Arts & Entertainment: What to do during Musikfest 2021

Musikfest is back in Bethlehem and these are some of the best things you can expect when you visit this August.

Musikfest 2021 mug. (Courtesy Musikfest)

Every summer, people in the Lehigh Valley look forward to the first week of August, which signals the start of Musikfest.

Musikfest is a festival held across the city of Bethlehem that is becoming more popular by the year. The festival attracts people from across the country. 

Starting August 5, the in-person festival is back, after a one year hiatus due to the pandemic. Last year, Musikfest held a virtual version of its festival, but this year it is back to its regular schedule.

As the name of the event shows, Musikfest is focused around music. There are artists that will headline the event on different days, throughout the two-week period.

Songwriter Darius Rucker kicks off the festival on Thursday, August 5 at the Wind Creek Steel Stage at the Steel Stacks. Musikfest comes to an end on Sunday, August 15, when Black Violin takes the stage to close out the 2021 Musikfest activities.

Musikfest has many things to offer to its visitors throughout the two weeks the event takes place. Music performances, restaurants, small street vendors, and small businesses are some things visitors can expect.

Stephanie Miller, who lives in Allentown, said one of her new places she recently discovered in Bethlehem is Homebase610, a local skate shop and community staple since 2002. The shop is a four-minute drive from the Steel Stacks, which is considered the main area of Musikfest.

“I loved the environment Homebase has — it’s a place full of great people,” Miller said. “It feels like a family there and that they actually care about their customers. That’s something costumers should appreciate.”

Miller discovered Homebase through its Instagram page and decided to give it a visit since it’s not far from her home. Others remember visiting the shop when they were younger and getting into skateboarding.

Elvis Luna, who lives in Whitehall Township, said he visited Homebase as a teen and even camped outside the shop a few times to be the first to purchase limited edition Nike skateboarding shoes.

“I started coming here when I was 12 years old — my older brother brought me here all the time,” Luna said. “We both were into skateboarding at a young age. We used to pick out parts, decks, and clothes and I still come as often as I can to this day to show my support. I have some great memories in this place.”

Aside from small businesses in Bethlehem, vendors also have a large presence during Musikfest including art, food, jewelry, and small retail shops bringing their retail out on the road. . These vendors can be found through the city where some of the streets are closed off. A few are staples to the festival as some people look forward to visiting them.

Most people who attend Musikfest yearly will share how popular the Musikfest Mugs and the Aw Shucks Roasted Corn are out of all the items that are available for sale.

According to Theresa DeJesus, who lives in Easton, these are the two most popular items at Musikfest.

“Everywhere you go during Musikfest you’ll see the Mugs and Aw Shucks Corn,” she said. “It has become synonymous with Musikfest to the point where even if you don’t want to drink, you will probably still buy the mug because everyone else has it as well.” 

DeJesus said helping out small vendors by purchasing their items is something she looks forward to every year.

“There are tons of creative artists at the festival and that is something I want to support,” she said. “I look around every year and purchase from different vendors. My favorite items to purchase are definitely jewelry.”

She hopes to support more vendors this year and purchase from newer artists.

“I know that the pandemic was rough on many of these vendors, and I’m glad that Musikfest is back so they can share the beautiful art they make,” she said.

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Editor’s note: Our special reporting on COVID-19 may focus on communities outside Philadelphia because many of our student journalists are now temporarily located outside of the city. Instead, our reporters will cover how the coronavirus is impacting their own communities from across the country and around the world. We will return to hyperlocal coverage of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods as soon as possible.

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