Musikfest fans return to live concerts by the tens of thousands

Written by on August 10, 2021

Musikfest fans return to live concerts by the tens of thousands

By Megan frank

August 10, 2021

Crowds gather in SouthSide Bethlehem during the first weekend of Musikfest. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

Tens of thousands of people have returned for this year’s all-live Musikfest in Bethlehem. That’s despite rising COVID-19 case numbers in Northampton County.

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Last year’s shows were mostly virtual due to the pandemic, and fans say it just wasn’t the same.  

Melissa Whitman has been coming to Musikfest since she was age 8. Last year, her husband and kids watched the festival online from their Nazareth home.

“We didn’t come down for the food or anything like that, we were still a little skeptical,” Whitman said.  

She says she feels safer this year. 

“I do, because I’m vaccinated,” Whitman said. “So yes, I do. I also feel like I can keep a distance, I can move myself around.”

Crowds stroll down Main Street of Bethlehem during the first weekend of Musikfest. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

Social distancing is challenging at the festival. Most people are standing or sitting less than a foot apart as they watch the shows. Masks are only required for people who are not vaccinated, and it’s an honor system.

Lauren Firth of Coplay attended with her boyfriend. The pair say they’re not worried.

“We’re both vaccinated and all of the people that we care about are vaccinated, so we feel good about being out and about,” Firth said. 

Amara Hittinger of Walnutport says she prefers hearing the music live.

“There’s no way I would attend Musikfest any other way,” Hittinger said. “I feel safe and I’m even more excited to be around everybody again.”

For Jack Spencer of Bethlehem, the in-person event is a symbol of things returning to normal. 

“We’re looking at everybody out here and it’s just awesome,” he said. 

Most attendees showed up to Musikfest’s first few days without a mask. There are hand sanitizing stations and free masks available upon request at some festival platzes. 

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