Summertime concerts in Woodstock: Mozart to Grateful Dead tributes

MCHENRY COUNTY, Ill.—The hills are alive with the sound of music! The hills, and the flat places, too, are in McHenry County, Illinois, only an hour’s drive from both Chicago and Milwaukee.
In and near the village of Woodstock, fans will delight in two extraordinarily diverse summertime concert experiences. One occurs every year; the other is unique to 2009.
For three consecutive weekends beginning Aug.1, the 23rd Annual Woodstock Mozart Festival will showcase international artists and conductors performing Mozart’s orchestral and chamber works in the Woodstock Opera House. On historic Woodstock Square downtown, this charming 1880s jewel-box theater is an ideal setting for experiencing music as it was performed in Mozart’s day. Works by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Vivaldi will be heard as well.
Featured this season will be Bulgarian duo pianists Genova and Dimitrov, and Russian-born violin virtuoso Mark Peskanov.
Performances are Saturdays, Aug. 1, 8 and 15 at 8 p.m., and Sundays, Aug. 9, 16 and 23 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices begin at $33, and may be purchased at (815) 338-5300. For show details and directions to Woodstock Opera House, go to
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14 and 15, a totally different, yet enduring, musical style will be celebrated just a few miles outside of Woodstock. Eight cover bands and thousands of music fans will descend on Galt Airport for what promises to be a nostalgic nod to history and a rockin’ good time.
The event is Tribute to Woodstock, an anniversary celebration of the landmark happening on an upstate New York farm exactly 40 years earlier. That historic 1969 weekend is now widely regarded as one of the greatest moments ever in rock ’n’ roll history.
Scheduled to re-create the magic on Galt’s stage are tribute bands for Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Santana and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young—all groups that appeared at the original gathering.
The two-day festival gets under way at 7 p.m., Friday, and 3 p.m., Saturday, and will run late into both evenings. Tickets are $20 for Friday night (three bands), $30 for Saturday afternoon and evening (five bands), or $40 for both days and all eight bands. To purchase tickets, call the box office at (815) 648-4591, ext. 13. For more information and directions to Galt Airport, go to
McHenry County is a short drive northwest of Chicago or southwest of Milwaukee, bordered on the north by Wisconsin, and on the south by I-90. The Fox River winds down from the Chain of Lakes through the towns on the eastern side of the county, while country roads meander the western side.
To turn your Woodstock experience into a great McHenry County weekend getaway, throw in a restaurant or two, an affordable hotel or cozy bed-and-breakfast and some interesting specialty shops. For information about lodging, dining and shopping, phone the McHenry County Convention & Visitors Bureau toll-free at 888-363-6177 or log on to

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