The 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival — Thank You, Thank You!

The 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival RETURNED TO THE HISTORIC WOODSTOCK SQUARE on the third Sunday in July. The All-Sing resounded across the Square. Rich Prezioso & Jacquie Manning in front.

A Message from Board President and Festival Producer Carol Obertubbesing

The 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival RETURNED TO WOODSTOCK SQUARE on Sunday, July 17, 2022 from Noon to 6:00 p.m. What a day it was!

We are very glad that we presented two virtual Festivals, a virtual concert, a virtual tribute to Bill Staines, and 10 months of our weekly short performance series Woodstock Wednesdays. BUT it was a thrill to be back in person and see so many smiling faces! Your presence made organizing this Festival worthwhile.

Your ongoing donations allow us to continue to provide the extraordinary performers you heard on July 17. We appreciate your generosity. It will help fund next yearʼs Festival.

The 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival — did you miss it? Or want more?

You can check out who was there and the schedule of events HERE. You will also find links to all the performers’ own websites.

And watch for news of a one-hour sampler that will soon be available in the Video Gallery on our website.

And now…many thanks to all those who helped with the 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival

Thank you to Amy Beth and the late Melodee Ladd for co-founding this Festival in 1986 and to all who have served on its Board over the years.

Thank you to our current hard-working board members:

  • Dorothy Biris
  • Julie Roberts
  • Jim Young 

Thank you to these former Board members for their ongoing assistance:

  • Andy Andrick
  • Betsy Ducote
  • Mary Lewis
  • Sandra South
  • Kathy Wentz

Thank you to all our performers who gave us such a memorable afternoon of music. Review the complete list with program and additional information HERE:

Thank you to our Performer Coordinator, Bekah Levin.

We’re especially thankful to Jim Gary, who did a CD featuring the songs of Michael Peter Smith, for joining us to lead “The Dutchman” today. 

A special thank you to Tricia Alexander who did such a marvelous job organizing and coordinating the All-Sing, hallmark of our Festival. She also introduced each song and the musicians who led them. There is no one I know who brings together music, healing, community, and love as well as Tricia Alexander. Tricia, thank you for all you have do for the Festival and what you do throughout the year for our music community. You are one of Woodstock’s treasures.

Thank you to The City of Woodstock for allowing us to use this beautiful Square and for a City grant that helped us advertise the Festival and the other weekend events.

  • Mayor Turner, City Manager
  • Roscoe Stelford III
  • Members of the City Council, and City Hall staff including 
    • Jane Howie
    • Betsy Cosgray
    • Terry Willcockson 

Thank you to so many for your roles in producing this wonderful day of music:

  • Everyone at the Woodstock Opera House (Daniel Campbell, Joe McCormack, Betsy Cosgray and other Opera House staff)
  • Stage Left Cafe
  • Real Woodstock
  • The City of Woodstock
  • The Arts & Culture for Woodstock Fund
  • Read Between the Lynes bookstore for inviting Tia McGraff to do a reading and book signing yesterday
  • Off Square Music (Andy Andrick, Kent Fishburn, Don Humbertson, Keith Johnson, Laurel Palma, Joe Pesz, Rich Prezioso, and Jeremy Simon) for sound, video, and other assistance in producing the Festival and other activities through the year
  • Chuck Vandervennet and Rich Warren for co-hosting at the Main Stage
  • Mark Lyons and Gloria Burchfield for co-hosting the Stage Left Open Mic Stage and the volunteers there
  • Kathy and Patrick Wentz for managing CD sales

Thank you to those who helped promote the Festival in various ways:

  • Denice Beck for designing our Festival flyers and postcards
  • Sonia Callas Mesa for managing our monthly emails
  • Chuck and Rich
  • Radio Partners
    • Lilli Kuzma at WDCB/ 90.9FM
    • Marilyn Rea Beyer and Rich Warren at WFMT/98.7FM
    • Sue Kessell, Ron Lewis, and Kathy Kelly at WNUR/ 89.3
    • WNIJ
    • Folk Music Notebook
  • The Woodstock Independent for their coverage throughout the year
  • Copy Express for their assistance throughout the year

Thank you to these artisans for their contributions:

  • Kim Brix for creating our glass Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Tom Mark for creating the wooden plaque for our “Woody” Award

Thank you to all our supporters, especially:

  • Sponsors 
    • Steve and Margaret Mikus 
  • Friends of the Festival 
    • Gloria Anderson
    • David Child and Carol Ganzer
    • Nancy Clark
    • Antonia Faia
    • Joan and Parker Foley
    • Judith Freeman
    • Lilli Kuzma
    • Barbara Lewis
    • Sandra Ligh
    • Bruce Rosenberg
    • Debbie Solomon
    • Annemarie Serra
    • Jeremy Simon 
    • The Lake County Folk Club
  • All others who donated at the Festival or online. Your ongoing contributions are important for funding next year’s Festival.

