Mar 9th, 2012Press Release from ArtsQuest, Musikfest, Private: 4O1! Creative

Festival Returns for 29th Year with New Performance Venue & More Free Music Than Ever

BETHLEHEM, PA—More free music than ever before awaits Musikfest guests when the nation’s largest free, non-gated music festival celebrates its 29th year, Aug. 3-12 in Bethlehem. Over 500 performances will take place during the event’s 10-day run, with great, free music on 14 of the festival’s 15 stages.

Among the many performers who will play Musikfest for the first time this year is the Royal Southern Brotherhood, which counts Grammy Award winner Cyril Neville of The Neville Brothers and Devon Allman of Devon Allman’s Honeytribe among its members. The group, which serves up its own, distinct blend of blues and rock, will headline the Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion stage Aug. 3 at 9:30 p.m.

Also taking the stage at Americaplatz will be Draw the Line, the only Aerosmith tribute endorsed by Aerosmith. Set to perform Aug. 6 at 6 p.m., the group has the look, sound and feel of Aerosmith, a combination that has entertained audiences from coast to coast. “Draw the Line is the bomb…they are Aerosmith,” says Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler.

Other performers coming to Musikfest for the first time include M.A.K.U. SoundSystem, a Columbian group that mixes African and Colombian rhythms with rock, punk and jazz; Yellow DubMarine, which dishes out reggae versions of Beatles’ classics; and Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, a nine-piece soul and rock powerhouse that has opened for the Black Keys, the Neville Brothers and Dr. John. M.A.K.U. SoundSystem will perform Aug. 9, 9 p.m., at Pennsylvania Lottery Volksplatz; Yellow DubMarine will take The Morning Call Plaza Tropical stage Aug. 9, 8:30 p.m.; and Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds will light up The Morning Call Plaza Tropical Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

If music puts you in the dancin’ mood, then you’ll find plenty great reasons to get up and on your feet at this year’s festival. On Aug. 11 at 4 p.m., Musikfest welcomes Bud Hudenski & the Corsairs, 2011 winners of the prestigious Polka America Corporation Excellence (PACE) Award for Polka Album the Year; and on Aug. 8, the Festplatz audience will swing to the sounds of The Jumpers Orchestra when this high-energy act takes the stage at 8 p.m.

In addition to the many new acts performing at the festival, Musikfest will also welcome back several ‘fest favorites including Siberian surf-rockers The Red Elvises, who will perform Aug. 4, 9 p.m., and Aug. 5, 7 p.m., at Pennsylvania Lottery Volksplatz; polka legend Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra, which will play Aug. 4, 4 p.m., at Festplatz; and popular Talking Heads tribute Start Making Sense, which will appear Aug. 6, 9 p.m., at Pennsylvania Lottery Volksplatz.

For the complete list of confirmed Musikfest 2012 performers so far, please visit


When guests arrive at Musikfest 2012, they’ll discover an additional music venue where they can enjoy great, free music now that the ArtsQuest Center’s Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas will host concerts throughout the festival, starting at 5 p.m. each night. The venue’s larger cinema (200 seats) will serve as the new home of Musikfest’s Lyrikplatz singer-songwriter stage, while the smaller cinema (100 seats) will offer intimate jazz performances. With the addition of music in the two cinemas, the festival will now offer 15 performance stages, one more than in 2011.

The Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling, which required an admission ticket in 2011, will also showcase free concerts in 2012, as PNC Bank partners with ArtsQuest to present the PNC Series at the Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling, featuring concerts by popular local and regional artists such as Craig Kastelnick & Friends, Tommy Zito, Lucky 7 and Mike Dugan & The Blues Mission.  In addition, Musikfest’s Banana Island will feature more family activities than ever, with the festival planning to add additional children’s rides and activities to the venue, which will be open noon-8 p.m. Aug. 4-12. Additional details on Banana Island programming will be announced later this spring.

“While ArtsQuest has made few changes to this year’s Musikfest, the ones that we have made will result in even more free programming for our patrons,” says ArtsQuest Vice President of Performing Arts Patrick Brogan. ”Thanks in large part to the support of ArtsQuest’s members, corporate partners and volunteers, guests will be able to enjoy a record number of free performances in 2012, with more than 98 percent of the shows at the festival being offered free of charge.”

In addition to free performances on 14 different stages, Musikfest will present concerts by some of music’s biggest names at its Sands Steel Stage. Sheryl Crow on Aug. 10 and Boston on Aug. 12 are the first two acts announced to perform at the venue, which requires an admission ticket to enter. Tickets for both concerts are on sale now and available at and 610-332-3378. Eight additional Sands Steel Stage concerts will be announced this spring.


At first glance, the 2012 Musikfest poster is filled with plenty of the elements that people associate with the nation’s largest free music festival – music, audiences having a great time, and even the former Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces, which make for one of the most unique concert backdrops in the nation. Look closer at the work of art created by 4O1! Creative and you might also notice another important element that has added to the festival’s legacy – the names of all the people, organizations and businesses that supported Musikfest’s Save Our Songs Campaign in 2011.

One of the centerpieces of the Musikfest 2012 poster is a guitar amplifier that includes the names of the 220-plus individuals, corporations and groups that made donations to help Musikfest following the heavy rains and flooding that hit the festival last year. ArtsQuest incorporated the names into the poster as a way to recognize those who made contributions to Musikfest in the weeks and months following the festival’s end.

“The outpouring of support that ArtsQuest received from the community following Musikfest 2011 was simply  amazing,” says ArtsQuest Board of Trustees Chair Sam Torrence, who served as the chair of the Save Our Songs Campaign. “We wanted this year’s poster to be, at least in some, small way, a tribute to everyone who rallied around the festival and ArtsQuest in 2011.  We thank our members, donors, sponsors, volunteers, vendors and everyone else from the Lehigh Valley and beyond who has contributed to the Save Our Songs campaign.”

For 401! Creative, the Allentown-based design studio specializing in web, video, photo and print design and advertising, the opportunity to create the 2012 Musikfest poster was a very special experience.

“Being able to produce last year’s Musikfest poster was a real company milestone for us.  As you can imagine we were elated when we were asked to do it again. It was an amazing collaborative experience working with the staff at ArtsQuest,” says 401! Co-founder and Art Director Curtis Johnson. “This year’s design evolved from an initial abstract collage to the guitar case theme presented in the final poster.  Everyone at 4O1! wanted to be a part of the process. We’re incredibly proud to be a part of Lehigh Valley’s community and we hope everyone thinks this year’s Musikfest poster rocks.”

To celebrate the release of the new Musikfest poster, ArtsQuest and 401! Creative will be giving away mini-Musikfest 2012 posters to the first 100 people through the doors for the Craig Thatcher show tonight at the ArtsQuest Center’s Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the Musikfest 2012 poster, please visit


Editor’s Note: Below is a high-resolution image of the official Musikfest 2012 poster.

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