Musikfest: “A celebration … of everything that we are’
The opening ceremony for the 34th year of Musikfest was kicked off with a simple question by ArtsQuest President and CEO Kassie Hilgert Aug. 4 at Wells Fargo Festplatz: “Who wants to get a festival started?”
But before the 10-day festival could officially begin, Hilgert thanked everyone who continues to make Musikfest possible each year, including this year’s 1,800 volunteers, more than 150 corporate partners and “every department at city hall.”
This year’s festival features 15 stages and more than 500 performers from 40 states and six countries. During the festival’s run from Aug. 4 through 13, Musikfest is estimated to attract over one million visitors.
“Musikfest, over the next 10 days, will represent all that is great about the city of Bethlehem,” said Bethlehem City Council President J. William Reynolds. “[It] really is a celebration not just of music, but of everything that we are, on a cultural level, on a diversity level, on a community level.”
Gregg Feinberg, chair of the ArtsQuest Board of Trustees, took a moment to acknowledge the recent recognition of SteelStacks before presenting the 2017 Founders Awards.
“On June 15, SteelStacks beat out projects in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New Orleans to win the 2017 Rudy Bruner Gold Medal for Urban Excellence, which celebrates places of exceptional physical design that contribute to the vitality of American cities,” Feinberg said. “In 2014, SteelStacks received the Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence. These are two really big awards.”
He then presented the first Founders Award to Sign Design Associates, which has partnered with ArtsQuest since 1994.
“If you’ve ever been on site as Musikfest is being set up, you’ve likely come across Dennis Wirth of Sign Design, and simply assumed he’s a loyal ArtsQuest employee. Dennis and his staff are an invaluable part of the Musikfest branding team at the festival, turning around banners at lightning speed and often placing out those signs you see hanging in hard to reach places,” he said.
PenTeleData, which is now in its 11th year of partnership with Musikfest, received the second Founders Award for its support of the festival as well as its development of the fiber network at SteelStacks that will assist with ArtsQuest’s technological needs for years to come.
The third and final Founders Award was presented to Wells Fargo for over 30 years of Musikfest partnership.
“For more than three decades, Wells Fargo has supported Musikfest and Wells Fargo Festplatz, one of the six original Musikfest stages and one of the most popular venues at the festival. It also features more than 50 musical acts, 10 food vendors and dynamic experiences,” Feinberg said.
After another round of thanks to the staff and volunteers, Hilgert wrapped up the ceremony and let the festival commence.
“I wish you all a happy, safe and dry Musikfest and I thank you for your support,” she said. “Welcome to Musikfest, everyone. Enjoy the show.”