One day after the Great Allentown Fair announced it would be returning for 2021, ArtsQuest has announced its plans to hold Musikfest in Bethlehem this summer.
It plans to hold Musikfest Aug. 6 -15 with a preview night scheduled for Aug. 5.
While the arts organization did hold a virtual Musikfest last year, with a small number of limited outdoor music acts and a number of food vendors on the SteelStacks campus, the event was mostly skipped in 2020.
Now, with the festival’s return, a number of the headliners that were planned but canceled for last year’s event will be returning, including Darius Rucker, Willie Nelson, Poison and Kelsea Ballerini. Tickets from last year will be honored for this year’s shows.
There will also be more than 300 free live performances throughout the city as well as vendors and crafters.
Musikfest is the largest tourist draw to the Lehigh Valley and usually brings nearly 1 million visitors to the region, so it has a significant impact on the local economy each year.
ArtsQuest reported that a study conducted on its financial impact in 2019 showed that the arts and music festival brought in nearly $100 million in what it called “social capital” last year.
Hotels and restaurants, which have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are generally the biggest beneficiaries of the income the tourists bring into the region.
Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez said he was pleased to see the event returning to the streets of the city.
“We are working in partnership with ArtsQuest and our community public health and safety partners to put on the safest festival possible in order to support small business, tourism and economic development,” Donchez said.
“For more than three decades, Musikfest has brought millions of people to Bethlehem. Now, more than ever, it is important to support ArtsQuest including the performers, artists, vendors and small businesses in any capacity possible.”d