When Musikfest first hit the scene in Lehigh Valley in 1984, steel was still being manufactured in the South Bethlehem plant. My father and grandfather both worked for Bethlehem Steel, but not in Bethlehem. They worked at Sparrows Point. The steel was a big part of my life. You can’t imagine how thrilled I was to see the number of people on site at Musikfest’s South Side campus this year and the life that has been regenerated there.

My wife and I had tickets for Allison Krauss and Union Station so we decided to arrive early and walk around. It being a Tuesday, the SteelStacks Farmers Market was underway (though not in its normal spot). I was very impressed with the quality and variety of artisan breads, meats, cheeses, preserves, fruits and vegetables and dessert items. It’s worth a separate trip. We had dinner outside at Looper’s and as usual had a fine meal. Having seen so many dessert items we wandered back to the Farmers Market to buy something. The offer of a free sample by Tabora Farm & Orchard sealed the deal. A small bag of a dozen thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies was immediately opened and partially consumed.

We then wandered over to Americaplatz at Levitt Pavillion, checked out the food options for a return visit and listened to Peripheral Vision, Eva Katherine at the Air Products Town Square and Forty Grand before heading over for the main event.

Allison Krauss and Union Station are a tightly wound bluegrass band with a country bent. Great musicianship ruled. Allison Krauss is an incredible fiddle player. Jerry Douglass on the dobro was unbelievable. Dan Tyminsky and Ron Block were right on target. Their nearly two-hour set was full of excellent music and limited chatter. The largest reaction from the crowd was for their cover of The Foundations hit “Baby, Now That I found You.”

Rain had been threatening early in the evening, but as the clouds moved away and the moon appeared and a cool breeze came up, it was an amazing time in South Bethlehem.

How many times did you visit South Bethlehem for Musikfest?