WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
One of America’s largest free music festivals, Musikfest features more than 550 performances on 15 stages over 10 days.
Running Aug. 5-14 throughout Bethlehem’s Historic District and the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, the 33rd edition of Musikfest also includes a global smorgasbord of 60 food vendors, more than 40 artisans from around the country and activities geared to children and families.
Now pinch hitting …
One of the big stories this year is an 11th-hour Sands Steel Stage lineup change. With Aretha Franklin bowing out due to “unforeseen logistical reasons,” capping off Aug. 8’s music lineup will be a tribute show to two influential rock artists that passed away this year — David Bowie and Prince. An extremely-rare free mainstage concert, it’s a double bill with Band From Mars — an outfit comprised of members of area groups Start Making Sense, Insidious Rays and Trouble City All-Stars — playing the music of David Bowie at 7 p.m., followed by “A Tribute to Prince” at 9 p.m. by Philadelphia rock, funk and R&B band Swift Technique. Know before you go, click on this link for visitor’s tips: MUSIKFEST SURVIVAL GUIDE
Patrick Brogan, senior vice-president of programming for ArtsQuest, the nonprofit that presents Musikfest, said in a prepared statement: “Musikfest started more than three decades ago as a festival dedicated to presenting artists from our community. While some people may wonder why we didn’t add another nationally touring act to the lineup, this isn’t at all unprecedented. In fact, the change in the schedule actually provided us with a great and rather rare opportunity to showcase our local artists on a very large scale.
Two years ago we had the Craig Thatcher Band on the Sands Steel Stage during Musikfest after ZZ Top was unable to perform, and our community responded with a great turnout. If past performances by these two groups are any indication, the audience is in for an amazing night of music they won’t want to miss.”
For this show only, Musikfest is offering tickets to its Oasis Lounge for only $10 (which would regularly be $20). Oasis tickets include access to the Sands Steel Stage’s only full-service bar and air-conditioned restrooms, as well as a festival parking pass for the adjacent Sands Steel Stage parking lot with every two Oasis tickets purchased.
No admission tickets are required and gates will open at 6 p.m., with general admission seating.
•Summer Games Viewing Party at Spark Orthodontics Familienplatz. The site that used to be called Kinderplatz will have coverage of the Olympics from Rio on a large outdoor LED television. There will also be vehicle test drives and the PNC Bank Mobile Learning Adventure, a traveling exhibit focused on early childhood education through activities for parents and kids.
•Creativity Tent at Spark Orthodontics Familienplatz. Celebrate the Summer Games with crafts by the Banana Factory Arts Center. The Creativity Tent will provide themed, hands-on art activities that revolve around the games.
•Lagerfest Platz at the Wells Fargo Festplatz. This new outdoor courtyard features Yuengling beers, Yuengling merchandise and apparel and games.
•Grassroots Mobile Boutique at Volksplatz. A Delaware-based, family-owned specialty shop brings clothing, jewelry, home décor and children’s items.
•Photopass Summer Camp for students in grades 6-8. Under the guidance of professional photographer Ryan Hulvat, young photographers spend the mornings Aug. 8-12 learning tips and techniques for taking successful concert photographs in the Olympus Digital Imaging Center at the Banana Factory Arts Center. After lunch, they travel to the Musikfest grounds to enjoy special access to areas usually reserved only for working media.
•Musikfest Sculpture Garden at Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz. View sculptures by Khalil Allaik and Ann-Katrin Spiess.
•“Gotta Catch ‘Em All” promotions for Pokemon Go players. There will be more than 24 PokeStops, and several Gyms, across the Musikfest grounds. Follow @Musikfest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to receive updates and alerts on special promotions, discounts and contests.
•PBS39’s TeleBear Summer Jam 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 10-14 at the PBS Air Products Tell Me More Stage at SteelStacks. It’s a fresh live music lineup with family-friendly acts, plus make-and-take art activities.
•Free late night comedy shows at 11:15 p.m. Aug. 5-6 and 11-13 at ArtsQuest Center’s Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas.
•More busking street performers.
•New Artists in Residence: Living Vines Aug. 5-7 at Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz; STX by Close Act Theatre Aug. 9, 11 and 13 at Main and Spring streets; DanceNOW SteelStacks presents Good to Go Girls Aug. 5-7 at TD Community Stage on the Air Products Town Square; and DanceNOW SteelStacks presents LMNO3 Aug. 12-14 at the TD Community Stage on the Air Products Town Square.
•The first “Band on the Run” Musikfest 5K starts at 10 a.m. Aug. 6 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. The course passes Plaza Tropical, Festplatz and Handwerkplatz before completing at Volksplatz, where runners receive one complimentary Yuengling Lager and enjoy a free performance by Blues Brothers tribute The Blues Brotherhood. The registration fee is $50 and you can fill out the registration form at www.musikfest.org or by calling (610) 332-1300. Race registration includes an official running shirt, 2016 Musikfest mug and transportation to the starting line and back. Musikfest then begins at noon. TAKE NOTE OF THIS LOCAL ARTIST
The only Musikfest performances you pay to see are these shows at the Sands Steel Stage, near the ArtsQuest Center:
X Ambassadors, Rachel Platten and Jukebox the Ghost, 7 p.m. Aug. 5. Tickets: $39-$55.
