The complete lineup of who will be performing at Musikfest 2019 has been announced.
With an impressive 11 ticketed headlining acts and over 500+ FREE performances, this year looks to be another exciting year for the festival’s 35th year.
This year’s Sands Steel Stage at PNC Plaza headliners will include:
8/1: Earth, Wind & Fire 8/2: The Chainsmokers 8/3: Steve Miller Band & Marty Stuart 8/4: Lady Antebellum 8/5: Weezer at Musikfest 8/6: Train & The Goo Goo Dolls 8/7: Incubus 8/8: The Revivalist 8/9: Godsmack 8/10: Phillip Phillips 8/11: Brad Paisley
Since 1984, Musikfest has been an annual 10-day celebration of music, food and the arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The festival is presented by the nonprofit arts organization ArtsQuest. All proceeds from the ‘fest support the Banana Factory, ArtsQuest’s community arts center and gallery in Bethlehem, as well as other nonprofit groups in the region. Musikfest takes place from August 1-11!
Incubus will be coming back to Bethlehem the make their Musikfest debut. The band has previously played the Sands Bethlehem Event Center years prior but this will mark the first time they’re playing the Steel Stage for Musikfest.
Ticket Pre-sale: ArtsQuest Members (gold and above): Tuesday, 3/5, 10am ArtsQuest Members (all levels): Wednesday, 3/6, 10am Tickets on sale: Friday, 3/8, 10am
Price: $59-$79 Venue: Sands Steel Stage at PNC Plaza at Musikfest Gates: 6 p.m. | Show: 7 p.m.
Every year since it’s inception in 1984, Musikfest has celebrated the visual arts through their iconic posters. The imagery helps set the tone of the week-long event. The poster for 2019 celebrates the legacy of Bethlehem Steel and it’s workers who helped build this city and notable landmarks throughout the nation.
The digital illustration was created by fine artist and arts educator Jessica Bastidas, a Bethlehem native and graduate of Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. Her work will be incorporated in almost every element of the festival in 2019, from official Musikfest apparel to the event’s popular mugs.
“This year’s poster borrows symbols of the past as it looks to the future of our ever-progressing city and festival,” says ArtsQuest Lead Creative Juliann Masenheimer. “Jessica’s talents exceeded our expectations. As an emerging artist, she is now a part of our history and the face of the future.”
The Blast Furnace Room at ArtsQuest is used for a ton of events, mostly comedy, but on some occasions, music events. On this particular evening, Friday December 1st, Beach Slang, Dave Hause and friends came to town.
If you aren’t familiar, The Homeless Gospel Choir is a one-man acoustic project that plays like part Listener’s spoken word ramblings and part angry, stripped down punk. The set was full of protest songs, as boldly declared for nearly every song and autobiographical musings, many of which were humorous.
Local favorites Digger brought their triple vocal attack to the party and inspired a lot of nostalgia among many in the crowd who remembered the band from their 90’s heyday.
Dave Hause brought his band The Mermaid, still fairly fresh off of the release of ‘Bury Me In Philly.’ The album is a brighter, more upbeat and bolder effort from him, partially inspired by the newfound collaboration between he and his younger brother Tim. With 3 solo albums and of course two Loved Ones albums to theoretically cull from (no Loved Ones songs were played tonight), he has the material to put a very varied set together.
Things began with the title track off his new album and dipped into his previous release for “Autism Vaccine Blues” and “We Could Be Kings.” To be honest, as a long time fan, the song selection was perfect as he got to nearly all of my personal favorites from his solo work. It’s also a surprising thing to note that his newest material easily got the biggest reactions. Their nearly 150 shows this year have sharpened the Mermaid into a very formidable band. Another highlight that they have been doing lately is a cover of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” Hard to go wrong with that gem.
