Photo Credit: Craig Roberts
The nation’s largest free music festival, now in its 38th year, needs community supports
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Since 1984, Musikfest has attracted millions of patrons to enjoy live music, try new foods and spend time with friends and family in the Lehigh Valley. The festival, organized by the nonprofit ArtsQuest, would not be possible without thousands of dedicated volunteers. This year more than ever, volunteers are going to be an integral part of the ‘fest and its functioning, and ArtsQuest is asking community members to volunteer their time.
“This is an unprecedented year for Musikfest, as we’ve never had to put together the festival in such a short amount of time,” ArtsQuest Volunteer and Internship Programs Manager Cory Stevens said. “It’s going to be tough, but we can pull this off if the community comes together once again to make it happen. We can do it the way we’ve always accomplished the impossible—together.”
Experiencing Musikfest as a volunteer allows for a different perspective on the festival and what it means to the community. Staci Scheetz’s parents brought her to her first Musikfest when she was only a few weeks old. She has been coming ever since, volunteering since age 14.
“My favorite part about volunteering is the environment you get to volunteer in,” Sheetz said. “You get to meet new people every day and everyone always has such an amazing time!”
Volunteers come back year after year because they truly enjoy getting to serve their community through Musikfest. There is a special group of a dozen volunteers who have been volunteering since the initial festival in 1984. Mary Lou Straka is one of those dedicated individuals, who also volunteers with ArtsQuest year-round.
“In 1984, Musikfest began with about 500 volunteers staffing the various platzes” Straka said. “With the continued growth of Musikfest, the need for volunteers to support the various aspects of the festival has also increased.”
The Musikfest volunteer application can be found on artsquest.org/volunteer. Official t-shirts and food vouchers are provided to volunteers who work the ‘fest. Volunteers are asked for a minimum of three shifts throughout the festival or two weekend shifts.
ArtsQuest’s mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities. ArtsQuest™ supports this mission via the presentation of performing and visual arts, film, arts education classes and outreach, youth programming and cultural events.
Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.9 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, approximately 50 percent of which are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $136 million annually in the region. ArtsQuest is a proud member of NIVA, the National Independent Venue Association.
Information provided to TVL by:
ArtsQuest Director of Communications