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Musikfest ready to rock Bethlehem for 30th year

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 01 2013 04:02:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2013 04:27:17 PM CDT

For the 30th year, the sounds of Musikfest will be ringing through Bethlehem.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

For the 30th year, the sounds of Musikfest will be ringing through Bethlehem.

"It's an experience unlike any other," said Mark Demko, ArtsQuest. "Probably few places you can go in the nation to experience this much music over such a short period of time."

Musikfest began in the summer of 1984 as a way to attract more people to Bethlehem.

"There were six stages and about 150,000 to 180,000 people who came out that first year," Demko said.

Three decades later, 340 performers and nearly one million people pack the streets of Bethlehem.

It hasn't always been easy as Mother Nature has, in some years, turned out not to be a music fan.

"When had flooding a couple of years ago, the community really rallied around us. Had 2,000 people who donated to save songs campaign," Demko said. 

While flooding drowned the festival on more than one occasion, it hasn't been enough to suppress the sound. Last year, headlining acts moved to the brand new ArtsQuest SteelStacks site. Through the years, the message has remained the same -- presenting the music. 

This year, street performers have been added to the SteelStacks site.

An auction will be held on the festivals final day. Included is a grand piano signed by more than 50 artists, including Ray Charles, Huey Lewis and Rosemary Clooney.