Beach Slang‘s frontman James Alex did his part to live up to the “Drunk Or Lust” title of the tour…well…at least the first part. By his own admission, he is usually intoxicated when he plays but never to the extent he was on this day. Alex was drinking what appeared to be a big gulp sized vodka and cranberry juice and some beers that were passed up to him. At first his voice seemed a little shot, perhaps from many weeks of touring. Then, after just a few songs, he found the right mix of grit and clarity, perhaps having become warmed up. Despite a few early minor mishaps, the set was fun and loose, frequently lapsing into micro-covers of 80’s and 90’s songs on a whim. As Alex pointed out, the band usually goes off course eventually in the set, but by the third song, he was happily taking requests from the audience. As an Allentown resident, he seemed thrilled to be home and even had the bass player FaceTime their manager in the middle of the set to show him the crowd and to remind him to have them play in Bethlehem again.
Despite never seeing the band live before and them playing some of my favorites of the tracks I had heard on records early on, the excellence was sustained throughout the evening, inspiring me to revisit their discography. From the first time hearing the band, their debt to the Replacements was apparent. They paid their respects with a cover of “Bastards of the Young.”
There was no pretense of walking off stage and walking back on, they just KEPT PLAYING. Despite frequent pleas from the tour manager than they only had x number of minutes to go, they just kept going until about at or just after midnight.
Toward the end of the night, Alex informed everyone that they would be off from touring for the next few months and after playing the next night in Philadelphia, he was gong to hunker down at home and concentrate on writing a new record. He even went so far as to give out his email address and inviting people to be creative with him and to maybe see him around town at open mic nights trying out material.
It was a great night that went into overtime with two headlining-quality bands for the price of one in a really intimate setting.
Sounds like an intoxicatingly good time to me.
Beach Slang – ‘A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings’ LP
Saturday April 19th, on the eve of Easter, Bethlehem’s Sands Event Center was host to a unique tour. Taking Back Sunday and The Used stopped by in the home stretch of their six week co-headlining tour.
Starting the show was Sleepwave, the new project from former Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain. A heavy sound with hints of keyboards and some impressive drumming aside, there was little to distinguish the performance. A major factor was that the vocals seemed to be tuned a little low.
Australian pop punk band Tonight Alive took the stage next and drew heavily from their 2013 release The Other Side. They offered up an energetic performance and surely made at least a few fans in front of a new audience.
The Used was up next and came out to a stage full of discarded television sets rigged to a light system. It was a semi-apocalyptic sight that suited the music well. Things got underway in their hourlong set with “Cry” the first single off of their new album Imaginary Enemy. From there, the song selection was a lot of what one would expect/hope for with a Used show. The new songs (“Revolution” was also played) seemed to fit in nicely with the live show, indicating that much of the fairly divisive new album could find a place in concert.
Next up was Taking Back Sunday. The classic lineup reformed a few years ago and their newest album Happiness Is provided a few highlights of the evening with things starting off to “Stood A Chance”. “Flicker, Fade”, “Beat Up Car”, and “Better Homes and Gardens” were also represented. Most of set focused on recordings by this lineup (Tell All Your Friends, Self-Titled and Happiness Is). New Again was ignored completely while “A Decade Under the Influence” and the usual indispensable tracks from Louder Now were represented. Prefer whatever incarnation of the band you want, but there is something special about the chemistry this combination of talent possesses. Though they were running late, they made sure to end things with their biggest hit, “MakeDamnSure”.
The SOLD OUT show was a rousing success, proving that the two headliners, while having gone through some trials and tribulations, remain at the height of their powers.
Tegan and Sara‘s “Let’s Make Things Physical Tour” joins the 1st ever Yuengling Summer Concert Series at the Steel Stacks on June 23rd!
Fresh off the Parahoy! concert cruise with Paramore, the duo will accompany Katy Perry on the last leg of her international tour. In the meantime they’ve got a run of 21 headlining dates including a stop at Bethlehem’s Steel Stacks, and back-to-back nights in DC and Chicago in addition to some massive performances at a slew of summer festivals.
This past year was a huge one for Canadian born twin sisters, with the release of the girls’ seventh studio album, Heartthrob – which marked their highest first week charting position of all time. The band scored their first mainstream hit with “Closer” and circled the globe in support of Heartthrob which garnered the duo a total of three Juno Awards – Pop Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Group of the Year.