With a little help from Mother Nature and exceptionally good weather for the week, Musikfest, Bethlehem’s annual music and arts festival, is reporting record attendance for this year.
Organizers said they counted more than 1.23 million visitors to the 10-day festival, which is held in locations around the city, far exceeding the normal attendance of around 1 million people and topping the previous record of 1.196 million in 2017.
“The combination of so many great artists, new attractions and exceptional weather drew excellent crowds at this year’s festival,” ArtsQuest president and CEO Kassie Hilgert said in a release. “Over the past three years, we’ve focused on enhancing our visual arts programming, attractions and family activities to complement the music and food at Musikfest and it has paid off.”
The news is a big deal because Musikfest is a major tourism draw for the Lehigh Valley and is estimated to have about a $60 million dollar impact both directly and indirectly.
“From the city’s perspective, Musikfest is one of the biggest promotional tools that we have,” said Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez. “Each year, the festival draws people from across the country to Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley. The economic impact of this event can’t be stressed enough. Not only do people shop in our downtowns, eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels during the festival, many of them return at other times of the year, stretching Musikfest’s impact across the calendar.”
Proceeds from Musikfest 2019 will go to support ArtsQuest’s free programming for the community year-round at the Banana Factory arts center and the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus.