Bethlehem, PA Hosts 27th Annual Musikfest, Free Festival Featuring 300 Acts on 14 Stages, Aug 6-15

Over the course of 10 days, from Aug 6-15, some 300 musical acts will be showcased on 14 stages throughout Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the 27th edition of Muskfest, a  free musical extravaganza  held each August.

Musikfest has grown from a small community event started in 1984 to one of the nation’s largest free music festivals. Each year, more than a million people descend on the city’s historic downtown to enjoy a kaleidoscope of sensational sounds from artists and musicians who hail from every corner of North America.

At this year’s festival, more than 300 different performers will take to 14 different stages – 11 of them free – woven throughout the city’s charming downtown district, delighting audiences with musical styles ranging from Afrobeat to Zydeco. Visitors can wander down cobblestone walkways, past gorgeous 18th century buildings and through the lush, green city parks to discover sultry salsa dancers, impromptu jam sessions and singer-songwriters accompanied only by their guitar and the words in their heart.

Headlining this year’s festival at the Sands RiverPlace stage are Counting Crows’ Traveling Circus and Medicine Show featuring Augustana Aug. 6, Norah Jones Aug. 7, Martina McBride Aug. 8, Lynyrd Skynyrd Aug. 9, Heart Aug. 10, The Doobie Brothers Aug. 11, Styx with Blue Öyster Cult Aug. 12, Adam Lambert with Orianthi Aug. 13, Selena Gomez with special guests JLS and Hot Chelle Rae Aug. 14 and Sublime with Rome, with special guests The Dirty Heads and The Movement Aug. 15.

At the Musikfest Performing Arts Series, audiences can dance to the free-flowing, improvisational music of the Grateful Dead, Aug. 9,  performed by Dead tribute Dark Star Orchestra  and experience the unique sound of rising alt-country stars The Avett Brothers on Aug. 11.  World-class artists abound at the PNC Bank Candlelight Concert Series, with performances such as “The Music of Simon & Garfunkel” by A.J. Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle Aug. 6, the jazzy Joe Lovano and John Scofield Quartet Aug. 7, legendary folk singer Richie Havens Aug. 8, all-female Celtic group Cherish the Ladies Aug. 12, rock legend Dave Mason Aug. 13 and country’s Suzy Bogguss Aug. 14.

Great music is also found in abundance on the festival’s 11 free stages, where visitors can see nationally-known blues, rock, world and swing acts, as well as up-and-coming artists that are sure to surprise with their talents and musicianship. For example, on Aug. 11-12 audiences will be treated to Toronto-based Elvis Bossa Nova, which offers quirky and eccentric arrangements of classic Elvis Presley tunes. Experience “Viva Las Vegas,” “Hound Dog,” “I’m All Shook Up” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight” in a completely different way as vibraphone, electric guitar, drums and bass breathe new and unique life into Presley’s hits.  And on Aug. 12 Lachi, a quartet of legally-blind alt rockers fronted by the talented vocalist of the same name, takes to the stage. Don’t miss this dynamic mix of impassioned vocals and original tunes as this group shares its inspired vision for music.

Just a few of the many other artists that audiences can experience for free at the festival include rising funk and R&B star Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue on Aug. 11-12, New York City’s sensational George Gee Swing Orchestra Aug. 7, 18-time Grammy Award-winning polka legend Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra Aug. 7, Texas blues-rocker Chris Duarte Aug. 11, former Dispatch singer Pete Francis Aug. 10 and the multi-WC Handy Award winning and Grammy-nominated Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, who dish out a groovy mix of West Coast and Chicago-style blues, on Aug. 8.

While music is the main focus of Musikfest, it’s hardly the only thing guests will find at the world-class event.  Forty-five vendors serve up a wealth of delectable foods and decadent desserts, while 50 of the nation’s finest artisans are on hand showcasing jewelry, handmade crafts and home décor items. Family fun is found around every corner, with dozens of delightful children’s performers, art & craft activities and timely appearances by entertaining buskers, amazing street performers who present logic-defying escape tricks, funky skateboard feats and marvelous magic acts, all in an effort to elicit shrieks, oohs and aahs from the crowds.

Musikfest 2010 hours are 5-11 p.m. Aug. 6 and noon-11 p.m. Aug. 7-15. For more information or tickets to the Sands RiverPlace, Performing Arts Series or PNC Bank Candlelight Concert Series shows, visit or call 610-332-3378.

ArtsQuest is a Bethlehem, PA-based nonprofit dedicated to presenting music, arts, cultural experiences and educational and outreach programs that aid in economic development, urban revitalization and community enrichment. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest™, and the Banana Factory® cultural arts and education center, ArtsQuest’s programming currently reaches more than 1.3 million people annually.

ArtsQuest is furthering its mission of celebrating arts and culture through the development of the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. The 65,000-square-foot building, set to open in May 2011, will feature live music, independent and scientific films, new festivals and community celebrations year-round, reaching an additional 750,000 people each year.

For more information on ArtsQuest, visit or call 610-332-1300.

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