A folk tradition
The 27th annual Woodstock Folk Festival will return to the Square from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 15. This year’s festival, hosted by Rick Warren and Chuck VanderVennet, will showcase artists from around the country.
Taking the stage will be Kate MacLeod and Kat Eggleston, actor/musician Tim Grimm, Rj Cowdery, Joe Jencks, Anne Hills, grammy-award winning artist Tom Paxton and local favorites Small Potatoes. At the end of the day, the artists will lead an all-sing finale.
The festival, funded through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, donations, and sponsorship from the City of Woodstock and Unity Spiritual Center, also will feature a children’s area with concerts, arts and crafts; open mic opportunities at Stage Left Cafe; and a ukulele workshop with ukulele “Wizard,” teacher and performer Lil’ Rev.
The Georgia Rae Family Band will be the featured entertainment on the Stage Left Cafe’ Open Mic Stage. Described as “bluegrass with an edge,” the family band consists of mother Roni Mussared and her three daughters, Georgia Rae, Quin and Kelly Jo. While the entire band is talented, the band centers around 13 year-old fiddler Georgia Raye, who took first place in the adult division at Harvest Fest in Woodstock, and first place in the junior division at the East Troy Bluegrass Fest 2010 and 2011.
“The quality and variety of music is amazing. We will have some of the best performers in the country,” said Folk Festival president and secretary Carol Obertubbesing.
Attendees can expect to hear a mix of diverse music with a blend of Americana, folk, country and Celtic vibes.
The Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to folk music legend Tom Paxton. In collaboration with the Woodstock Opera House, Paxton also will perform at the Opera House at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14.
“Tom Paxton is a legend in his own time,” said Obertubbesing.
“He has some of the best sing-along songs in the folk world.”
Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso of Small Potatoes look forward to the Woodstock Folk Festival, and to joining Paxton, who they’ve shared the stage with in the past
“We’re not only playing at the festival on Sunday, but also the day before at the Woodstock Opera House … before Tom at the Opera House [and] immediately after Tom at the festival,” said Manning.
“He keeps you on your toes during the show … there’s always some point where you sit back and look over and think, ‘Holy cow! I’m standing up here playing with Tom Paxton!’ It is always an honor and a thrill.”
Due to limited space, Folk Festival attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. In year’s past, the event has attracted hundreds of guests.
“It’s a special year with a great lineup,” said singer and songwriter Anne Hills, who uses her music to support social causes such as cancer and Alzheimer’s research and suicide prevention.
“There’s a reason why folk music is called the people’s music … the traditional songs have a historical value [and] touch on all aspects of the human condition. The political songs, past or present, reveal the human spirit and our striving toward a better world.
“It’s going to be a great festival.”
This will be Hill’s second performance at the festival. She has collaborated with Paxton in the past – singing harmonies on a few of his recordings and touring with him and musician Bob Gibson in a trio called “The Best of Friends.”
“Tom’s songs have a wide range of emotions as well as subjects … he’s a master writer,” she said.
During the festival, onsite vendors will include Tasty Dawgs and CD and book sellers. All proceeds and donations will go toward next year’s event. Obertubbesing encourages people to “make a weekend of it” as Woodstock will have a lot happening around town July 14 and 15.
“It will be a great time for the community and its businesses,” said Obertubbesing.
“I’m thankful for the support. I’d like to thank the board members – Andy Andrick, Ray Beth, Neal Brown, Martha Hoar and Annemarie Serra for all their efforts. I’d also like to thank the Woodstock Opera House, they’ve been involved since the beginning.”
Admission to the festival will be $15 per individual, $25 for a family and $10 for seniors/students. In case of rain, the festival will be held at Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock, 225 W. Calhoun St.
For information, call 815-479-4848 or visit www.woodstockfolkfestival.org.