1. Why did you decide to put on a Woodstock 40th anniversary tribute concert in McHenry County?
The idea first came from Michael’s wife, Joeleen. ( Joeleen teaches 7th grade math at Mc Henry Middle School. ) Since we are just up the road from Woodstock it seemed like a natural. That is, A Woodstock “Tribute” in Woodstock, Illinois. How cool is that?
Our event marks the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock concert which was held in upstate New York. Curiously, although the event is known as “Woodstock” it was actually held on Max Yasker’s farm near Bethel, New York. Not Woodstock. Our event is on exactly the same weekend, only 40 years later. August 14 & 15.
Two years ago we hosted a “Summer of Love” concert with Iron Butterfly and Canned Heat. Canned Heat performed at the original Woodstock 1969 festival. Iron Butterfly was scheduled to perform but because of the crowd of almost 500,000, they were unable to reach the stage.
Meeting and working with the members of Canned Heat and their long-time manager Skip Taylor, and hearing about their adventures with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the other now world-famous bands, may have been Joeleen’s inspiration.
2. How did you find the tribute bands?
We started searching for the best tribute bands in the country soon after our “Summer of Love” concert in 2007. Thanks to the internet and the assistance of agent Richard Lustig, we were able to search every state in the union as well as abroad. In the end, we booked bands from across the nation including New York City, Utah, Ohio and Florida. We reviewed CD’s, videos, mp3’s, mySpace pages and so on. In brief, it took us more than a year to locate and vet the bands, negotiate fees, coordinate travel and lodging and sign contracts.
3. Why should local residents come out to the festival?
We have a beautiful, family-friendly venue. In addition, with consideration for the current economic climate, we have purposefully established inexpensive ticket prices, in order to make the concerts available to virtually everyone. That is, on Friday night, when three bands are playing, tickets are only $20.00. On Saturday, when five bands will perform, the cost is $30.00. And, the cost for the entire weekend is only $40.00. These relatively low prices will allow many people to see our show who would not ordinarily be willing to spend $100.00, or more, to attend concerts in any of the large metropolitan venues, where the cost of parking alone can exceed our ticket price.
Having mentioned the practical aspects, there are really two primary reasons people will come to the Woodstock “Tribute” event:
First and foremost, they will come for the music. Everyone, young and old, knows and loves the music of the Woodstock era. Many will know the words to every song. Even teenagers are “into” classic rock from the Woodstock era. Friday night will begin with tributes to Jimi Hendrix, followed by Lauren Burnel as Janis Joplin with the ‘Abraxis’ tribute to Carlos Santana closing the first night of the weekend. On Saturday, five bands will perform tributes to The Grateful Dead, Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Alan Kaye’s tribute to Joe Cocker will close the show with everyone on stage singing “I get by with a little help from my friends”. This will prove to be an inspiring moment.
Next, and perhaps most important, will be the opportunity for people to capture the spirit of peace and love that defined the original festival where over 500,000 people participated in America’s largest ever peaceful gathering. Our event promises to commemorate the 40th anniversary of America’s most significant cultural experience. Woodstock was a celebration of peace & love. And . . . music that changed the world and defined a generation.
4. What are you looking forward to during the festival?
We are hopeful about everyone sharing a wonderful experience together. Given the state of the economy and the uncertain if not dangerous condition of the world today, the chance for people to acknowledge and celebrate America and what Woodstock stands for will be a welcomed opportunity for us all. Plus, seeing these bands, people dancing, enjoying themselves and hearing the music we love will be a blast!