What to know: Rachel Platten is best known for the top 10 hits “Stand by You” and “Fight Song.”
“Renegades” by X Ambassadors was an international hit, peaking at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was featured in the marketing campaign for the Jeep Renegade, and included in the second series of the TV show “The Flash.”
The band, whose singles include “Unsteady” and “Unconsolable,” features brothers Sam and Casey Harris.
Run-D.M.C., 7:30 p.m. Aug. 6. Tickets: $49-$74.
What to know: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees came together in 1981 in Queens, N.Y., becoming the first hip-hop group to earn a gold album (1984’s “Run-D.M.C.”) and a platinum album (1985’s “King of Rock”). Signature songs include “It’s Tricky,” “My Adidas,” “Peter Piper,” “It’s Like That” and their groundbreaking re-interpretation of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
Dierks Bentley and Tucker Beathard 7 p.m. Aug. 7. Tickets: $58-$83.
What to know: Tucker Beathard is known for the song “Rock On.”
Bentley’s many hits include: “What Was I Thinking?,” “Drunk on a Plane,” “Come a Little Closer,” “Settle for a Slowdown” and “Lot of Leaving Left to Do.” His first two albums — “Dierks Bentley” in 2003 and “Modern Day Drifter” in 2005 — both sold more than a million copies. The Arizona native was awarded the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award for Best New Artist, while also being invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Among his His newest release, “Black,” featured the hit “Somewhere on a Beach.”
Boston, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 9. Tickets: $45-$69.
What to know: Their 1976 debut album “Boston” sold a whopping 17 million copies. After releasing “Don’t Look Back” in 1978, Tom Scholz and company took a long break before returning in 1986 with “Third Stage” and the smash hit “Amanda.” With more than 31 million albums sold, Boston is celebrating its 40th anniversary with its “Four Decades North American Tour.” There will be new additions to the group’s set list based on recent requests.
Don Henley, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 10. Tickets: $79-$119.
What to know: A six-time Grammy winner as vocalist and drummer for The Eagles, Henley’s notable hits during his solo career include “Dirty Laundry,” “The Boys of Summer,” “All She Wants to Do is Dance,” “The End of the Innocence,” “Leather and Lace” (with Stevie Nicks) and “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” (with Patty Smyth). His most recent recording, 2015’s “Cass County,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
Bush and Chevelle, 6 p.m. Aug. 11. Tickets: $44-$69.
What to know: Formed in the Chicago suburb of Grayslake, Ill., in 1995, Chevelle has sold more than 4 million albums, with standout songs “The Red,” “Send the Pain Below” and “Vitamin R.”
British rock band Bush is known for the songs “Everything Zen,” “Comedown,” “Glycerine,” “Little Things,” “Swallowed” and “Machinehead.” Singer Gavin Rossdale was married to Gwen Stefani. After an eight-year hiatus, Bush reformed in 2010. The group’s most recent recording is “Man on the Run,” which came out in 2014.
Sabrina Carpenter, 7:30 p.m., Aug. 12. Tickets: $20-$40.
What to know: Carpenter is from Lower Milford Township and known best for playing Maya Hart in the Disney Channel series “Girl Meets World.” She sings on the show’s theme song, “Take on the World.” She also starred in Disney Channel’s version of the movie “Adventures in Babysitting.”
As several Disney Channel actresses have famously done, Carpenter has branched out into music. She recorded “Smile” for the album “Disney Fairies: Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust,” “All You Need” for the “Sofia the First” soundtrack and “Stand Out” for the Disney Channel movie “How to Build a Better Boy.”
Her debut album, “Eyes Wide Open,” was released last year, racking up more than 33 million combined streams on Spotify. The song “Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying” won the Best Crush Song award at the 2015 Radio Disney Music Awards.
At the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards, Carpenter performed “Smoke and Fire,” while also taking home the award for Best Anthem for the song “Eyes Wide Open.”
Lady Antebellum, 7 p.m. Aug. 13. Tickets: $54-$89.
What to know: Formed in Nashville in 2006, Lady Antebellum rose to stardom on the strength of hits like “I Run to You” and the Grammy-winning “Need You Now.” The trio was named 2007’s Top New Vocal Duo or Group by the Academy of Country Music and the 2008 New Artist of the Year by the Country Music Association. Four of their five studio albums reached No. 1 on the country charts. Their most recent, “747,” featured the hit “Bartender.”
The Avett Brothers and Langhorne Slim, 8 p.m. Aug. 14. Tickets: $45-$65.
What to know: Langhorne Slim, real name Sean Scolnick, is indeed from Langhorne. His “Electric Love Letter” was a “Rolling Stone” Editors Top 10 pick in 2005.
The North Carolina folk/rock band appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in 2007, then won the Americana Music Association’s Duo/Group of the Year and New/Emerging Artist of the Year awards. “Rolling Stone” declared them “the Artist to Watch of 2009” as they appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
The band performed “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” during the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in 2011. Two years later at the Grammys, “The Carpenter” was nominated for Best Americana Album.
The Avett Brothers have a new album, “True Sadness,” which they’ve been performing tracks from everywhere from Mountain Jam in New York to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.
This is the band’s third appearance at Musikfest.