First we want to thank Artsquest for making this easy as hell on us, in the form of a press email titled, “What’s New At Musikfest 2013.” Cheers.
Musikfest has always had people doing wacky things on Main Street and beyond, but this year they upped the ante a bit. Performers include a contortionist, a ‘pogo stick stuntman’, someone billed as a ‘fire-breather and professional idiot’, a breakdancing group, and Arizona Jones, an ‘Indiana Jones satirist’, among others. We’re a bit scared for that last one though. The last drunken foray with a whip didn’t end so well.
There’s a few new food vendors, as well. Maison Crepes is going to be set up in Volksplatz and Cow and Curd, the first food truck ever at Musikfest (YES!) will be serving up fried cheese curds at Americaplatz. So Fun Yogurt, further spreading the goddamn inescapable trend of a froyo shop on every block, will be at Banana Island.
The Musikfest shuttle that used to be at Commcrce Center and 412 is now gone because 412 is a complete clusterfuck. It’s now located at the RMS lot at 240 Emery Street.
Booze – Woodchuck, Strongbow, and Magners will all be served at Festplatz. We like.
This is the worst part of Musikfest. If you’re insane you’ll try to park close to the festival. There’s two off-site lots that allow you to park and take a shuttle (for money, of course) to the festival. Trying to park on the street is next to impossible. You can also park over at the Sands lot or parking deck and head over to the Artsquest area.
Musikfest is divided into two sides, North and South. You’ll either need to walk your drunk ass a good distance between the two or take the north/south shuttle bus.
This is the biggest part of Musikfest. Even more-so than the music. First step: Buy a mug. Sure, you can buy individual beers, but they’re smaller and if you plan on doing any real drinking at Musikfest you’ll want a mug. Do yourself a favor and get a blinking mug right away before you’re drunk, sad, and wanting a blinking mug instead of the boring one in your hand. It’s an extra few bucks but what the hell.
The Musikfest tents have sucky beer. Many places also offer cheaper refills than the Musikfest tents. So, where to go? The Wooden Match used to be the best place to get refills as they were $5 and had great craft beer options, however the new ownership has vocally said that it won’t be that way this year. So, screw that. Go to The Brew Works and load up on local craft beer instead.
If you’re intent on hitting up a Musikfest tent the best one to go to is Liederplatz. It always has the shortest lines, is located by Main Street, and allows you to get in and out quickly. If you’re on the South Side head inside the Artsquest venue for the good beer. Downstairs they have some bottled stuff and some mediocre things on draft, but upstairs in the Musikfest Café they have things like Victory Hopdevil, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, and others.
Other places to refill/drink:
Looper’s: Loopers is inbetween North Side and South Side so if you’re walking or getting off at a bus stop further away, this is a good stop. Not too far from the Artsquest venues and they’ll be pouring some stuff that’s a little better than the beer tent offerings.
JP Macgrady’s: No longer a smoky, smelly shithole and they’ve got a great draft selection.
The Bookstore Speakeasy: Get away from the madness for a cocktail or craft beer. Can’t guarantee it’s going to be completely relaxed (most likely will be a crowd and music) but it’ll be a hell of a lot better than getting your beer knocked into every 3 seconds by a drunk teenager.
Molly’s: Probably going to be crowded as hell. Good selection of beer, though.
Steel Pub: They usually have some Victory stuff on draft and are offering $5 mug refills.
Hotel Bethlehem: They serve generic beer and Guinness for mug refills.
Rosanna’s: They’re always doing mug refills of the Miller/Coors variety at this Italian joint located a block away from the main action at Broad and New Streets.
Penn Pizza: Just down from Rosanna’s on New Street is Penn Pizza who also does refills of Coors/Miller.
Joe’s Tavern: One of the dirtiest dives in all of Bethlehem, if you’re looking for cheap beer and weird/bad company, this is the place to stop in. If not, get your cheap beer and get the hell out of there. Gets mobbed during fest.
Ripper’s: A similarly disgusting bar with lots of pretty motorcycles parked outside to look at, Rippers does cheap mug refills of swill-ish beer.
There’s so much shit to eat at Musikfest it’s almost a daunting task to decide what to have. Over the years we’ve spent an ungodly amount of money and time trying the best and the worst. Here’s where and what you should shove down your gullet to soak up all that beer:
Aw Shucks: Easily the greatest corn-on-the-cob you’ll ever have. They bathe it in butter, roll it in parmesan, and top it with some mild spice that makes it irresistible. They’re also at every valley festival for miles and we’re all the happier for it. This stuff is also easy to walk around with and eat at the same time. Grab it on the way to an act and be ready to sit and digest when you get there. Located at the Sands Steel Stage, Handwerkplatz, and Plaza Tropical.
Foodstuff: Because you can get anything here. Potato pancakes, chicken paprikash, brats, wieners, bierocks, goulash, halupski, haluski, grounder fingers, butterfly fries, etc. Located at Festplatz.
Holy Infancy – Portuguese donuts. Eat them. Located at Plaza Tropical.
Karl Ehmer: One of the only places around selling actual German fare at a supposedly German festival. They’ve got all the wurst you could ever want and it’s all so very good. Located in Festplatz.
Heidi’s Strudel: After you down some Knackwurst have dessert with some German strudel. Some of the best pastry you’ll find at Musikfest. Located in Festplatz
Pig Pit – Haven’t been here before, but they’re serving things called “pig slop” and “pig pit pedals”. Sounds like it’s worth a look, even if it doesn’t turn out to be appetizing. Located at Plaza Tropical.
Shookies: Because we’re still not sure what the hell a porketta or a chicketta are, but they sound good.
Take-A-Taco: Quite possibly the area’s favorite festival food. They show up all over the place…Mayfair, MFest, Allentown Fair, etc. And their tacos are damn good. The taco bowls are great too. Just get anything and you’ll be happy. Located on Main Street and in Volksplatz.
Theo’s Gyros: They’re rocking three spots this year and always serve up some very tasty gyros with a delicious tzatziki sauce. Located at Sands Steel Stage, Banana Island and Main Street.
And last, but certainly not least, the best food of Musikfest: The Hogar Crea of Freemansburg shish kebabs. These are marinated in a mixture of 24k gold, unicorn blood, meth, and sunshine. They feature big, delicious beef chunks that are cooked over huge, smoky pits that you can smell a whole platz away. Intermittently interrupting the giant stick of meat are onions and peppers cooked over those same pits. Just a tiny bit of char on the edges mixes oh so well with the sweet, tender veggies. If you eat nothing else at Musikfest, eat these shish-kebabs. Located at Handwerkplatz by the Aw Shucks tent and the bell guy.