Musikfest, We’ll Miss You- The 2015 Pro’s and Con’s


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Last night’s fireworks show.

And just like that, Summer’s over. I always mark the unofficial end of the Summer as the last night of Bethlehem’s Musikfest. For ten days, they shut down a city of over 70,000 people’s downtown, and now the South Side too, and put on a free festival that mixes good music and art with a free-for-all atmosphere that can sometimes get fun.

This year, I went to about half the nights, which isn’t historically high for me, but it’s more than most people. As that is, here’s my list of pro’s and con’s on the 2015 festival.

  • PRO- The Mug- I purchased a 24 oz. mug my first trip up and filled it each time there. I got $8 Yuenglings at the festival tent, and $6 Goose Islands at Tapas on Main Street. For the quantity of beer, it’s worth the cost.
  • PRO and CON- The Fireworks- Obviously the fireworks show is cool, but it did leave me wanting a little more this year. The crowds are huge though, so they’re doing something right.

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  • PRO- The Skywalk at the Steelstacks- This isn’t technically a “Musikfest” thing since it’ll be there today, but wow! I really enjoyed walking up along the old steel stacks. It’s neat as a fan of history, and the view of the festival is awesome.
  • PRO- The Tickets Aren’t Useless After- You can take your leftover tickets to the ArtsQuest SteelStacks through September and use them. Maybe in some ways, the festival isn’t over yet.

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  • CON- Horse Dumpings- The mounted police riding around are actually one of the most popular attractions- well the horses are at least. What’s not as popular is the horse dumpings left in the street. The city does their best to keep this from being an issue, but it’s still rough.
  • PRO- The Weather- It didn’t really rain during Musikfest 2015. The festival didn’t take a loss because of weather. This is a great thing.

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  • PRO- Kristian Bush- The former member of “Sugarland” put on a great show. I’m not really much of a “country” fan normally, but after seeing him, i’m a fan of his stuff. I’ll be listening more.
  • PRO- Main Street- In years past, Main Street had become an obstacle to get through, because it was literally all high school kids. They did a better job this year of clearing that out by putting entertainment for an older crowd on Main Street.

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  • PRO- Forrest Gump- No, it wasn’t Tom Hanks, but the guy dressed as Forrest was pretty cool to meet. Give him a follow on Twitter.
  • CON- The Polka Tent, or Lack Of- I remember the days when the polkas had a full-time home at Musikfest. Those times aren’t 2015. They should bring it back.

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  • CON- Moravian’s Use of South Campus- I understand that the college doesn’t want the South Campus wrecked. Moravian is a part of downtown Bethlehem’s fabric though, and it should really be a bigger part of the festival. In addition, I liked that Moravian had an advertisement up along lower Main Street, but they should fill that wall up with plenty more.
  • PRO- Parking- Yes, the parking seemed easier this year. I didn’t once pay for a spot, and I didn’t have unreasonable walks.

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  • PRO- The Free Concerts- I’ll just go ahead and say it, the bands were better this year. I found a lot of bands I hadn’t heard of to be interesting, and they still had several of my old favorites.
  • PRO and CON- The Crowds- The crowd was big, and relatively well behaved this year, which I like. The crowd was also big and took up a lot of room too. That can cut both ways.
  • CON- I missed Snoop Dogg- How the &*^% did I not buy tickets to see Snoop. I’m genuinely angry with myself.

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  • PRO and CON- The South Side Musikfest- I actually spent a night over there this year, and it was pretty cool. I enjoyed it, and the selection of food was better than I expected. The con is that it’s not big enough yet, and that I don’t want Musikfest to move over there completely ever. Also, I prefer Sand Island for the paid shows.
  • PRO- Seinfeld- I like that they brought a comedian in to do a show this year.
  • PRO- Ten Days- It’s just long enough. The festival is perfect at it’s current length, if you ask me.
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