim’s previous recording, THE TURNING POINT, produced the #1 song on Folk radio in 2014– KING OF THE FOLKSINGERS. It was a particularly gratifying honor, given the song is a tribute to Tim’s friend and musical icon, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Tim’s history with Ramblin’ Jack goes back 30 years– beginning with a bicycle ride that led to The Newport Folk Festival…. Tim contributing liner notes to Jack’s Grammy winning album, The South Coast (1995)… Jack’s recording Buffalo Skinners with Tim on Tim’s album, Coyote’s Dream (2003)….and now, most recently KING OF THE FOLKSINGERS.

After college (Earlham), Grimm pursed an MFA in Theatre at The University of Michigan and from there worked in Regional Theatre, settling in Chicago. In Chicago, in addition to his theatre work, he studied briefly at the Old Town School of Folk Music and began writing songs and performing. He put together a band, Tim Grimm and The True Hearts and released 2 cds–True Heart, Kind Mind and Broken Down Palace.

At that point, “Hollywood called,” and Tim put down his guitar and pen, and didn’t really pick them up for close to 10 years. After several years (1990s) working in Los Angeles (where he co-starred for 2 seasons on the NBC drama Reasonable Doubts, worked on Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford,  and appeared in several films and tv projects), Tim returned home to Indiana. 

Tim grew up in the woods and small town settings of southern Indiana, son of schoolteachers and grandson of farmers, and his return home was a conscious choice to live a life of significance rather than one of “success’.  He now lives with his wife on  80 acres close to where he grew up.

Tim’s songs are full of the rural rumblings that have shaped his life—rich with descriptive details, and sung with warmth and intimacy—recognizing the inextinguishable national romance with the idea of the family farm and the vanishing landscape of rural America.  He released the album, HEART LAND in 2000, and on the strength of that recording, was named 2000’s “BEST DISCOVERY in Roots/Americana Music” by The Chicago Sun-Times. His albums COYOTES DREAM and NAMES, led to his being named “2004 MALE ARTIST of The Year” by the Freeform American Roots DJs.

He has released 10 solo albums since 2000 (including the newest- THE TURNING POINT), and 2 collaborations- AMBER WAVES (with Jason Wilber) and WILDERNESS PLOTS.

In 2005, Grimm was asked to compose music and act in a production of THE GRAPES OF WRATH at Indiana Repertory Theatre and Syracuse Stage in New York. His song from the play–THE PEOPLES HIGHWAY, made it onto his next album, THE BACK FIELDS, which was subsequently named Americana Album of the Year by the Just Plain Folks Music Awards– the world’s largest independent music awards.

In 2007, Grimm put together a concept cd with several of the Midwest’s finest songwriter’s— Krista Detor, Carrie Newcomer, Tom Roznowski, and Michael White. The recording, Wilderness Plots, was drawn from the short stories of noted author, Scott Russell Sanders, and explored the settling of the American Wilderness in the Ohio River Valley Region between The Revolutionary War and The Civil War. Two PBS programs have explored Wilderness Plots– the first, a documentary on the story and song, and the second a full Wilderness Plots- In Concert (2012). Produced by WTIU in Bloomington, IN, both productions were nominated for EMMY AWARDS. Tim continued to write songs based on Sander’s writings and released the album, WILDERNESS SONGS AND BAD MAN BALLADS in 2011.

Tim has worked with Inishfree Tours for the past several years, bringing Americans, Dutch and Germans to the Emerald Isle for 9 days and nights of music, and day trips exploring 3 select Counties. Guests who have traveled with Tim encouraged him to lead groups elsewhere, and this has led to the annual- Turning Point Tour of The Netherlands, and and the creation of Beyond The Tartan Tours of Scotland.

Tim continues to be active in Regional Theatre as well– most recently in the Bicentennial production for this home state- FINDING HOME: Indiana at 200, for which he wrote an album’s worth of music, and appeared for 6 weeks onstage — as actor and with the Family Band.

“I scheduled Tim so that we can help promote the virtual Fox Valley Festival on September 5 – 7 (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). Please support Tim Grimm and the Fox Valley Festival. More info is at It will be live streamed to Facebook and YouTube. Juel Ulven, founder and director of the Fox Valley Festival was the recipient of our WFF “Woody” Award last year. Tim performed at our Woodstock Folk Festival in 2012. I have traveled with Tim to both the Netherlands and Scotland and his tours are outstanding.” ~~ Carol Obertubbesing, Woodstock Folk Festival President


Please visit to purchase CDs and to learn about the amazing trips that will be scheduled by Tim at some future time. With gigs cancelled, performers need your support. Your donations and purchases are a powerful way to thank Tim for creating this Woodstock Wednesdays video.

You may also donate to the Festival via the Donate Button at the top of the right column on every page of this website.

We know you will enjoy Tim’s show!

We know you will enjoy the Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival on September 5, 6, and 7. Tim Grimm will be performing. Other FVFS (Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling) performers that have performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival or concert include Scott Ainslie, February Sky, Reggie Harris, Sarah McQuaid, Lee Murdock, Claudia Schmidt, Trillium, and Jack Williams. Be sure to check back on the site to find the schedule which will be posted in coming days at

Posted in News, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , | Comments Off on Woodstock Wednesdays | Tim Grimm | Online Concerts | September 2, 7pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays | Tret Fure | Online Concerts | August 26, 7pm/CDT

Art by Mary Sherman

Join us weekly 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. If you are not on our mailing list, please sign up using the Mailing List signup in the right column of our website.

The Video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT Wednesday, August 26. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. Tret’s video is part of our celebration of the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S

Featured Performer: Tret Fure

Tret Fure played at the Woodstock Folk Festival’s 2015 International Women’s Day spring benefit concert and the 2016 Festival. She was featured in the All-Sing Finale of the Woodstock Folk Festival – Reimagined.

Tret began her career at the age of 16, singing in coffeehouses and campuses in the Midwest. At 19, she moved to LA in hopes of obtaining a record deal. Within a year she was performing as guitarist and vocalist for Spencer Davis, touring with him and penning the single for his album Mousetrap. She went on to record her own album in 1973 on MCA/UNI Records, with the late Lowell George of Little Feat as her producer. With the success of that release, she opened for such bands as Yes, Poco, and the Geils Band.

A prolific artist in the contemporary singer-songwriter arena, Tret has released 16 albums and CDs over the course of her 48 year career. In addition to being a gifted songwriter, she has engineered and produced countless recordings by a variety of artists, including her own work.

In the early 80s, Tret moved to the independent side of the industry discovering the blossoming genre known as Women’s Music. She recorded with and produced some of the best of women’s music including the legendary Meg & Cris at Carnegie Hall (1983). She worked as a duo with Cris Williamson throughout the 90s, producing, engineering and releasing 3 CDs together.

Now after 8 acoustic releases on her own label, Tomboy girl Records, she has re-established herself in the folk world, winning the South Florida Folk Festival Singer/Songwriter Competition in 2 out of 3 categories., Best Overall and Best Up-Tempo Song. as well as the prestigious Jane Schliessman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Music. In 2009, Tret was voted Pride In The Arts Favorite Female/Lesbian Musician. In the same year she received the Janine C. Rae Award for her work in Women’s Music. She is also the #1 folk artist for Reverbnation in Newport News, VA. In 2017, Tret took 2nd place in the Musicians United to Protect Bristol Bay songwriting contest for her song The Fishermen of Bristol Bay.

