The Musikfest experience: 34th annual Bethlehem event adds new venues, attractions
The 34th annual Musikfest, Aug. 4-13, features more than 400 performers from the United States, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, The Netherlands, Scotland and South Korea, performing on 16 stages on the north and south sides of Bethlehem.
Headlining the Sands Steel Stage at PNC Plaza are ticketed concerts: Carlos Santana, Aug. 4; Chicago, Aug. 5; Father John Misty, Aug. 6; Live, Aug. 7; Aloe Blacc, Aug. 8; Godsmack, Aug. 9; Toby Keith, Aug. 10; The Band Perry, Aug. 11; Lee Bice, Justin Moore, Aug. 12, and Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson, Aug. 13.
Musikfest highlights include the new Experienceplatz venue featuring the Architects of Air attraction, the Martin Guitar Stage at Yuengling Lagerplatz, and expanded visual arts activities at the Spark Orthodontics Familienplatz family venue, now in the Colonial Industrial Quarter. Here are highlights of Musikfest 2017:
The Martin Guitar Stage at Yuengling Lagerplatz, the festival’s 16th and newest performance stage, will have more than 40 acoustic sets by festival artists, while also giving event attendees the opportunity to perform during open mic sessions.
Performers include Nalani & Sarina, twin sisters who recently won The Freshmen contest on mtvU with their video “Get Away”; country singer Erin Kelly; the female-fronted power-pop band Summer Scouts, and singer-songwriter Anthony Cubbage.
The Experienceplatz venue, Main and Lehigh streets, features the new Architects of Air art installation, Wireless Disco, daily busker performances and interactive activations from festival partners Think Energy, Rothrock Motors and PNC Bank.
Katena Luminaria, an art installation the size of half of a football field, welcomes visitors to Experienceplatz. Visitors experience light and color as they walk through a maze of winding paths and under 30-foot-tall domes.
Architects of Air, designed by British artist Alan Parkinson, has been described as “walking through a stained glass window.”
There are 10 new artisans at Handwerkplatz. The 40-plus talented artisans offer everything from needlework quilts to handmade book bags.
Close Act Theater
Close Act Theatre returns with the stilt performance, “Birdmen,” 6 and 9 p.m. Aug. 7 - 9, Main and Spring streets. Catch these huge, illuminated animals as they rove the streets of Bethlehem. Also, “Per-Q” recreates a 19th century marching band, 6 and 8 p.m. Aug. 10-12.
Teams of comedians show off their skills at standup, improv and sketch-concept comedy, 11:15 p.m. Aug. 6, Fowler Blast Furnace Room, ArtsQuest Center, with the winning team getting its own SteelStacks show in the fall.
This year, Musikfest is offering community art projects, Discover Workshops for Adults, artist demos and interactive activities that will engage festival-goers of all ages. Visitors will also have opportunities to win tickets to the Crayola Experience and bring their creations to life with the Crayola Color Magic Station.
Festival-goers can help make sculpture come to life with Michael Bianco and the NCC Fab Lab as they spin colorful fabric panels to transform Familienplatz and the Historic Industrial Quarter into a color-shaded playground.
Inspired by earth, wind, water and fire, local fiber artists teamed up with the Knitter’s Edge, Bethlehem, to create the “Four Elements Fiber Art Installation,” knitted, crocheted and woven pieces that hang from the trees and create an artistic refuge from the sun.
See the creative process in action, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. daily as Banana Factory Resident Artists and local teaching artists demonstrate art-making techniques and processes.
This year, nine new food vendors have been added to the Musikfest lineup, featuring six food trucks, the first appearance of Hellertown Crossroads Hotel and Musikfest’s first all-vegan vendor, Try Vegan. Grumpy’s World B Que, a South Whitehall Township-based restaurant, is back for the first time since 2010 with an all-new food truck.
Test your engineering and science skills with activities developed by the DaVinci Science Center as a part of the educational program, “America’s First Industries: Along the Monocacy Creek,” noon - 4 p.m. Aug. 4-13, highlighting the Moravian settlers.
Through photography and oral history recording, “Mugshots,” 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Aug. 4 - 13, Goundie House, 501 Main St., Bethlehem, captures the impact of Musikfest, the festival that has transformed Bethlehem for 10 days each August since 1984
Information: musikfest.org; 610-332-1300