Thank you also to those who helped out during the 2020 and 2021 years:

  • Mike Breen
  • Leslie Cook
  • Steve Mikus
  • Rich Prezioso
  • Mary Sherman
  • Joel Simpson

Thank you to these restaurants and other businesses that remained open today:

  • Expressly Leslie Vegetarian Specialities
  • Double Yolk
  • La Placita
  • Millie’s Michoacana
  • Ethereal Confections
  • DC Cobbs
  • Read Between the Lynes Bookstore
  • Warp Corps
  • Artisans on Main (the Old Court House Art Gallery is closed during building renovation)
  • Material Things Artisan and Gift Shop

Last but definitely not least, thanks to Pitel Brothers for supplying the portapotty.

We remembered these…

This year we dedicated the All-Sing to some of the members of our music community who passed since our last in-person Festival in 2019. This list is by no means comprehensive. 

First and foremost, two of our previous Lifetime Achievement Award recipients:

  • Michael Peter Smith
  • Bill Staines. 

Also, those who were part of our Illinois folk community or had strong ties to it:

  • Barbara Barrow
  • Dennis Cahill
  • Karl Matzen
  • Mighty Joe
  • Ethel Polk
  • John Prine
  • Jim Schwall
  • Chris Strong
  • Ed Trickett

We honored these…

Woody Award

First, a thank you to Tom Mark of Rockford Woodcrafts for making the plaque for our “Woody” Award.

The Woody Award, awarded this year to Keith Johnson. The Woody Award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the music community outside the performance area. In some cases, such as this year, they are also musicians, but their major contributions have been outside the performance area.

Keith also served as Director of the Woodstock Farmers Market, and in that capacity ,he greatly expanded the size, variety, and reputation of this award-winning Market. He initiated Music at the Market, and on the day before the Festival, we were treated to performances by Suzy Schwartz and Cheryl & the Down Home Boys. Former WFF Board member Mike Breen, Sharon Arnold who has performed at Festival concerts, and Dave Martin were there the following Tuesday morning. The Saturday after the Festival featured Mark & Jean (Mark Lyons co-hosted the Festival Open Mic) as well as the Kishwaukee Ramblers.

Through Off Square Music, Keith also was involved with starting the Sunday evening concerts on the Square. He is also a major force behind Woodstock’s Harvest Fest, particularly the music contests and performances.

Whether it’s organizing events, doing sound, speaking out on behalf of the arts in our community, or encouraging both new and seasoned performers, Keith is truly “THE man about town.” We recognized Keith’s wife Nancy Johnson, also at the Festival.

19th Annual Lifetime Achievement Award

Again, first a thank you to Kim Brix for creating a beautiful glass award.

The Annual Lifetime Achievement Award, given this year to Megon McDonough, was to have gone to her first in 2020, then in 2021. Now we can finally do this in person today.

Megon was part of our 2020 virtual Festival and participated in the Zoom part of last year’s Festival. The first time I heard Megon was at a concert at the Chicago Cultural Center, and I knew we needed to present her here. She has performed at the Festival and the Opera House several times since then.

Of course, Megon is known across the country as a founding member of the Four Bitchin’ Babes and as a solo artist. She grew up in Crystal Lake and has even written a song about her travel between there and Woodstock.

Her eclectic repertoire includes folk, country, cabaret, and jazz. She also starred in the play, Always, Patsy Cline, and this past week she did a musical memoir at the Skokie Theatre.

The 30th Anniversary of Small Potatoes

Small Potatoes is the duo of Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso. From Celtic to Cowboy, these singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists have taken us on a musical journey as they too have traveled in this country and overseas. Rich is also active as a solo performer and performed with The Leftovers for many years. He has edited our virtual Festivals, 2020 concert, and Bill Staines virtual tribute. In addition to honoring Bill in that video, he and Jacquie will lead us in Bill Staines’ song “River” during the All-Sing Finale.

Because their garden is a source of joy for them, we have a gift certificate from Countryside Nursery for Rich and Jacquie.

Music, a path to healing and community

Music is a way of healing, and with so much divisiveness and strife in our own country and around the world, we hope it is also a way to build community.

In spite of our differences, singing brings us together and can be a very powerful force in building bridges among people, cultures, and countries.

Again, our heartfelt thanks to each and every person who helped to make the 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival such a beautiful return to the Woodstock Square.

Thanks for coming and for your continued support!

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