Musicians from all over North America will converge on the Woodstock Square from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 16, for the 32nd annual Woodstock Folk Fest.
Music enthusiasts – and anyone open to experiencing a wide range of genres and artists – have an opportunity to experience music ranging from stunning fiddle and guitar instrumentals to beautifully crafted lyrics, performing Celtic, bluegrass, blues, fingerstyle guitar, Americana, down-home swing and both traditional and contemporary folk music.
“We continue to grow in the area of diversity with an eclectic variety of music,” said Carol Obertubbesing, president of the Woodstock Folk Fest.
Award-winning radio host Rich Warren, known for “The Midnight Special” and “Folkstage” programs on WFMT-FM and longtime emcee Chuck VanderVennet will co-host the Main Stage, located in the park in the Woodstock Square. Guests should bring chairs or blankets to sit on, but be aware that pets are permitted only on the perimeter of the park.
The Main Stage line-up will include at noon, David Hawkins; 12:30 p.m., Bettman & Halpin; 1:15 p.m., Joan & Joni; 2 p.m., Michael Johnathon; 2:45 p.m., Mari Black; 3:30 p.m. Pat Donohue; 4:15 p.m., The Malvinas; 5 p.m., Lifetime Achievement Award and Performance by Small Potatoes; 5:30 p.m., all-sing finale led by David Hawkins.
In addition to the Main Stage performances, Stage Left Café, 124 Van Buren St., will host the Stage Left Café Open Mic. Sign-up starts at 12:05 p.m. Gloria Burchfield and Mark Lyons will be the hosts with Briar Road (Dan Zahn, Kate Moretti and Rusty Winchel) as the featured performers.
Open Mic performances will take a break from 2:15 to 3 p.m. for a 45-minute free ukulele workshop presented by Mark Lyons. Participants should bring their own instruments.
A children’s area with hands-on activities for children to sample will be offered.
This year, the Woodstock Folk Festival will present its annual Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award to Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, also known as Small Potatoes.
“I prefer to say we’re giving it to them with their names more than their identity as Small Potatoes,” said Obertubessing.
The husband and wife team from Cary are well-known on the local music scene, but they also tour all over the U.S. and internationally. They are talented songwriters, and they have taught countless musicians throughout the years and led tours in Ireland. Locally Prezioso is part of Stage Leftovers, a group that performs on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Stage Left Café. Obertubbesing describes the pair as multi-talented multi-instrumentalists.
“One of the things I like is how they have a mix of styles from Celtic to folk to rock,” Obertubbesing said.
The Folk Festival has had the support of several local radio stations, with guest broadcasts featuring some of the featured artists in the weeks preceding the event.
The fest is an outdoor event with all performances held in the Park in the Square. Since the weather cannot be controlled, Unity Spiritual Center, 225 W. Calhoun, two blocks southeast of the Square, is the alternate rain location.
“The biggest influence on our attendance is the weather,” said Obertubbesing, “but we haven’t figured out how to control that yet.”
Admission to the Sunday festival is a suggested donation of $15 for adults, $25 for a family and $10 for students and senior citizens. For information and a full schedule of performers, visit woodstockfolkfestival.org.