Calendar of Folk Music Events
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38th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival
July 16 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT
Your guide to a great day of music at the 38th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival
The 38th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival is coming to town, Sunday, July 16. As in past years, we gather on the historic Square in Woodstock, Illinois, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago. Mark your calendars now for Noon to 6 p.m.
The rain location on that day is Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock, 225 W. Calhoun St, corner of Tryon, 2 blocks southwest of the Square.
As in past years, we will present local and national musicians who perform in a variety of styles: traditional and contemporary folk, Americana, roots, soul, and blues
And we will honor Jack Williams with our Lifetime Achievement Award and Delmark Records, which celebrates its 70th Anniversary this year, with our “Woody” Award.
The Performance Schedule and other information is below. We will update here as things change. But first…
Before the Festival
“In Old Chicago” by Jamie O’Reilly and Ensemble
Leading up to the Festival, on Friday evening, July 7, the Woodstock Folk Festival joins Off
Square Music in presenting Jamie O’Reilly in her acclaimed “In Old Chicago” show.
Presented as an Off Square On Air concert/interview, the event begins at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at Stage Left Cafe, 125 W Van Buren Street, on the historic Square in Woodstock, Illinois.
Part memoir, part concert, “In Old Chicago” features songs from the front parlor to the music hall sung in Jamie’s lush, signature style.
In stories and poetry, Jamie & Co. relate the rich history of her Irish American ancestors who were a vital part of Chicago’s cultural and political landscape as a great city came of age.
Jamie will be joined by John Erickson on piano as well as Judi Cogan Heikes, Christopher O’Reilly, and Victor Holstein.
Then the following weekend, Sunday, July 16, join us for more great music at the 38th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival.
More information as well as in-person and hybrid tickets are available on the Off Square Music website.
After the Festival
A one-hour video sampler will be available anywhere in the world via the Festival website Gallery Page in the Festival folder after the in-person Festival.
The 38th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival…here’s the lineup
Once again the Festival features local, national, and international artists performing in a variety of musical styles.
- This year’s Main Stage Co-Hosts are CWFMT Folk DJ Marilyn Rea Beyer, WNUR Folk DJ Sue Kessell and our long-time Festival MC Chuck VanderVennet.
- Our 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient is Jack Williams, pictured below.
- This year’s “Woody” Award goes to Delmark Records on their 70th Anniversary
Julia Miller accepting the award for Delmark Records. Blues artist Jimmy Burns will
perform as part of the tribute to Delmark.
- Mark Dvorak will open the Festival and lead the All-Sing Finale.
Performer profiles are below the Schedule.
|12:00pm||Mark Dvorak (Chicago) |
“Chicago’s official troubadour”
WFF Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
Leads this year’s All-Sing Finale
|12:30pm||Nina Ricci (Nashville, TN)|
Modern Folk, Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist. Berklee-educated.
|1:15pm||Dean Milano (Chicago) & Julianne Macarus (Ohio)|
Singer-Songwriter-Musician-Author (Dean) teaming up with
Singer-Songwriter (Julianne) in the latest of 40 years
|2:00pm||Buffalo Rose (Pittsburgh, PA)|
Modern Folk / Americana Band
|2:45pm||Elexa Dawson |
(Oklahoma Native, Kansas-based from the Potawatomi Nation)
Sultry Soul meets Rural Roots
|3:30pm||Deidre McCalla (Georgia)|
Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriter, National Women’s Music Festival Performer
|4:15pm||Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award to |
Jack Williams (Arkansas)
Singer-Songwriter, Musician (guitar and trumpet) & Workshop Leader. Jack has played Folk, Rock, Jazz, R&B, Classical & Pop music of the 30s, 40s & 50s for over 61 years. Performance follows award.
|5:00pm||Presentation of “Woody” Award to |
Delmark Records on their 70th Anniversary
Julia Miller accepting award for Delmark Records;
Jimmy Burns (Chicago, IL) Performing
Soul, Blues Guitarist, Singer-Songwriter from Delmark Records
|5:40pm||All-Sing Finale – Led by Mark Dvorak|
More Festival Favorites
|12:05pm||Woodstock Folk Festival Open Mic at Stage Left Cafe|
Co-Hosts: Gloria Burchfield & Mark Lyons
Sign-up for Open Mic begins promptly at 12:05 p.m. at Stage Left Café.
|1:30-2:00pm||Open Mic Featured Performer: Performance & Workshop with Culture, Arts & Music featuring the music of Harry Belafonte performed on steelpan, a Tribute to Harry Belafonte.|
Pittsburgh-based Buffalo Rose performs modern folk and Americana. This charismatic six person group includes singers Lucy Clabby, Margot Jezerc, and Shane McLaughlin, Malcolm “Mac” Inglis on dobro, Bryce Rabideau on mandolin, and Jason Rafalak on upright bass.
