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ArtsQuest attracts more than one million to Musikfest

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This year, Musikfest offered concerts by several big name performers, including Chicago.
This year, Musikfest offered concerts by several big name performers, including Chicago. - (Photo / )

ArtsQuest marked another successful year for its signature annual summer music festival, which ended Sunday.

The Bethlehem nonprofit, which organizes Musikfest, attracted more than 1 million people to the free music festival this year, topping the amount of visitors last year, which was 957,000 people, said a spokesman.

“We hope to have attendance figures later today or tomorrow,” said Mark Demko, senior director of communications for ArtsQuest. “We had wonderful weather for the most part. The crowds definitely responded.”

The festival, which ran from Aug. 4-13, offered more family oriented activities as well as free concerts for artists such as Colin Hay (former singer of Men at Work) and The Smithereens, acts that typically are only found performing at paid concerts, Demko said. This year, the festival offered concerts by several big name performers, including Santana, Chicago, Godsmack and Toby Keith.

Another big success was the debut of the inflatable art installation, “Architects of Air” at Experienceplatz, a new venue across from the Wooden Match at Main and Lehigh streets.

That attraction drew thousands of people, Demko said.

“We try to provide opportunities for talented artists and artisans in the Lehigh Valley,” Demko said. “About 40 percent of the performers come from the Lehigh Valley, and about 55 percent of the food vendors come from our own backyard.”

The food is almost as much of an attraction as the music. This year, Musikfest had 37 food vendors and 60 food stands and locations throughout the festival, Demko said.

The festival added 10 new vendors this year and strives to bring a diverse array of food each year.

Now in its 34th year, the festival has grown considerably over the years and continues to bring throngs of tourists through the business districts of the city.

“It started as a small, grassroots community festival,” Demko said. “We have approximately 175 local, regional and national corporate sponsors and almost 1,500 to 1,600 volunteers who help make the festival possible.”

This year also attracted 419 performers from 29 states and eight countries, which is a record for ArtsQuest, Demko said.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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