Off Square Music in Woodstock, Illinois, sponsors many musical events and programs, helping to make Woodstock the center of musical energy in McHenry County. Our programs include:

  • Year-round indoor live music venues
  • Online/hybrid events
  • Outdoor special events
  • Open mics
  • Music for the award-winning Woodstock Farmers Market

Musicians and non-musicians, local and non-local, gather here to celebrate music and the Woodstock area.

Off Square Music is a non-profit organization, started in 2003. Our mission is to help local artists share their music and build the best music community in the country. We rely on your generous support to achieve our goals, so please consider donating using the buttons on our website.

The Off Square Music Story …

Off Square Music brings local and distant musicians together in Woodstock to play music of many genres. Musicians and non-musicians alike come to our area to hear, learn about, and enjoy wonderful music and the ambiance of a unique town, Woodstock, Illinois.

Off Square Music began in 2003 when the Mast House could no longer host formal concerts. While the Mast House continued to host a very popular open mic and sing-a-long series, Off Square Music needed other venues where we could sell tickets and pay performers.

The Mast House Concert Committee at that time included John Hoyt, David Ashby, and Keith Johnson. The group applied for a federal tax number and the journey began. Judy Matzen soon joined us, then a few years later Roger Benson was onboard. Judy and Keith wrote the 501-C-3 application, organizing us as a corporation in the state of Illinois.

What We Do

From this small beginning, Off Square Music began to host other kinds of events. Currently, we sponsor:

  • First Wednesday Concert Series
  • Sundays on the Square
  • Stage Left Open Mic
  • All-Original Open Mic at Stage Left
  • Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic
  • Music at the Market

The 2021-22 Off Square Music board includes Andy Andrick, Kent Fishburn, Keith Johnson, Laurel Palma, Joe Pesz, Rich Prezioso, and Jeremy Simon.

Off Square Music is a Woodstock nonprofit folk music organization.  We dedicate ourselves to promoting live music.

Want More Information?

  • Visit our website frequently
  • Sign up for our mailing list, right column of every page of our site, and
  • Check out Off Square Music on Facebook (@offsquaremusic.org), Twitter (@OffSquareMusic), Instagram (offsquaremusic), and YouTube.

We Welcome And Rely On Donations

If you would like to donate to our ongoing program and activities or to particular musicians who work with us, then use the Donate buttons in the left column of any page of this site. Off Square Music thanks you for your support!

How to Perform at Off Square Music Events

To promote and support our performers in the best way possible in all our venues, we ask that all current and future performers visit this page (or click on the button below) to complete a one-time informational form. Once you submit that form, you can return to the same page any time to request a performance spot in any of our venues. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Virtual Open Mics only? If you perform only at our Zoom Open Mics, we’d still love to know a little about you. And we’d like to point you to our Setup Guidelines for Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic performers (or click on the Button below).

Current COVID-19 Guidelines (updated 3/29/2022)

Masks and vaccinations are recommended but not required. Please be thoughtful!

Off Square Music Current Activities and Programs

OPEN MICS

Stage Left Open Mic

Beginning January 2022, Stage Left Open Mics meet the second Wednesday of every month, Woodstock, Illinois.
Beginning January 2022, Stage Left Open Mics meet the second Wednesday of every month, Woodstock, Illinois.

Beginning January 2022, the Stage Left Open Mic meets on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 7 – 11 pm at Stage Left Cafe, 125 Van Buren St. on the historic Woodstock Square.

The Stage Left Open Mic from Off Square Music is a monthly event in Woodstock. Performers — musicians, singers, poets and others — come together to connect with a live audience in a wonderful, family-friendly environment.

Whether you’re just starting out as a performer or are a seasoned veteran, Open Mic nights feature a supportive atmosphere. Stage Left, part of the Woodstock Opera House, offers more support with an exceptional performance space and sound system.

These Open Mics meet 7 – 11 pm, Stage Left Cafe, 125 Van Buren St. on the historic Woodstock Square on the SECOND WEDNESDAY of every month.

Off Square requests a $5.00/pp donation to support our many music activities, including these Stage Left Open Mic nights.

Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic

Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic brought to you by Off Square Music.
Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic brought to you by Off Square Music.

Our Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic from Off Square Music started when we couldn’t get together for live music and stayed when we went back to live performances. They bring together long-time friends and expand our music world and friendships way beyond the boundaries of Woodstock.

Want to hear some great music (or share your own) without having to leave the comfort of your home? Then these virtual open mics are for you!

Every Saturday, Off Square Music hosts a virtual open mic featuring performers from our community and beyond. We typically feature six-eight people every week. Each person performs two songs or a ten-minute set (whichever is less). Doors open at 6:30 pm, and the music starts at 7:00 pm, usually running until 8:15 or 8:30 pm. People are welcome to hang out and chat after the music.