The group takes the singer-songwriter tradition to a new level by crafting original songs which are emotive, meticulously arranged, and inspired by a world of idiosyncratic influences that never let a dull or predictable moment creep in.
They have collaborated with Grammy and WFF Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Tom Paxton. They gleefully combine genres to move acoustic music forward to a new place while never losing sight of its roots.
Buffalo Rose will appear live on “Folkstage” on WFMT/98.7FM/wfmt.com on Saturday night, July 15 from 8-9 p.m./CDT – buffalorosemusic.com/
Chicago-based Jimmy Burns will perform as we celebrate Delmark Records 70th Anniversary.
Founded by Bob Koester in St. Louis in 1953 as Delmar Records, they moved to Chicago in 1958. Koester opened the Jazz Record Mart and moved the company to its basement, renaming it Delmark Records.
Over the years Delmark has released albums by Donald Byrd, Junior Wells, Sleepy John Estes, Buddy Guy, Roosevelt Sykes, and many more including Jimmy Burns.
Koester retired in 1918 and sold the company to musicians Julia A. Miller, President and CEO, and Elbio Barilari, VP and Artistic Director, who will join us to receive this year’s “Woody” Award.
Burns was born in the Mississippi Delta, but has lived most of his life in Chicago. This legendary blues musician who turned 80 this year has also performed doo-wop, R&B, and folk. He also ran a BBQ spot on the West Side of Chicago. delmark.com – jimmyburnsband on Facebook
Kansas-based Oklahoma Native Elexa Dawson (from the Potawatomi Nation) creates community-focused Americana music where sultry soul meets rural roots.
Her debut album Music is Medicine brings her storytelling to life through transcendent melodies connecting land-based musical programming to folk stages. This award-winning songwriter wants you to “Join me on my creative exploration of what it means to be Neshnabe, the Potawatomi’s name for ourselves, meaning originally human, original, created, connected, elemental.”
Elexa also teaches and serves on the Board of Directors of Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM). Elexa will also perform at Two Way Street Coffee House (twowaystreet.org) in Downers Grove, IL on Friday night, July 14 at 8 p.m. – elexadawson.com
Chicago-based Mark Dvorak became interested in folk music after reading a biography of Bob Dylan in high school. He purchased his first acoustic guitar while working in a xylophone factory in LaGrange, IL and enrolled in classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music where he has now taught for over 35 years.
This singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has performed solo and in various other groups including Weavermania!
Dubbed “Chicago’s official troubadour” by WFMT’s Rich Warren, Mark has received the WFF Lifetime Achievement Award and FARM’s Lantern Bearer Award.
In addition to his many CDs, he has also published essays and poems. Performing over 200 dates each year, he has woven the disparate threads of touring musician, educator, and community builder. – markdvorak.com
Georgia-based singer-songwriter Deidre McCalla performs songs that embody hope and
celebration, struggle, loss, and longing — sometimes all in one song!
A Black woman, mother, lesbian, feminist, Deidre has long been in the forefront of Black musicians redefining the understanding of how Black folk do folk.
Her most recent album Endless Grace was the #1 album on Folk Radio Charts in June of last year. In 2023 her song “Shoulder To The Wheel” won the 19th Annual International Acoustic Music Award for Best Folk/Americana/Roots song.
She received a SERFA Award from the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance and her album Don’t
Doubt It is included in the LGBT Collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History and listed by Ms Magazine as one of 25 Classic Women’s Music Albums.
Dean Milano and Julianne Macarus
With over 40 years of making music together, Chicago-area-based Dean Milano and Ohio-based Julianne Macarus are back again.
Julianne began playing violin at the age of six and became the concert mistress of the school orchestra at that time. Throughout her life she’s juggled acting, singing, playing her instruments, directing plays, and writing poetry and songs.
She’s played at many venues from The Earl of Old Town to The Kennedy Center, from The Fox Valley Folk Festival to The Bluebird Cafe. She continues to write, teach, and perform whenever possible.
Dean Milano has been making music in Chicago since 1966, playing bass and singing in numerous bands and shows. He’s played in all genres, but likes to play folk songs whenever he has the opportunity.
He is on the Hall of Fame Committee for the Illinois Museum of Rock & Roll and the Selection Committee for the Model Car Hall of Fame; he is the author of Chicago Music Scene: 1960s & 1970s.
Julianne and Dean will appear on WDCB/90.9FM/wdcb.org’s “Folk Festival” show hosted by Lilli Kuzma on Tuesday night, July 11, probably beginning around 8:15 p.m./CDT. They’ll perform at Cafe Carpe (cafecarpe.com) in Fort Atkinson, WI on Festival Eve.
