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Musikfest's 40th Anniversary Breaks Attendance Records, Welcomes 1.3 Million Visitors | WDIY Local News

Shamus McGroggan

This year’s Musikfest has once again broken attendance records, with over a million domestic and international visitors. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

ArtsQuest said the 40th anniversary music festival drew in an estimated 1,330,000 visitors over the course of its 11 days and nights.

In a release, ArtsQuest CEO Kassie Hilgert said attendees came from 46 states, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, as well as 10 countries, including a German delegation from Bethlehem’s sister city Schwäbisch-Gmund.

International visitors came from Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Senegal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

This year’s total breaks the previous record of 1,240,000 million attendees set in 2022, which in turn surpassed 2019’s record of 1,226,0006 million visitors.

According to the release, this year’s Musikfest included 457 performers from 26 states and eight countries including Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Senegal and the United Kingdom.

50,000 tickets were sold for the festival’s eleven ticketed headliner shows, three (AJR, Goo Goo Dolls and O.A.R., and Train and Better Than Ezra) of which were sold out.

In total, 26 bands played on the Wind Creek Steel Stage, and the music festival also included 88 free street performances.

The festival also included 40 official food vendors, nine of which were new.

Over 1,000 volunteers helped out with this year’s festival, including 12 individuals who had participated in all 40 years of Musikfest.

Notable points from this year’s included:

  • The popular carillon act Cast in Bronze, which returned for the 40th anniversary with limited performances.
  • An expansion of the Inclusion Zone, which included two sensory-supportive spaces on both the north and southsides of Musikfest for individuals with sensory-processing difficulties.
  • A partnership with VSYN+ and SignTasTic to bring sign language entertainment to the festival in the form of a two-day event with renowned deaf artists.

Hilgert thanked the Musikfest volunteers, Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds and city officials, the Bethlehem Police Department and other law enforcement agencies for their work during the festival.

"Something special happens every August, where we all row together in the same direction, making Musikfest a tremendous success year after year,” she said.

"The mission of ArtsQuest is loud and clear and we look forward to a future of expanded growth in the arts for all throughout our community. We can't wait for next year," Reynolds added.

(Original air-date: 8/15/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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