Her acclaimed solo releases include Tret Fure (1973), Terminal Hold (1984), Edges of the Hear (1986), Time Turns the Moon (1990), Back Home (2001) which took both album of the year and single of the year awards for 2001 from OutVoice Top 40, My Shoes (2003) in which Sing Out! Magazine says, “Fure’s new solo venture signals her intent to do more than just move on. This album soars…She has never sounded better…This mature effort surely ranks among Fure’s finest works and will be savored by old-time fans and new fans alike.”

And there are more: Anytime Anywhere (2005) and True Compass (2007) both beautiful collections of songs of love and passion, The Horizon (2010), A Piece of the Sky (2013) and Rembrandt Afternoons (2015) which was chosen by the acclaimed folk music show Midnight Special as their album of the week and was in heavy rotation on folk shows around the country. Her song Freedom has been arranged for chorale groups and is being performed widely around the country.

Now Tret has released a stunning collection of songs on her latest release Roses in November (2018). Roses in November has been on the Folk DJ charts for the past 6 months. Her song Lessons From Home Plate was the #1 song in the month of June, with the album at #4 and she was the #2 artist. In November, the title song was #7. Wanda A. Fischer from WMAC Northeast Public Radio has this to say, Roses in November is yet another masterpiece from Tret. Exceptionally crafted songs delivered with passion, conviction and, yes, soul. Tret weaves magic both in the lyrics and between the lines. This will certainly be on my “Best of 2018” list.

Fure also markets of her own line of clothing named after her popular song Tomboy Girl. In addition, Tret teaches guitar and songwriting individually and in workshop settings. She paints pet portraits on commission and, an accomplished cook, Fure has also published a cookbook, Tret’s Kitchen, featuring her own recipes. Along with bridging the marketing, production, music and art worlds, Tret served for 6 years as President of Local 1000, The Traveling Musicians Association–a union geared toward helping traveling musicians find security and longevity.

Tret is truly a Renaissance Woman!


Please visit Tret Fure’s website to purchase CDs and other merchandise and to donate to her. You can also commission Tret to paint a portrait of your pet. With gigs cancelled, performers need your support. Your donations and purchases are a powerful way to thank Tret for creating this Woodstock Wednesdays video and delivering a much needed message during these times.

You may also donate to the Festival via the Donate Button at the top of the right column on every page of this website.

We know you will enjoy this show!

P.S. Following Tret’s performance, head on over to Kristin Lems’ ZOOM performance, American Women’s Suffrage @100: Songs of Celebration and Struggle.

Posted in News, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , | Comments Off on Woodstock Wednesdays | Tret Fure | Online Concerts | August 26, 7pm/CDT

Woodstock Wednesdays | Donna Herula | Online Concerts | August 12, 7pm/CDT

Join the Woodstock Folk Festival weekly for great music. We are excited to present Woodstock Wednesdays, a way to bring high quality music to our community and to enjoy and support performers who have worked with us over the years. If you are not on our mailing list, please sign up using the Mailing List signup in the right column of our website.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CDT Wednesday, August 12. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share with friends and family.

Featured Performer: Donna Herula

Donna Herula performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival in 2013 with her husband, Tony Nardiello. In 2018, Donna performed with fellow “Slide Guitar Master” of Old Town School, Chris Walz. The celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S. continues with Donna’s Woodstock Wednesdays performance of the music and history of women in the blues.

Donna was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago.  She began playing piano at age 5 and guitar at the age of 10.  In high school, she wrote, arranged, sang and played an original blues song with the jazz band for a variety show and also played lead guitar in an all-girls’ band.  Donna received a music scholarship from her high school and studied jazz guitar and, later, classical guitar in college. 

Influenced by slide guitar players Rory Block, Johnny Winter, Eric Sardinas, and Bob Brozman, Donna discovered the early blues musicians that inspired these players, which included Son House, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

At the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Donna learned country and Delta Blues, bottleneck slide guitar, ragtime and Piedmont styles by listening to and copying licks from old blues recordings.  She also began collecting and learning music performed by women blues singers and/or guitar players such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace and Memphis Minnie.

Donna was the co-winner of the Chicago Blues Challenge, solo/duo category two years in a row; in 2010 with harpist John Jochem and in 2011 with singer/songwriter, Liz Mandeville; and with Liz, also placed in the semi-finals at the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.  In addition, Donna won the 2008 Illinois Central Blues Clubs blues challenge as a solo performer and competed in the IBCs in 2009.

Donna was a semifinalist in the 2012 Yamaha Six String Theory international guitar competition.  She placed in the top 6 of the blues guitarist category among contestants from 58 countries.

An accomplished slide guitarist, Donna headlined the 2014 Durban International Blues Festival in South Africa, playing both solo acoustic blues and also with a band.  She has performed multiple times at the Chicago Blues Festival.  At the 2015 Chicago Blues Festival, Donna performed a tribute (as a solo performer) to Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Johnny Shines for their centennial celebrations, in 2013 in a duet with Tony Nardiello and in 2009, she performed a tribute (as a solo performer) to slide guitar master Robert Nighthawk for his centennial celebration at the Chicago Blues Festival.  As a soloist, she also performed as part of a Nighthawk symposium for the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas (Nighthawk’s hometown), and at the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (King Biscuit Blues Festival).

In May 2016, Acoustic Guitar Magazine named Donna as one of the top 10 up and coming resonator guitar players in an article, “Down and Dirty: 10 contemporary resonator players talk about their love for that nasty sound.”  On October 16th, 2016, she was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame at Buddy Guy’s Legends.

Donna is a regular performer at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago – having been the acoustic opener for Buddy Guy seven times – and has performed at the House of Blues Chicago as well as BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups in St. Louis, MO. 

In addition to playing traditional blues on National resonator guitars, she had also played electric guitar as part of the Chicago Women in the Blues, led by Joan Gand and now has her own band.  Other blues, folk and music festivals that she has performed at as a soloist or in a duet include: the King Biscuit Blues Festival, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, The Juke Joint Festival, the Woodstock Folk Festival, the Bayfront Blues Festival, CU Folk & Roots Festival, Mother’s Best Music Festival (Helena, AK), Blues by the Bay (East Tawas, MI), Festival for the Eno (North Carolina), Alpena Blues Festival (Michigan), Old Town Blues Festival (Michigan), and the Portage Township Music Festival (Michigan).

Since November 2015, Donna has been teaching Acoustic Slide Guitar, Fingerstyle, and Electric Slide Guitar classes and individual lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, in Chicago.  Donna has taught at Blues & Swing Week – Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. Donna also teaches individual students and has taught workshops on slide guitar, blues fingerstyle and Delta Blues guitar at venues such as the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference, the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, folk clubs, and music stores.  She has given numerous educational performances at libraries in an acoustic duet with her husband, singer, guitarist and harmonica player, Tony Nardiello. 

Donna has performed on a number of blues radio shows including seven times on King Biscuit Time, with Sonny Payne, legendary host and member of the blues hall of fame, and on Delta Sounds both on radio in Helena, GLT Blues Next in central Illinois, WNUR in Evanston, IL, WDCB in Glen Ellyn, and KUAF Radio in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Donna’s second CD “The Moon Is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk” was released in February 2011 and in September 2011, placed #32 on the Roots Music Report for top Blues albums played on the radio.  Her CD was selected to represent the Illinois Central Blues Club in the Best Self-Produced CD Competition at the 2012 IBC.  The song, “Crying Won’t Help You” was listed as song #13 on James “Skyy Dobro” Walker’s Top 50 Songs of 2011.

In 2012, Donna’s slide guitar playing was featured on 3 tracks of Liz Mandeville’s CD, Clarksdale as well as in Dutch blues film Cheesehead Blues: which was released in 2015.

In October 2011, Donna was nominated for the “Best Female Blues Performer” by the Chicago Black Music Awards.

Donna is a featured artist on the National Reso-Phonic Guitars website.

She plays as a soloist as well as in a duet with various artists and also with her husband singer/guitarist/harpist, Tony Nardiello. (See website page “Duets” for more information.)


Please visit performer websites to purchase their CDs and other merchandise and to donate to them. With all their gigs cancelled, they need your support. Your donations and purchases are a great way to thank Donna Herula for creating this Woodstock Wednesdays video!

You may also donate to the Festival via the Donate Button at the top of the right column on every page of this website.

We know you’ll enjoy the show!

Posted in News, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Woodstock Wednesdays | Donna Herula | Online Concerts | August 12, 7pm/CDT

The Woodstock Folk Festival Devotes August to the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the United States

By Carol Obertubbesing, President, Woodstock Folk Festival

"The Employment of Women at the Treasury & Women's Suffrage" by treasury_curator is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
“The Employment of Women at the Treasury & Women’s Suffrage” by treasury_curator is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

This is the third and final post for the anniversaries commemorated in our “Power of Song” concert on April 5 (still available in the Video Gallery on this website).  Previous posts commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and the 50th Anniversary of the Student Strike of 1970.  

The Woodstock Folk Festival devotes the entire month of August 2020 to the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S.  Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, urged her husband to “remember the ladies” when fighting for independence from Great Britain in 1776, but it wasn’t until August 26,1920 that the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote became law.  

Listen to Woodstock Wednesdays at 7 p.m./CDT each week for a musical celebration of this anniversary.  Read the post below to learn more about the battle for suffrage, the people who made it happen, the legacy of that passage, and the work that remains to be done.  

The Festival began this celebration with its “Power of Song” concert on April 5 and included Crys Matthews’ song “American History XIX” in its July 19 Festival.  In her Woodstock Wednesday segment on July 22, Meghan Cary talked about her River Rock Project and the Toast to Tenacity.  Jack Williams commemorated the Centennial during his Woodstock Wednesday segment.  All of these virtual events are available in the Video Gallery on the Festival website.  

“Women’s History Month” by US Department of State is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

The celebration kicked into high gear on August 5 and continues throughout the month.  

  • Woodstock Wednesdays, August 5, – Natalia Zukerman – musician, painter, and educator – creator of “The Women Who Rode Away” 
  • Woodstock Wednesdays, August 12 – Donna Herula – blues guitaristsinger, teacher
  • Woodstock Wednesdays, August 19 – Holly Near – singer, songwriter, actress, teacher, activist 
  • Woodstock Wednesdays, August 26 – Tret Fure – singer, songwriter, artist, teacher, producer
  • August 18 – 26 – learn more about Women’s Suffrage on the Festival website; August 26 – Women’s Equality Day and Toast To TenacityRiver Rock and Justice Bell projects; national celebration – more information  will be posted on Festival website 

To get weekly reminders about Woodstock Folk Festival events, go to and sign up on the right side of any page. 

The Festival is an Illinois 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, made possible in part by Radio Partners WDCB, WFMT, and WNUR, the City of Woodstock, and Real Woodstock (


There is lots going on of interest in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S.:

  • Monday, August 17 – 11 a.m./CDT – YouTube – conversation between Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, moderated by Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first African American Librarian of Congress
  • Wednesday, August 26 – Women’s Equality Day 
  • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m./CDT – Toast To Tenacity and Ringing of the Justice Bell – webcast available for free at; there’s a Toast to Tenacity Toolkit at the website for anyone who wants to organize sister events; Meghan Cary, who was featured in the July 22 Woodstock Wednesday and who will perform at the July 18, 2021 Woodstock Folk Festival, is part of this celebration; 
  • 7-9 p.m./CDT – “American Women’s Suffrage @100: Songs of Celebration & Struggle with Kristin Lems (Kristin performed at WFF April 5 concert) – NOW Chapter virtual meeting. Connect in via Zoom at this link:
  • 7-8 p.m./CDT – Facethemusic4era: Songs of Unity & Action virtual concert – Facebook Live & Online;
  • 3 p.m./CDT – Lilly Ledbetter (the woman behind the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) will be honored at National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY – see for more info;

More resources for Women’s Equality Day are available at:

Women’s Suffrage Quiz

When did the fight for Women’s Suffrage begin?
Who started the movement?
Did music play a role in the movement?
Were there colors or symbols associated with the movement?
Why is the history of this movement important today?

Read the history below for answers to these questions and to learn more.

Background / History

Origin of the word “suffrage – The word does not have to do with suffering, but comes from the Latin word “suffragium,” meaning the right or privilege to vote.

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution – The right of citizens of the United States shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Women’s Suffrage Around the World – In 1792 British philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. This work about the rights of women influenced many early suffragists. In 1893, New Zealand was the first nation to give women the right to vote, but not to stand for office.

In 1902 Australia was the first country in the world to give most women the right to vote and the right to stand for the Commonwealth Parliament. Finland was the first country in Europe to give women the right to vote. Many countries, including Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Republic, Ukrainian People’s Republic, Uruguay, Crimean People’s Republic, Austria, Azerbaijan, Germany, Poland, Great Britain, Afghanistan, First Republic of Armenia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands gave women the right to vote before the U.S. ratified the 19th Amendment. Women could not vote in France until 1944; Greece, 1952; Switzerland, 1971; Since Saudi Arabia granted women the right to vote in 2015, women now have the vote in every country that has elections.

As of November 2019, 29 countries currently have women serving as heads of state or government and 75 countries previously had women as head of state or government since 1950.

Women’s Suffrage in the U.S.

Before Europeans and other settlers arrived in what later became the U.S., Native AmeNrican women had a political voice. Matilda Jocelyn Gage, who later became an honorary member of the Mohawk Nation, wrote about indigenous societies and saw them as a model for a just world. Along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, she was a leader of the National Woman Suffrage Association.Even European women in the colonies sometimes enjoyed voting rights in the 17th and 18th Centuries, rights that were later rescinded and not regained until 1920.

The beginning of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S. is usually considered to be the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY held over two days in July, 1848. Many women were active in the anti-slavery movement and when they were p prohibited from speaking at an anti-slavery convention in London in 1840, they began to focus on women’s suffrage.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were among the women at the London Convention; along with several other women, they organized the 1848 Convention. Frederick Douglass was one of the men who supported them in their efforts, at least at the beginning. Out of that Convention came the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence. The most hotly contested resolution was “the right to the elective franchise.”

