Musikfest · ArtsQuest
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Musikfest Attracts More Than 1.1 Million Visitors to Bethlehem & the Lehigh Valley
August 18, 2014
BETHLEHEM, PA–Ideal weather, coupled with dynamic, new attractions and plenty of great, free music, made the perfect combination for ’fest-goers as Musikfest attracted a near-record number of visitors to Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley this month.
Estimated attendance for Musikfest 2014, which took place Aug. 1-10, is 1,150,000, up more than 15 percent from 2013, when 993,000 people visited the festival. Patrons visited Musikfest from across the country, as well as around the globe, with the festival welcoming individuals from 43 states, as well as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England and Puerto Rico.
Attendance at the Sands Steel Stage main stage, which featured artists such as Keith Urban, The Moody Blues, Steely Dan, Sheryl Crow, The Avett Brothers and Jason Derulo, was 46,919, up from the nearly 41,000 who attended concerts at the main stage in 2013. This included 4,100 attendees at the opening night Craig Thatcher Band with Mike Dugan concert, the first free show at the Musikfest main stage in 15 years. The concert was made possible thanks to the support of Coordinated Health and some performance schedule adjustments by Craig Thatcher’s band, which prevented Musikfest from having the first dark night in the history of its main stage.
“This year Mother Nature truly shined on us, as we had the best weather in many years,” says ArtsQuest President Jeff Parks. “The comfortable evenings and sunny skies on many days, coupled with the diverse festival lineup, led to excellent crowds on a number of days. While the late cancellation at the Sands Steel Stage on Aug. 1 will have a slight impact on the overall financial numbers, it looks like revenues from the festival will definitely be up over 2013, helping to provide additional funding to support our free arts and cultural programming for the community throughout the year.”
During the 2014 edition of Musikfest, 345 artists took the stage, with more than 65 percent of them from the Mid-Atlantic Region including the Lehigh Valley. Among the many highlights were Polynesian dance performances by Polynesian Dance Productions, theatrical and dance presentations by Aerial Mind and DANCENOW STEELSTACKS, and a last-weekend visit from The Netherlands-based Close Act Theater, whose performances of “Saurus,” featuring 18-foot-tall ‘dinosaurs’ walking amongst the crowds, delighted patrons of all ages. On Aug. 3, Musikfest featured its first-ever marriage proposal on its main stage as Theodore Howell of Reading proposed to his now fiancée, Maria Ramos, during Jason Derulo’s performance of “Marry Me,” and on Aug. 8-9, SteelStacks and the Lehigh Valley welcomed more than 500 MINIs and 1,200 guests from across the country as part of the MINI TAKES THE STATES cross-country road rally.
“This was without a doubt the best Musikfest of the past several years,” says Bruce Haines, Managing Partner at Historic Hotel Bethlehem. “For 10 days each August, our hotel and staff embrace the artistic and creative personality of Musikfest. Our guests from around the world enjoy the festival’s energy and camaraderie in the Historic Downtown District and at SteelStacks on the city’s SouthSide. Our Hotel and the Downtown Bethlehem business district once again worked closely with ArtsQuest on the programming of entertainment for Main Street and Liederplatz to enhance the Main Street experience.” The largest free music festival in the nation, Musikfest is made possible thanks to the support of City of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority and thousands of volunteers, supporting members and corporate partners. This year, more than 1,800 volunteers, 2,100 supporting ArtsQuest Members and 160 sponsors came together, enabling guests to enjoy over 500 free concerts on 14 stages. The festival also featured 63 local and national food vendors, as well as 45 artisans, free arts and crafts activities for children and the festival’s first-ever summer camp Aug. 2, led by folk artist Daria. Volunteers came to lend a hand at the festival from as far away as California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee and Virginia.
“Musikfest gives Bethlehem the opportunity for 10 days to showcase our history, culture, restaurants and retail establishments,” says Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez. “It is 10 days where people can enjoy all types of food, music and entertainment, while enjoying the many amenities Bethlehem has to offer. “
Proceeds from Musikfest 2014 will go to support ArtsQuest’s free programming for the community year-round at the Banana Factory community arts center and the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus. This includes Oktoberfest at SteelStacks on Oct. 3-5 and 10-12, which will be free for the first time in the event’s history thanks to its presenting sponsor, D.G. Yuengling & Son.
Musikfest 2015 dates are Aug. 7-16, 2015.