Country bands, salute to veterans to kick off season at Oswego’s Venue 1012 this weekend

Whiskeyfist entertains the crowd at Montgomery Fest in 2016.

Oswego events manager Julie Hoffman is overjoyed that temperatures will be well into the 80s this weekend when Venue 1012 opens for the season.

“Yeah, we’re excited. We hope we have thousands of people out there,” Hoffman said. “People are going to want to be in the sun and they’re going to want to enjoy some beverages and dance a little bit and have a good time and kick up their boots.”

The season will open with the Oswego Country Bash on Saturday, which will feature Yorkville’s own Tim Gleason Band as well as the Alika Arlynn Band and Whiskeyfest. The venue, located at 1012 Station Dr. in Oswego, will open at 2:30 p.m. that day followed by six hours of music.

“People are going to want to be in the sun and they’re going to want to enjoy some beverages and dance a little bit and have a good time, kick up their boots.”

—  Oswego events manager Julie Hoffman

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of the summer season. Owned and operated by the village of Oswego, Venue 1012 opened in August 2021. Plans for Venue 1012 started to take shape after local business owner Kevin Fialko donated a 3-acre plot of land to the village.

“He said if you can put this to good use, I’d like to donate it to the village,” Hoffman said. “And one conversation led to the next and the idea of an outdoor amphitheater, which is very common in many communities, came to the surface And so the idea of Venue 1012 was born.”

Last year was Venue 1012′s first full season. Hoffman hopes this season will exceed the estimated 13,000 people that came out to Venue 1012 last year.

Like last year, Venue 1012 will open for the season with Oswego Country Bash followed by the Oswego Pops Orchestra – Tribute to Veterans Concert on Sunday. Hoffman believes the Oswego Country Bash is a great way to kick off the season.

Whiskeyfest also headlined last year’s Oswego Country Bash.

“They did such a great job,” Hoffman said. “They really filled the amphitheater with a lot of emotion and excitement. So we invited them back.”

Gleason is also returning this year with a full band. Also on the bill is the Alika Arlynn Band. She performed at Venue 1012 last year, opening for Hillbilly Rockstarz.

“He has an outstanding voice,” Hoffman said. “And Alika has a voice like Shania Twain.”

She noted that between the three bands, “we have three really, really strong voices and three really strong Chicagoland bands.”

Tickets to Oswego Country Bash are $20 for ages 13 and up, free for active military/veterans as well as patrons ages 12 and under. For tickets and more information, go to

The Oswego Pops Orchestra will perform starting at 3 p.m. Sunday as part of a patriotic tribute honoring the men and women of our nation’s armed forces. Venue 1012 will open at 2:30 p.m. that day.

The event is free. The Oswego American Legion Post #675 will post and retire the colors during the ceremony.

The Oswego Pops Orchestra is an outreach of Springbrook Community Church in Plainfield. As she noted, the tribute evokes a lot of emotions.

“It’s really very moving,” Hoffman said. “I look around the audience and I see a lot of tears at different points in the one-hour program. “It’s very, very creatively put together, especially when they do the salute to the armed forces. They invite those veterans in the audience to stand and they stand at attention and they stand with conviction and with purpose. It’s just really cool to see when you’re in the audience being near that person.”

The rest of the season features weekend concerts, free Thursday night concerts and movies under the stars. Regional acts will perform on select Saturdays with affordable ticket prices.

For a full schedule, go to

Wine Off the Fox will return for a two-day event Labor Day weekend, again raising funds for breast cancer support organizations. Wine Off the Fox will be held on Sept. 1 and 2 and will be the capstone to Venue 1012′s season.

The event will also feature female bands – The PriSSillas, Serendipity and The Jersey Girls.

“It’s 100 percent female bands, everything from the drummers to the lead vocalists to the guitar players,” Hoffman said. “We just think that’s a unique way to put forth an event that benefits breast cancer awareness.”

Wine Off the Fox will also feature wine tasting, food options and a silent auction. Advance tickets are $15-$80, available at