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass who attended the convention and supported the women’s efforts argued for it and, because of his and Stanton’s efforts, resolution 9 passed by a small majority. The Declaration was published in the North Star, an abolitionist newspaper founded by Frederick Douglass. Other conventions followed, but the groundwork was laid in Seneca Falls, a town in the “Burned-over District” of central and western NY known for its 19th Century religious revivals and reform movements.

In 1851, Stanton met Susan B. Anthony, who was involved in the temperance movement. For many women, anti-slavery, temperance, and suffrage were intertwined, but in other cases, rifts developed between the figures in these movements. For example, when Frederick Douglass espoused the right to vote for African Americans, he did not advocate for women; he felt that would defeat the effort. Some women saw the vote as a way to end slavery while some white women saw it as a way to maintain white supremacy.

While the women’s movement had to some extent come out of the abolition movement, with the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, a schism had developed between the participants. Religion played a role on both sides of the debate.

For much of the latter part of the 19th Century the National Woman Suffrage Association, which favored a federal effort, and the American Woman Suffrage Association, which favored a state-by-state approach, vied for attention. In 1890 the two groups merged under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association, but in the early 20th Century, with the founding of the National Women’s Party headed by Alice Paul, there was again a split; this time, the division was over strategies and tactics, with the NWP favoring a more militant, but still non-violent, approach.

In addition to Stanton, Mott, and Anthony, other prominent women in the fight for suffrage included Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucy Stone, Frances Willard, Alice Paul, Sue White, Ida B. Wells, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Because of Susan B. Anthony’s staunch fight for the right to vote over so many years, the 19th Amendment was also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.

The territory of Wyoming was the first to give women the right to vote in 1869 and was the first state to do so when it became a state in 1890. As with other suffrage movements, motives were not always altruistic. For example, in Wyoming, suffrage was seen as a tool to bring more women to the state and then vote for the Democratic Party that gave them the right; it would also help Wyoming reach the population threshold required for citizenship. Wyoming has the nickname “Equality State” and its motto is “Equal Rights.”

Other western states soon followed. However, in some of those states, such as Utah, the right was later rescinded. In some states women could vote only for certain offices and did not have full voting rights. Colorado, Idaho, Washington California, Arizona Kansas, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma South Dakota and the territory of Alaska were among the 15 states where women had full rights before 1919. In New Jersey unmarried women were allowed to vote from 1776 to the early 1800s but then the law was changed to “free white male citizens” in 1807. Tennessee, the final state needed for ratification, voted for the 19th Amendment on August 18, On August 26, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the vote and women across  the U.S. achieved full voting rights.

One of the many splits in the movement came at the onset of World War I. Some women felt that by pausing the suffrage movement and joining the war cause, they could show they deserved the right to vote and would win male votes. Others felt the battle for suffrage had to continue; they argued that it made no sense to be fighting for democracy in other countries when women in this country didn’t have one of the basic rights of a democracy, the right to vote.

These women were called unpatriotic and often faced violence at their demonstrations. One might compare this to the civil rights demonstrations after World War II or the youthful protesters during the Vietnam War who argued that if 18-year-olds were old enough to go to war, they were old enough to vote and have a say in whether to fight that war. Women used a variety of tactics in their fight for suffrage – tea parties, petitions, lobbying, demonstrations across the country, parades, and even hunger strikes.

After demonstrating outside the White House and burning an effigy of President Woodrow Wilson, women were sent to a jail filled with sewage, rats, roaches, and other unsanitary conditions; some were put in solitary confinement even for peacefully demonstrating; during a hunger strike at the jail, women were force fed by putting eggs and milk in a tube down their throats. Often when they encountered violence, the police ignored the violators and allowed women to be injured. The parallels to some of today’s history are striking.

There were many reasons people opposed women’s suffrage: a belief that woman’s place was in the home; a fear of black women voting; a fear of female voters demanding child labor laws; anti-temperance lobbying by the liquor industry; fear of women demanding railroad regulation; fear of loss of protections for women; fear of exposure of back-room deals and shady political tactics.

The first Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington D.C. on March 3, 1913, the day before
President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, ushered in a century of Washington parades and marches that continues to this day. The parade was organized by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns of the NAWSA. 5000-10,000 suffragists and their supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Not until after the War did Wilson finally support the cause. There were parade marshals, bands, and floats. Simultaneously there were tableaux at the Treasury Building. The women encountered an angry crowd; police did little and some people were injured. The suffragists used police failures to their advantage and sympathetic members of the crowd created a human wall to protect them. The protesters responded to a hostile crowd with non-violence and determination.

When reading accounts of this parade – and other events before and after – it becomes clear how determined women were to achieve the vote and how they used their o oratorical and organizing skills to make people aware of the issue and to change hearts and minds. There were special trains bringing suffragists to Washington, as in later years there were special buses for the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, and the Women’s Marches and Black Lives Matter demonstrations of the 21st Century.

The suffragists could often be spotted by their purple, white, and gold banners and white
dresses. The jonquil was associated with them while the red rose was associated with the anti-suffragists. In later efforts, particularly demonstrations in Tennessee during the final push, suffragists continued to march with purple, gold, and white banners and picket signs. They were often seen as radical and militant, but their victory in Tennessee changed the course of history.

Between 1915 and 1920 the Justice Bell, a replica of the Liberty Bell but without the crack, toured Pennsylvania and surrounding states World War I and women’s participation in it strengthened the movement for women’s suffrage.

Women worked in factories, served as ambulance drivers, and helped the war effort in many other non-traditional ways. The House and Senate finally passed the 19th Amendment in 1919 and then it was sent to the states for ratification. Tennessee, the final state needed for ratification, passed the amendment on August 18 and then the vote was certified on August 26.

Illinois and Suffrage

According to the League of Women Voters, the first suffrage organization in Illinois was formed in Earlville in 1855. According to the Evanston Women’s History Project, because of the leadership of Evanston suffragist Frances Willard, who was president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Illinois had the largest woman suffrage organization in the U.S. by the 1880s.

In 1891 women in Illinois were given the right to vote for school officers. In 1913 women in Illinois were given the right to vote for president, making it the first state east of the Mississippi to give women the right to vote for president; however, they were unable to vote for legislators at the state and federal levels. Full woman’s suffrage was not realized until ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

On June 10, 1919, Illinois was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, but due to an
administrative error which necessitated a second vote the following week, Wisconsin and Michigan, which voted later that day, are considered the first states.

Louise DeKoven Bowen was helpful in gaining women the right to vote. Ida B. Wells fought for both African American and women’s rights. Recently her efforts were recognized with the renaming of Congress Parkway. She received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize special citation for her reporting on lynching. Jane Addams, in addition to her other reforms, was also an advocate for women’s suffrage. Katharine Dexter McCormick was a suffragist and philanthropist and funded much of the research to develop the first birth control pill. One of the first female graduates of MIT, during World War I, she was Chair of NAWSA’s War Service Department and later became Vice President of the League of Women Voters.


