Musikfest should be held in person
Bethlehem resident Shirley Morganelli hasn’t missed a day of Musikfest since the festival began in 1984, except last year since the event was virtual due to COVID-19.
Morganelli said she was thrilled the event would return in person in August and will likely attend, although she is a little concerned about health issues because she is a nurse.
Musikfest is an American music festival founded by ArtsQuest which is held annually in Bethlehem.
Patrick Brogan, director of programming and director of ArtsQuest, said he currently plans to host an in-person festival as per CDC and state guidelines, but a final announcement will not be made until later this month. -this.
“We were able to feel the energy that everyone knows is out there from people looking to come back,” Brogan said. “Come back to live concerts, live music and community environments. We have also heard the importance of safety and the praise of safety as a top priority in our decision making. We can marry these two things well in the way we plan the festival.
Morganelli said she believes ArtsQuest is smart and creative enough to put on a safe and rewarding event, and hopes attendees are honorable and only leave if they are vaccinated.
The festival is scheduled to take place August 6-15 at the Steel Stacks.
The festival has confirmed performances for Willie Nelson & Family, Darius Rucker, Shinedown and Kelsea Ballerini.
ArtsQuest worked closely with the City of Bethlehem, as well as consulting with health officials and the community to find the best plan.
“ArtsQuest operates, organizes and pays for the festival entirely, the city is just providing support as we can,” said Eric Evans, City of Bethlehem Business Administrator. “It’s a big effort on the part of the city, but the heavy lifting is done by ArtsQuest.”
Brogan said they had also consulted with colleagues in the events and festivals industry, both locally and nationally, to determine best practices, policies and procedures.
The ArtsQuest team has learned a lot by piloting different COVID-19 procedures during previous shows they’ve held at Steel Stacks and the Levitt Pavilion, Brogan said. These practices include social distancing tables and modules and mandatory masks when not seated.
Another challenge that ArtsQuest has had to overcome is that of finances. The nonprofit lost over 90% of its revenue in 2020, but it received a lot of support from its sponsors and the Bethlehem community.
Brogan said the giveaways enabled ArtsQuest to host Musikfest 2021.
Evans said Bethlehem is fortunate to have ArtsQuest as their events stimulate businesses that enrich the community. He said he was delighted to see more activities in downtown Bethlehem during the festival.
“The festival was founded to bring the community together, celebrate music and the arts, and inspire and engage the community,” said Brogan. “As well as for economic reasons to stimulate business in and around the region. All of these factors that you can see very well today. “
Mandy Martin, the artist who designed the Musikfest 2021 poster, said the event could represent the light at the end of a dark tunnel of the pandemic.
She painted bright poppy flowers on the poster as a symbol of hope for the future and to capture the joyful energy that music festivals bring to people.
“[The poppies are] reminding us that new growth often comes after times of hardship, ”said Martin. “It was definitely a tough year for a lot of people. I hope we can all look at this and feel that new things are on the horizon and new growth is coming.
Brogan said their weekly Steel Stack shows have been successful so far and many performances have sold even at 50 or 30 percent capacity. He anticipates that Musikfest will follow this example and that full capacity will be authorized.
“Musikfest transformed Bethlehem,” Morganelli said. “It strikes me so much that this region brings so much joy and people choose to come here for their annual vacation. It is an extremely important event. Bethlehem is so proud of it and it is such an asset here that I think it will go on and on.