Lots of outdoor concerts normally happen during summertime. COVID-19 hampered some of those plans. But the beat went on for one northern Illinois city.
On a pleasant summer night, people sat in small groups within Woodstock’s town square. They listened to "I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost!"-themed music performed by the Woodstock City Band as part of its 136th Season.
Daniel Campbell is the managing director of the Woodstock Opera House. He said there were thoughts about canceling the series.
“We were trying to make the final decision when Governor Pritzker came out with his reopening plan,” he shared. “And we looked at Phase 4 of that plan and said, ‘You know, if we can get to Phase 4, we could probably find a way to make this work.’”
Campbell said this year’s concerts are a bit different from previous years.
“We ran through several different scenarios and models of how to properly social distance people," he explained." And always at the forefront, I think it should be noted that we were looking at safety first.”
He also said attendance wasn’t an issue. He explained that there’s normally 250 to 300 people and Wednesday night he said he counted about 265.
There is a drive-thru option where people can sit in their cars. Campbell said the average is generally 50 to 70 people. He said most of the people are senior citizens.
Campbell admitted that he had one main concern.
“And my biggest thought or my biggest worry on this was that when we decided to move forward with this that none of the band members would want to participate," he said.
He shared that he thought they would end up with maybe 25 people. But Wednesday’s concert had about 42 performers.
Campbell said the goal is to spread the musicians out as much as possible, but still keep the band’s sound quality the same.
Concerts take place every Wednesday evening. The season ends Aug. 5.
- Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.