Even though women were granted the right to vote, it wasn’t until 1980 that they voted in numbers equal to men. Numerous groups of women did not even gain the right to vote in 1920. For example, African American women faced the same obstacles to voting that men did.

While women achieved the right to vote in 1920, many women faced discrimination in other areas. Native American women (and men) did not get citizenship and the right to vote until 1924 and some states barred them until 1948. Chinese immigrants (women and men) weren’t given the right to citizenship and the right to vote until 1943. Other Asian immigrants did not gain naturalization and voting rights until 1952. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protected voter registration and voting for racial minorities and corrected some discriminatory policies. Those between 18 and 21 did not attain the right to vote until 1971. Residents of Washington, D.C. and military personnel also received their rights later and felony disenfranchisement continues to be debated.

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress in 1916; she pledged to work for a suffrage amendment. As of November 2019, women comprise 23.2% of the U.S. representatives. As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking woman in the presidential line of succession. The first woman appointed to the Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia, but she only served for one day. Hattie Caraway of Arkansas became the first woman to win election to the Senate in 1932. Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to serve in both the House and the Senate. In 1978, Nancy Kassebaum became the first woman elected to a full term in the Senate without her husband having previously served in Congress.

The first bathroom facilities for women in the Senate didn’t come until 1992 and women couldn’t wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993. Not until 2018 when Senator Tammy Duckworth gave birth to her daughter were women allowed to bring a child under the age of one on the Senate floor and to breastfeed them during votes. In 2018 Krysten Sinema became Arizona’s and the first openly bisexual senator from any state. As of January 2020 there are 26 women serving in the Senate. Nellie Taylor Ross was the country’s first female governor in Wyoming in 1924.

After the 19th Amendment was ratified, Alice Paul and The National Woman’s Party turned their attention to a federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The first version of the Equal Rights Amendment was written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman and introduced to Congress in December 1923.

Many of the arguments used against women’s suffrage were also used against the ERA. The ERA was passed by the House in 1971, and the Senate in 1972. The initial 1979 ratification deadline was extended to 1982. Attempts have been made to extend that deadline or to render it moot. Illinois didn’t approve the ERA until 2018 and Virginia was the most recent state to ratify it this year. Questions remain about the time period for ratification and what to do about the five states who rescinded their ratifications.

Even before the 19th Amendment was passed, Carrie Chapman Catt founded the League of Women Voters, which continues to this day. This non-partisan organization was designed to educate women about the political process and now does that for the general population. Seneca Falls now has the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1983 the Women’s Encampment for Peace and Justice was held there.

Concluding Thoughts – Why Is This Centennial Important Today?

“Vote!” by kgroovy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Importance of voting
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, only 61.4% of the citizen voting-age population reported voting, a number not statistically different from the 61.8% in 2012. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, women voted at 63.3% compared to 59.3% for men in 2016. The number of female voters has exceeded the number of men in every presidential election since 1964. Still, when one looks at the history of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S. and how hard women and men fought for women’s right to vote and the sacrifices they made, this is a low number.

Voter Information (Illinois)
Voter Registration – In Illinois the registration period for in-person registration is 27 days before Election Day, after which you may register during the early voting period through Election Day. Mail registration forms must be postmarked 28 days before Election Day. The registration period for online voter registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on October 18, 2020 and reopens on November 5, 2020. Thus, if you want to vote on November 3, you must register by October 18. Contact your local election office for more information. If you live outside Illinois, you can get information from your local election office or by contacting the U.S. Vote Foundation,

Voter eligibility – To vote in Illinois, you must be a U.S. citizen; 17 years old on or before the date of the Primary Election and turn 18 on or before the date of the General or Consolidated Election; live in your election precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day; not be serving a sentence of confinement in any penal institution as a result of a conviction; and may not claim the right to vote anywhere else.

Voting by Mail – Every registered voter in Illinois can request a ballot to vote by mail. Visit on your phone, tablet, or computer, and click “Request Your Vote by Mail Application,” then follow their instructions. If you have questions or need help, visit


As in so many other social and political movements, music played an important role in bringing people together and in stirring passions. Often songs were written to popular tunes such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” In some cases, songs were sung when speeches were prohibited at rallies. You can find some songs at the Library of Congress and Smithsonian websites The “Power of Song” bibliography listed some music resources, including sheet music.

  • Anita Kallen and Catherine Thomson had a show “The 19th Amendment Turns 100! A Musical Celebration of Votes for Women” planned for August 26, but had to cancel it. They have given us permission to share their song “VOTE” from that show with you – They are working on a virtual show; we’ll post an update when we receive it.
  • Check out Jack Williams’ Woodstock Wednesdays video, which premiered on July 29 and is now archived in our Video Gallery, for a performance of Jack Hardy’s song about Sojourner Truth.
  • Check out Linda Allen’s “Here’s To the Women” at; her website also has many other resources.
  • Information about 19: The Musical is at
  • Dolly Parton has recorded a song about the 19th Amendment
  • Woodstock Wednesdays – Natalia Zukerman, Donna Herula, Holly Near, Tret Furé

Other Resources

See the bibliography in the “Power of Song” concert post.

Several programs aired on public television this spring and summer including:

  • The Vote on American Experience and One Woman, One Vote
  • The Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI) at has puzzles, games, and other resources
  • Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission –
  • There are many excellent books written about the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the people who organized it, but the book that best captured the spirit of the women and told the history in the most compelling away, as if it were a novel, is Elaine Weiss’ The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote. See “Events” for conversation with Elaine Weiss on August 17. While the book focuses on the fight for ratification in Tennessee, the final state needed, it incorporates the more general history as well. It also explores the intersection of race and gender and has resonance with contemporary discussions.
Suffragettes parading, April 5, 1917 – George Grantham Bain Collection – Library of Congress Catalog – Public Domain


To Susan B. Anthony on her eightieth birthday
By Elizabeth Cady Stanton – 1815-1902

February 15, 1900
My honored friend, I’ll ne’er forget,
That day in June, when first we met:
Oh! would I had the skill to paint
My vision of that “Quaker Saint”:
Robed in pale blue and silver gray,
No silly fashions did she essay:
Her brow so smooth and fair,
‘Neath coils of soft brown hair:
Her voice was like the lark, so clear,
So rich, and pleasant to the ear:
The “‘Prentice hand,” on man oft tried,
Now made in her the Nation’s pride!

We met and loved, ne’er to part,
Hand clasped in hand, heart bound to heart.
We’ve traveled West, years together,
Day and night, in stormy weather:
Climbing the rugged Suffrage hill,
Bravely facing every ill:
Resting, speaking, everywhere;
Oft-times in the open air;
From sleighs, ox-carts, and coaches,
Besieged with bugs and roaches:
All for the emancipation 
Of the women of our Nation. 

Now, we’ve had enough of travel.
And, in turn, laid down the gavel,—
In triumph having reached four score,
We’ll give our thoughts to art, and lore.
In the time-honored retreat,
Side by side, we’ll take a seat,
To younger hands resign the reins,
With all the honors, and the gains.
United, down life’s hill we’ll glide,
What’er the coming years betide;

Parted only when first, in time,
Eternal joys are thine, or mine. 
This poem is in the public domain.

