by Carrie Havranek
Usually, I focus on five cool places. This week, we’re putting a spin on the traditional pre-festival coverage by talking about five cool things about Musikfest, which starts on Friday, August 6, and runs through August 15. Maybe you already have the dates marked off on the calendar. Maybe you need some persuading. Musikfest attracts thousands and thousands–in fact, this year, organizers are predicting a million festival goers. Wow.
1. It’s easy. There’s a free shuttle from the Martin Towers parking lot. It’s free to go and wander around and soak up the sounds; 11 of the 14 stages are free, free, free. You’ll pay if you want to see a ticketed event, though.
2. It’s full of festival fare. At Musikfest, there are tons of vendors and they serve all the food you can possibly eat from a cart, tent, or other portable food-prep apparatus. Tacos. Pierogies. Sausage sandwiches. Gyros. Deep-fried cheesecake (seriously). Pulled pork. And of course, the requisite funnel cake, ice cream, pizza, french fries, and the like.
3. It’s diverse. You can go as high profile, bold-face named as you want. There’s something from nearly every genre you can think of—bluegrass, folk, blues, polka, world, Latin, funk, rock, reggae, swing. How often can you say that the Doobie Brothers, Heart, Norah Jones, the Avett Brothers, Martina McBride, Cherish the Ladies, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Richie Havens, Sublime, and Joe Lovano all share stage space throughout the week at the same festival?
4. It gives you a reason to take off work. Avoid the crowds on the weekends. Take the day off. Some people, like Pocket Guide contributing photographer Jandee Weninger, make it their mission to spend as much time as possible at Musikfest. She’ll be bringing us the best of the fest, as seen through her lens. Why not?
5. It’s local, right in your backyard. This means you’re going to see lots of local and regional bands playing for the hometown crowd, scattered throughout downtown Bethlehem. If you’re reading this and you live within a reasonable driving distance, Musikfest makes a great day trip. And Laini’s Little Pocket Guide to Bethlehem can give you some pointers and suggestions for other things to do while you’re here.
Carrie Havranek is the author of Women Icons in Popular Music: The Rebels, Rockers and Renegades and can’t wait to let her toddler boys loose at Musikfest this year.