How to Participate 

If you are already on the Off Square Music mailing list, you don’t have to do a thing. If you would like to join our mailing list then visit our website and sign yourself up with the short form in the right column of every page of the site. Be sure to check the “Every Saturday Virtual Open Mic List”. You will receive a weekly reminder email with the link to join “Every Saturday.” We record these sessions, so you will also receive a follow-up email with a link to the recording so you can enjoy the evening all over again!

All-Original Open Mic

Our All-Original Open Mic at Stage Left Cafe features original songwriters, poets, storytellers, and composers. We are delighted to showcase these artists in a warm, welcoming community setting.

All performance styles are welcome as long all material is original and the performance is family-friendly.

All-Original Open Mics meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month, Stage Left Cafe,125 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock, 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Stage Left Cafe offers an exceptional performance space and sound system for these events.

There are twelve spots at each open mic. Reservations to perform are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Join us for these wonderful evenings of family-friendly entertainment. There is a nominal cover charge at the door.

Please read these Covid regulations provided by the Opera House for all events at Stage Left Cafe. All participants and audience members must be fully vaccinated and offer documentation (a vaccination card) on entry. All participants must wear a mask when not on stage performing. Thank you for complying with these requirements and ensuring a safe, healthy environment for everyone.

CONCERTS AND EVENTS

Off Square Music hosts multiple concert series.
Off Square Music hosts multiple concert series.

Off Square Music sponsors several types of concerts and concert series.

The 1st Wednesday Concert Series (in 2021, 4th Friday Concerts at Home) features touring musicians and bands. For 2022, we have scheduled two dates so far, March 2 and May 4. These concerts are held at Stage Left Cafe, 125 Van Buren St., Woodstock. All concerts begin at 7:30 pm.

There is a suggested donation of $15.00/pp for these concerts.

Sundays on the Square in 2022 run every Sunday, June 26 – Sept 4, except for July 17 (the Woodstock Folk Festival is always scheduled the third Sunday in July).

Enjoy some great bands from 5:00 – 7:00 pm on the historic Woodstock Square, Cass & Van Buren Streets, Woodstock IL 60098. On June 26, though, we’ll kick off the season with music from noon to 7:00 pm as part of Woodstock’s Summer in the Park.

Shows vary, some with one and some with two acts, featuring local, regional, and national talent. Among the confirmed shows for this year are The Sons of the Never Wrong, Arranmore, Corner Boys, and Honey Cellar. 

Hopefully restaurants on the Square will be open on these evenings and will have carry-out items, but please confirm with specific places. Of course you can bring your own food items and picnic on the Square — and be sure to bring chairs!

Sunday evenings on the Square are always a memorable part of summer in the Woodstock area. Put the dates on your calendar now, and watch for updates and specifics on the bands as they come available. Better yet, subscribe to the calendar on this site (lower right corner of the calendar pages).

Concerts. Off Square Music co-sponsors concerts from time to time. Our most recent co-sponsorships were with the Woodstock Opera House and included, among others:

In 2022, we offer four concerts on a quarterly basis. Watch for more information on the website. If you enjoy great music and fun times out in Woodstock with friends, we welcome you to join us!

MUSIC AT THE MARKET

Music at the Market, brought to you by Off Square Music, is a parade of wonderful performers at the Woodstock Farmers Market. What a great way to shop for local seasonal produce and locally crafted items, enjoying the music while you greet friends.

Every week we feature musical performances from local artists. The music styles range from country to pop to jazz. Many are solo performances but we also have several full bands. We’ve had performers from as far away as Germany play for us at the Square.

Woodstock Farmers Market summer season

The Woodstock Farmers Market has vendors surrounding the Historic Woodstock Square on all four sides as well as throughout the park in the center of the Square. Saturday market runs from April-October, and Tuesday market runs from June-September. Market hours are 8 a.m.-1 p.m. We are a Producers Only Market, meaning everything you purchase is grown or produced directly by the vendor you are purchasing from.

Woodstock Farmers Market winter season

The Woodstock Farmers Market winter market is held in Building “D” at the McHenry County Fairgrounds. Along with our usual farm market offerings, we will have several Artisans at each market. The market runs mid-October through April on select Saturdays. Market hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The winter market gathers on select Saturdays in Building “D” at the McHenry County Fairgrounds. There was not be live music at the indoor market during the 2021-22 winter season due to COVID-19 concerns.

Hope to see you at the Market!

HARVEST FEST

Harvest Fest has been an annual Woodstock event for 24 years.

Sponsored by Off Square Music, this event brings in both local and regional performers to entertain audiences on the historic Woodstock Square and has been the start of more than one musical career.

And there’s lots more . . .

Off Square Music co-hosts, co-sponsors, partners with, assists and supports many other local organizations and events in a variety of ways. Be sure to sign up for our emails so you can stay up-to-date on all our events. Use the Email Sign-Up form in the right column of every page of our site.