For additional events and resources, check HERE.

Posted in Reflections & Memories | Comments Off on The Woodstock Folk Festival Devotes August to the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the United States

Celebrating Another 50th Anniversary: The Student Strike of 1970

This is the second of the three anniversaries the Woodstock Folk Festival is commemorating this year. See here for background on Earth Day (April 22).  And stay tuned for information about the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S. (August 18-26). 

Music played an important role in all three movements as shown in our April 5 concert and bibliography (still available on this site) as well as in the music selections mentioned later in this article. 

This article was written by Carol Obertubbesing, President of the Festival, a trained historian, and a participant in the Student Strike of 1970.


WDCB’s Folk Festival show hosted by Lilli Kuzma will feature a special segment on the 50th Anniversary of Kent State and Jackson State on Tuesday night, May 5, between 8-11 p.m./CDT.  Tune in to 90.9FM or  There will be virtual commemoration events at Kent State on May 4, 2020.  Visit for details.  Jackson State also scheduled commemorative events and an exhibition. Details are at


The Student Strike began on May 1, 1970, the day after President Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia.  Strike groups sprang up overnight on campuses across the country.  At its peak, students at over 700 college, university, and high school campuses joined the strike. 

On May 4, National Guardsmen killed 4 student protesters and injured more on the campus of Kent State; on May 15, 2 students were killed and others injured when police confronted students at Jackson State College in Mississippi.  The Scranton Commission, appointed by President Nixon to study unrest on college campuses, later found the shootings at Kent State – over 60 shots by Guardsmen –  and Jackson State – 460 shots by police in Jackson – to be “unjustified.”  Both universities now have memorials honoring the victims.  Sadly, many accounts of the anti-war movement mention only Kent State even though at the time we spoke of both events. 

In the ensuing weeks hundreds of thousands of students gathered in Washington and other cities across the country to protest the War, often shutting down ROTC offices on campuses.  In some ways it was a culmination of a decade of change, activism, and growing disillusionment with and protests against the war in Vietnam (or as the Vietnamese now call it “The Resistance War Against America” or “The American War”). 

The 1960s began with the election of America’s youngest (elected) president, John F. Kennedy.  His words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” fueled a decade of activism. 

In a May 1961 address, Kennedy challenged the nation to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.  He didn’t live to see that happen but it did happen on July 20-21, 1969.  Exploration of space fired people’s imaginations and made many people, particularly young people, feel that anything was possible.  It was a time of great hope and optimism.  The Voting Rights Acts and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs helped people attain things they had not had before.  With Vatican II, the Catholic Church was changing and there was a growing ecumenism.  Books such as The Man inspired people to talk about issues previously beneath the surface.  New teaching methods were implemented.  Women’s rights and gay rights began to be discussed and even reached pop culture.  There were new directions in literature, music, art, dance, and theater.  Experimentation became the norm rather than the exception. 

Yet there was a dark undercurrent as well.  President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in April 1968; and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, in June 1968.  Cities experienced turmoil and riots broke out across the country – from Newark to Detroit to Watts.  Students began to protest – demonstrations at Columbia University in NY; University of Wisconsin in Madison; and then in 1970 all over the country.  Large scale demonstrations such as the 1963 March on Washington in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream Dream” speech and draft card burnings turned the attention of the nation to issues of civil rights, social justice, and the growing peace movement. Sometimes families were torn apart because of opposing opinions.  We were an angry nation as well as a nation of dreamers. 

Against this backdrop came the Student Strike of 1970.


In September 1969, I stepped onto campus as a member of the first coed freshmen class in Princeton University’s history.  Princeton is one of the most idyllic campuses. There are many beautiful gothic buildings interspersed among quadrangles where students played frisbee, and “In A Gadda Da Vida” blasted from open dorm windows on warm days.  The sweet scent of magnolias was in the air.  Whig Hall which burned in the fall was being repaired and a construction wall had painted images such as a sun rising in the morning.  It was a time of discovery and new horizons but never more so than for a freshman girl who had grown up in the most densely populated city in the country and arrived at this storied university. 

I had been a supporter of the Vietnam War in early ’68 but by later that year, after seeing violence against students on the Columbia campus and violence against demonstrators at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and after reading about teach-ins on the war, I had changed my mind.  Yet as I struggled socially, academically, and financially in 1969-1970, politics was not uppermost in my mind.  However, when President Nixon, who had pledged to end the war during his 1968 campaign, expanded the war by invading Cambodia, my interest in politics and in effecting change was reawakened.  Classes were cancelled or discussions turned to current events.  Many members of the Class of 1970 traded caps and gowns for black armbands, some with the peace symbol.   

While Princeton had campus demonstrations, particularly at the nearby Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), it had avoided the extreme violence that some campuses had seen.  President Robert Goheen encouraged an atmosphere of dialogue so when the strike began, there was a convocation of the campus community – administrators, faculty, staff, and students — at Jadwin Gym.  Three major groups formed on the Princeton campus. 

The first, the Student Strike Committee, was, at least in my mind, the most radical; they wanted change on many fronts, not just the war.  I felt that they had such a broad agenda that they would spread themselves too thin and not be able to accomplish any specific goals. 

Another committee was the Movement for a New Congress which sought to effect change through the electoral process.  If we elected different representatives, we could change the nation’s course.  The fall break at Princeton, where students could return to their hometowns to work for candidates for a week before the election (and some vote themselves), was the result of this.  At the time, students felt disenfranchised.  Young men could be drafted at 18 but couldn’t vote until they were 21.  Since elections usually came during the semester, many students couldn’t return home and because their dorm address wasn’t considered a permanent address, they couldn’t vote where they went to school.  Movement for a New Congress sought to change that.

The third organization founded on the Princeton campus was the Union for National Draft Opposition (UNDO).  This organization, in my mind, had a specific and more achievable goal.  Since many boys in my public high school didn’t go on to college and were subject to the draft, I saw a disparity and injustice.  If they did object to going to war (for political, moral, or religious reasons), they often would not know where to get help.  By pamphleting draft boards, speaking at schools, and providing counseling, I believed we could help them.  More radical leaders in this movement included Father Philip Berrigan, his brother Father Daniel Berrigan, and other members of the Catonsville Nine as well as the Chicago Seven.  There were some violent incidents during the anti-war demonstrations and draft protests, but most were peaceful.   

There have been drafts throughout American history, but the 1940-1973 draft began with the Selective Training and Service Act and was the country’s first peacetime draft.  Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military drafted over 2 million American men.  Thousands of men, including the late singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, fled the country, many to Canada.  The lottery established in 1969 strengthened the anti-war movement. The draft ended in 1973. 

The University gave us office space in Palmer Hall and we immediately began to set up an office – everything from learning how to set up a postage meter for bulk mailings to giving talks to the community to traveling to Washington for demonstrations to setting up chapters at colleges and university across the country.  From schools such as Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY to the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR, we communicated, by phone and mail (no internet or email nor cellphones in those days), with colleagues across the country.  Occasionally we sent speakers and organizers to those other colleges.  I met community members from organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee, the War Resisters League, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.  The walls between the University and the community were coming down.  As a symbol of that, the University’s Fitzrandolph Gate was opened and has stayed open ever since.

