Willie Nelson will headline Virtual Music Festival 2020



The organizers of Musikfest announced Wednesday that the annual event will move online amid the ongoing efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Eighty Virtual & Live Television Performances and Musikfest Food Vendor Experience Highlight Musikfest 2020 July 31-Aug. 9

Nonprofit ArtsQuest Invites Community to Participate by Sharing Memories, Enjoying Concert Streams and Donating to Support the Festival & Live Music Community

BETHLEHEM, PA—More than 80 performers and 30 partners are joining with ArtsQuest to keep the music alive and free for the community during Musikfest 2020 July 31-Aug. 9.

The 2020 Musikfest will include 40 all-new, exclusive concerts shown via Musikfest.org as part of Virtual Musikfest, 40 performances by bands airing live from the Service Electric TV studios and an on-site food and beverage experience at SteelStacks that will include at least 10 Musikfest favorite food vendors. As the region moves through the state’s reopening process, ArtsQuest will continue to announce programming updates and changes weekly, including possible additional in-person events and concerts at SteelStacks.

“So many people have been asking about the status of Musikfest 2020 over the past several weeks, and for that we are so appreciative,” says Kassie Hilgert, President & CEO of ArtsQuest, the nonprofit that presents Musikfest.

“The reality, however, is that the focus since mid-March needed to be on the pandemic and those working on the front lines. The health of everyone, including our patrons, performers, artists, volunteers, vendors and staff, has always been and will continue to be our number-one concern in all of this.

During this time of crisis, we feel it is particularly important to keep our community connected through music and the arts, as well as to support our local musicians, artists and vendors, the vast majority of whom are reeling since this pandemic has decimated the live music and events industry.

“We are working closely with the City of Bethlehem on Musikfest 2020 planning and we will look to add in-person elements on the SteelStacks campus at the appropriate time, following all safe social distancing guidelines and health and safety regulations enacted by the city and the state. While we can’t yet predict or announce what those in-person events might look like, rest assured they will be reflective of the traditions and celebrations people have come to cherish about Musikfest.”


The only music festival to be twice named the No. 1 Music Festival in North America by the USA Today/10Best readers’ poll, Musikfest is the largest free admission music festival in the nation, typically featuring more than 425 artists and performers on 17 stages spread throughout the city.

Fans who’ve come to enjoy Musikfest’s diverse musical lineup will find more of the same this year, with 40 all-new streaming performances over the 10 days focused on rock, blues, folk, Celtic, world, indie and more. Among the artists already confirmed to perform as part of Virtual Musikfest lineup are KT Tunstall, Igor & The Red Elvises, Betcha, The Accidentals, Mike Mains & the Branches, Hollis Brown, Making Movies and Craig Thatcher & Nyke Van Wyk. Additional artists will be announced as they are confirmed in the coming weeks. In addition, the Service Electric TV2 Studios on Avenue A in Bethlehem are being transformed into a Musikfest stage and will offer live shows by singer-songwriters, rock acts and popular Musikfest acts all 10 days of the festival. Artists slated to perform and air live from Service Electric include The Sofa Kings, Philadelphia Funk Authority, Jimmy & the Parrots, Boat House Row, The Large Flowerheads, Fritz’s Polka Band and more.

“The live music and events industry, like so many other industries, has been hit hard by this crisis,” says ArtsQuest Chief Programming Officer Patrick Brogan. “A big part of ArtsQuest’s mission over the years has been providing paid performance opportunities for artists to support their livelihood, and we are looking to continue that tradition this year with these virtual performances and live-via-TV concerts connecting artists and fans.”

All Wind Creek Steel Stage main stage performances, with the exception of The National, have been postponed. The Darius Rucker show has been rescheduled to Aug. 7, 2021, while the Kelsea Ballerini concert will now take place Aug. 12, 2021.

ArtsQuest is working with artist management to reschedule the Willie Nelson, Poison, Rob Zombie and Shinedown shows to Musikfest 2021 and asks ticketholders to hold on to their tickets for those shows until the new dates are confirmed and announced. All tickets will be honored at the new 2021 dates. An email will be sent to all ticket purchasers once a new date has been established. If a new date can’t be established, ArtsQuest will send an email outlining patrons’ options on what they can request for their ticket purchase, including an option for those who want to support Musikfest by donating the cost of their tickets back to the nonprofit ArtsQuest.

The National concert set for this year has been cancelled and ArtsQuest will contact all ticket purchasers for this performance via an email outlining ticketholders options, including refunds and the opportunity for those who want to support Musikfest by donating the cost of their tickets back to ArtsQuest.

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