Dean’s website is www.toys-n-cars.com. Julianne’s website is pending and will be
Nashville-born and bred Nina Ricci was trained at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
In addition to singing and songwriting, she also plays finger-style guitar. One of the new guard of the American folk revival, she heralds songs of the 1960s folk movement and writes a new
chapter with her own songwriter’s voice.
She performs both traditional and original folk songs, entertaining the audience through history and humor, sharing the stories behind the songs and from her experiences on the road as a traveling musician. She has performed at various folk festivals including the North Georgia Folk Festival, the South Florida Folk Festival, the Kansas City Folk Festival, and the Sertoma Bluegrass Festival as well as at Dollywood and in Branson.
Nina busks at various locations in the Southeast. – ninariccimusic.com
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Arkansas-based Jack Williams is a singersongwriter-guitarist who has been playing professionally for 65 years.
Early in his career Jack was influenced by and even played Folk, Rock, Jazz, R&B, Classical & Pop music of the 30s, 40s, and 50s; these influences helped him create original songs over the past 45 years.
His South Carolina roots come through in his vivid songs with a strong sense of place and his
storytelling in an old Southern tradition enhanced by his extraordinary guitar skills.
He plays everywhere from house concerts to music halls, city arts and cultural centers to major festivals such as Newport, Philadelphia, Kerrville, and Ontario.
In addition to leading numerous workshops as he tours the country, he has been on the staff of The Swannanoa Gathering in NC, The Augusta Heritage Center in WV, and WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week in NH; he also co-hosts a semi-annual Music Workshop Weekend near his home in the Ozarks.
He has 10 CDs of original music, a DVD collection of his on-stage performances, and a CD collection of cover songs reflecting major influences on his musical development. He has produced all of his own recordings plus CDs by Mickey Newbury, Ronny Cox, Eric Schwartz, and others. Jack’s songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Tom Jones to David Clayton-Thomas to Lowen & Navarro.
In addition to his solo career, he has accompanied such luminaries as Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow, and Harry Nilsson. Early in his career, his bands accompanied performers such as John Lee Hooker, Jerry Butler, and the Shirelles. Jack Williams’ music, enriched from these varied influences, is a truly All-American Southern music. – jackwilliamsmusic.com
Come for the weekend…
Enjoy the Off Square Music Open Mic on Saturday night July 15 at Stage Left Cafe — as well as Music at the Market (Woodstock Farmers Market) on Saturday morning. Watch the Off Square Music website for details on these bonus music events that weekend.
Gavers Community Cancer Foundation’s Annual Barndance takes place on Saturday night, July 15, from 5 p.m. to Midnight in Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Rd., Woodstock. For more information go to gavers.org.
From Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16, the Woodstock Children’s Summer Theatre will present The SpongeBob Musical – Youth Edition at the Woodstock Opera House on the Square. For more information, go to woodstockoperahouse.com.
How can you help make this one the BEST Festival ever?
The suggested donation for the all-day Sunday Festival is $30 for individuals and $40 for families. There is no pre-registration.
Donations to the Festival are welcome at any time. Please use the Donations tab in the right column of every page of this website to contribute to the success of this year’s Festival. You can also contribute by sending a check made out to Woodstock Folk Festival to P.O. Box 1628, Woodstock, IL 60098.
To volunteer to help with the Festival, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can use your help promoting the Festival!
Help by joining us in promoting the Festival. Please direct others who may be interested to woodstockfolkfestival.org, and spread the word on social media.
Here’s one more thing you can do to make this year’s Festival the best ever:
Use the toolbar below to download and/or print a .pdf flyer you can distribute to organizations and people near you — libraries, religious organizations, businesses, friends.
We greatly appreciate your interest and support!
Tips to make your Festival visit a great success
- Remember to bring a chair or blanket to sit on!
- Pets are not allowed on the Square, only on the perimeter. Please do not leave pets in hot cars.
- Rain Location: Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock, 225 W. Calhoun (at Tryon, a couple blocks SW of the Square)
Located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, Woodstock is easily accessible via Routes i-90, 14, and 120, as well as by the Union Pacific/Northwest Metra train line that runs between Chicago and Harvard with many stops in between.
The Woodstock train station is only one block from Woodstock Square. Handicapped accessible facilities are available.
Want to know more about the Woodstock Folk Festival?
The Woodstock Folk Festival began as a one-time event in 1986 and quickly became an annual event held on the third Sunday of July on the Woodstock Square.
Thank you to our sponsors
The Woodstock Folk Festival (WFF) is a 501(c)(3) Illinois non-profit organization
Made possible in part by Radio Partners WDCB, WFMT, and WNUR, the City of Woodstock and Real Woodstock
Special Thanks to Sponsors Steve & Margaret Mikus