It was a “heady” time — yes, for some people that meant smoking grass and taking drugs — but for others such as myself, it was a time of learning, of new ideas, of new paradigms.  My mind was exploding.  I remember long rap sessions at night talking about politics, music, books, poetry – and almost any other topic under the sun.  Living with a group of 10 people in a house we rented near the campus so we could continue to work during the summer was my first experience of living outside my family home.  I feared my father, a World War II veteran, would disown me but he didn’t.  I realized later that for some people who fought in wars, they fought for a cause, but they didn’t want to see any more war.  I did have friends who were disowned by their parents – some lost all financial as well as emotional support.   

As I was living this important part of American history, my personal history was changing too.  I met another UNDO staff member, Mike Epstein, then a junior at Princeton.  On June 10 there were major demonstrations around the country, I demonstrated outside the draft board in Trentons, NJ; Mike went to Washington, where he was held up at knifepoint while sleeping with hundreds of others in a church. 

In late June the organization needed two people to go to Milwaukee for a conference featuring David Dellinger.  We stayed in the home of faculty members – this is long before the days of Air bnb.  That trip was the beginning of a relationship that lasted over 40 years.  Years later when Dave Dellinger spoke at the Chicago History Museum, we went to hear his talk and afterwards told him that our marriage was an unintended consequence of the Student Strike.  We all laughed and he had some kind words for us.  I recommend reading his book, From Yale to Jail. 

After the conference we hitchhiked to Madison to visit some of Mike’s friends who took us to my first folk concert.  People were sitting all around one of the lakes singing songs of peace, love, and freedom.  My love of folk music began at that moment.   

Popular slogans included “Hell No I Won’t Go” and “Just Say No” (a friend has a famous poster that says, “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No”). 

That summer we’d spend nights working in the office — I, preparing documents and handling mailings – he, learning to play guitar in between his projects.  He taught me the music of Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, and Bob Dylan.  In the mornings, we would get up at 4 to protest at the draft board in Newark.  With our roommates at the house, we’d listen to music from Cream to Jacques Brel; we’d share poems with each other; we’d stay up into the wee hours of the morning talking about politics and life.  It was a time of finding the energy to do things we might otherwise have thought impossible.

When histories of the 60s are written, they often focus on “drugs, sex, and rock and roll” or “flower power.”  They usually fail to capture the tremendous optimism of the 60s – the sense that “yes, we can change the world.”  Perhaps that’s why Barack Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes We Can” resonated with many of us “baby boomers.”  It was also a time when young people came together, put their energy and hearts into these issues, and worked tirelessly – at least for a few years — to achieve these lofty goals.  What did we achieve?


The draft ended in 1973.

The voting age was changed from 21 to 18.  If young people were asked to go to war, shouldn’t they have a say in the people who made those decisions? The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving citizens 18 years of age or older the right to vote, was ratified in July 1, 1971, just a little over a year from the time the Student Strike began, the fastest time an amendment to the Constitution had been ratified. 

Rules changes opened up the political conventions. 

Issues beginning to be discussed in the 60s came to the forefront and both laws and attitudes have changed as a result of that.  Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, environmentalism (everything  from organic farming to vegetarianism to climate change), concerns about fitness and health, and social justice issues, received more attention in the years since 1970. 


Music brought people together – it’s hard to sit in a song circle and hate the person sitting across from you.  It highlighted the issues, provoked thought, moved us to actions — sometimes in a serious way such as Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” or Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” sometimes in a more humorous way such as Phil Ochs’ “Draft Dodger Rag,”  sometimes in provocative songs such as “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and  other times in beautiful songs such as “Get Together.”  I encourage you to listen to these songs as well as the following to try to capture the thought and spirit of the time. 

  • “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – written by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings
  • “Kent” by Magpie (the duo of Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner) on their album Give Light; Terry Leonino is a survivor of the Kent State shootings
  • Dave Brubeck’s cantata “Truth is Fallen” was dedicated to the slain students of Kent State and Jackson State and other innocent victims
  • Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”
  • Steve Miller’s “Jackson-Kent Blues”
  • Bruce Springsteen’s “Where Was Jesus in Ohio?”
  • Barbara Dane’s “The Kent State Massacre”
  • “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin-to-Die” by Country Joe and the Fish
  • “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield
  • “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” by Joan Baez
  • “The Universal Soldier” by Buffy Sainte-Marie (also a hit for Donovan)
  • “Bring ‘Em Home” by Pete Seeger
  • “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon
  • “Masters of War” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan
  • “War” by Edwin Starr


You may also wish to check out:

  • The Cost of Freedom: Voicing a Movement after Kent State 1970, an anthology that includes poetry, personal narratives, photographs, songs, and testimonies, some written by eyewitnesses to the day of the shootings. 
  • The 1981 movie Kent State focused on the four students who were killed. 
  • In 2000, Kent State: The Day the War Came Home, a documentary featuring interviews with injured students, eyewitnesses, guardsmen, and relatives of students killed at Kent State, was released.


For most of us – no matter what generation – there is a soundtrack to our lives, but perhaps there was never a time when that soundtrack was so inextricably mixed with the burning issues of that time. 

Posted in Reflections & Memories | Leave a comment

Happy Earth Day! 50th Anniversary, Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Reflections compiled by Woodstock Folk Festival Board President Carol Obertubbesing

We extend a Happy Anniversary to Festival supporters who also celebrate their anniversaries
on April 22:

  • Amy and Ray Beth
  • Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso
  • Debbie Solomon and Bruce Rosenberg

During the Festival’s recent “Power of Song” concert (still available in the Video Gallery (menu) at, we told you we would commemorate three major anniversaries this year:

  • the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S.
  • the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
  • the 50th Anniversary of the Student Strike of 1970

And we will explore the role that music played in all of those movements. Today marks the first of those anniversaries, Earth Day.

We will offer a quiz, some environmental tips, reflections, a poem, suggested songs, and even a recipe for a celebratory AND environmentally conscious drink. We also encourage you to visit (official site),,,, and for virtual activities and events, background and educational materials, and other resources.

Non-profit organizations around the country, including the Shedd Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, have online events and resources. Many organizations have devoted much time and effort to this anniversary, only to see their in-person events cancelled. Please help them out by checking out the websites and supporting environmental organizations.

Many of the Festival’s past performers include songs about the environment in their repertoire. The Festival’s co-founder Amy Beth has often participated in Earth Day activities, either solo or with the Kishwaukee Ramblers. The Festival’s 2018 spring benefit concert, “Earthrise,” featured a multitude of songs about our planet. Today’s post is a continuation of the Festival’s history of presenting performers and concerts that feature songs related to the issues of our day.

Earth Day Quiz

  • Who wrote the book that is often considered to be the birth of the modern day environmental movement?
  • Who organized the first Earth Day in 1970?
  • Was there a day focused on the environment before 1970?
  • Which U.S. President established the U.S. Forest Service, as well as creating several National Parks, National Monuments, bird reserves, and game preserves?
  • Was there an environmental movement in the 19th Century and was it connected to the Suffrage Movement?

Read on for answers to these questions:

Background for Earth Day

The early Conservation Movement dates back to the 19th Century with the management of fisheries and wildlife, conservation of water and soil, and protection of forests. John Muir was well known as one of the early environmentalists, but women such as Susan Fenimore Cooper, Graceanna Lewis, Martha Maxwell, Florence Merriam Bailey, Ellen Swallow Richards, and Dr. Alice Hamilton were among the early pioneers in the study of nature and environmentalism; in some cases Women’s Suffrage and environmentalism are linked. You can read more about these women in Rachel Carson and Her Sisters by Robert K. Musil.

The Sierra Club was established in 1892. At the beginning of the 20th Century, President Theodore Roosevelt furthered the cause and brought it to national attention through establishment of the U.S. Forest Service and the creation of numerous National Parks, National Monuments, bird reserves, and game preserves.

Many people credit Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring published in 1962 with the beginning
of the modern day environmental movement. Denis Hayes organized the first Earth Day on
April 22, 1970. Teach-ins and rallies occurred across the country. In 1990 Earth Day went global and led to a U.N. Earth Summit in 1992. In the U.S., public television’s “Operation Earth” outreach campaign in 1990 offered special environmentally-themed programs, including “Race to Save the Planet,” throughout the year, and local stations, working with community organizations and government agencies, presented additional programs, community events, beach and park clean-ups, concerts, and public service announcements. According to some accounts, it is now the world’s most celebrated secular holiday.

The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Climate Action.” The United Nations has dedicated numerous years to environmental issues; 2020 is the U.N.’s “International Year of Plant Health.”

Arbor Day, celebrated on April 24, is dedicated to planting and conservation of trees. Some
accounts date this holiday to Spain, with a plantation festival in 1594 and the first modern Arbor Day in 1805. The first American Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872 and it is now celebrated, usually with tree-planting, on the last Friday in April.

Environmental Tips

  • Save energy and money by turning off lights when you leave a room.
  • Use vinegar, lemon, and baking soda instead of chemical products for cleaning.
  • Choose local, seasonal produce – patronize the local farmers markets, such as the award-winning Woodstock Farmers Market, that open soon.
  • Use less paper and when you do need to use it, try to use recycled paper.
  • Plant a tree or support tree planting and community gardens.
  • Check out environmental organizations’ websites for additional tips.

Celebrate with Poetry and Prose

See the bibliography that is part of the 9th Annual Invitational Concert Video post.

April is National Poetry Month, so here are some ideas for a dual celebration:

  • Mary Oliver wrote many poems about nature; you can read them in books such as American Primitive, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984.
  • Robert Frost also wrote many poems whose themes spring from nature. “Birches” is one such poem.
  • Read Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees.”
  • Here’s a poem by Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Tricia Alexander which reminded me of how our inner selves can spring to life at this time of year. It seemed especially appropriate at this difficult time:


By Tricia Alexander (used with permission of the author) – You can purchase Tricia’s books and CDs through her website,

inspiration comes more slowly these days
like a brand new spring
bubbling up gently
from some undiscovered depth in me
bringing in its essence
a kind of pure sweetness
and a quiet certainty
that seems to whisper
“she survived”
“she survived”

The Lookout, Myrtle Beach, SC, February 1996

Celebrate with Music

WFF Radio Partner WDCB’s “Folk Festival” show hosted by Lilli Kuzma will feature songs for Earth Day on Tuesday night, April 21, the eve of Earth Day, from 8-11 p.m./CDT on 90.9FM or  Hour 1 will have the most Earth-Day-oriented songs.  The show is archived for 2 weeks at

Magpie, the duo of Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner, performed at our Festival in 2009.  Many of their songs relate to the environment, but “Living Planet” and “Songs for the Earth” are filled with such songs.  You can listen to Magpie singing “We Belong to the Earth” from Seed on the Prairie on YouTube (there’s also a version with WFF Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Kim and Reggie Harris from the Spoken in Love Concert CD online) and you can purchase their CDs via their website,

Songs by many other artists including Malvina Reynolds, Pete Seeger, Joni Mitchell, John Denver, Peter, Paul & Mary, Oscar Brand, and Neil Young; music by the Paul Winter Consort and John Cage; Live Earth Concert from 2007; Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”; and Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”

Fun Recipe for Toasting Earth Day

Provided by Joe Jencks (Joe is scheduled to perform at our July 19, 2020 Festival; in the
meantime, check out online concerts and CDs at

Note: I cook improvisationally much of the time. Instinct and experience. The measurements may vary based on the specific grapefruit. All cooking is experimental.

Take the rind/peel from one large grapefruit (with pith and bits of fruit still attached) and cut each half of the rind in half again. Cut those quarters in to 1/4 to 1/3 in. strips. Measure the volume of the rind/skin loosely. Use about 2.5 times that much water — SO for two cups of rind, use maybe four – five cups of water. Bring the rind and water to a boil in a saucepan for about five – ten minutes. Cover and simmer on low for about another 40-45 minutes. Turn off the stove and let it cool covered for an hour or so.

Strain the rind and pith out, reserving the liquid.

Mix 2 cups of liquid and 2 cups of granulated sugar (regardless of volume, a simple syrup is always about 50/50 liquid and sugar). So maybe start small . . . 1 cup of liquid and 1 cup of sugar. Try it first and see if you like it.

On low heat, slowly and occasionally stirring, bring the syrup just barely up to a simmer.  Then turn off the heat and let it cool.

In a pint glass or large water tumbler, mix a tablespoon or two of the syrup with a splash of lime or lemon juice. I prefer Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice. But whatever you use, only a tiny amount/splash is needed. It just brings a little fresh zip in to support the base grapefruit flavor. Add in tap or fizzy water to fill the rest of the glass. It’s all about what tastes good to you . . . so try various strengths of the syrup.

Also try making the citrus rind infusion with more or less water. the next goround if you prefer it stronger or weaker. And of course it depends on the individual fruit. So outcomes vary a little with each kind of fruit. I used one large Ruby Red Grapefruit peel with nice thick skin. 

Refrigerate the leftover unsweetened infusion for making more syrup or for use in the culinary projects. Refrigerate the syrup as well. Because it has sugar and fresh cooked fruit particulate,
and no preservatives, it will stay stable for about a week or two in a glass jar on the counter, but it will eventually start to ferment, unless refrigerated. 

Use the syrup in glazes for fish, poultry, tofu, whatever. Use it in tea. Use it drizzled on a hot buttered scone or biscuit. I made the same sour of syrup with a combination of Clementine & Minneola orange peels, and used that as part of my sauce for a tofu, vegetable and cashew nut stir-fry. That was yummy too!

You can use this basic recipe to make syrup from any citrus peel. I also do this with fresh ginger root. Make the infusion, strain, 50/50 liquid and granulated sugar. Also YUM. And that syrup is very good in stir-fry and other glazes. The ginger syrup REALLY carries depending on the strength of the ginger. You use a few ounces of fresh ginger to about 4-5 cups of water.  That alone with a pinch of sugar makes a marvelous tea/infusion/hot beverage. Experiment and enjoy!

And… Let me know if you think of new variations or uses for these marvelous not-so-simple syrups! (I will note that for those who partake, they are also a marvelous addition to a gin and

Slainte! – Joe Jencks.


Posted in Reflections & Memories | Leave a comment