Rant ‘N’ Roll: Musikfest Is Coming

Every year ‘round this time I go boppin’ down the streets with my belly full of sweet red wine sampling the culinary delights of numerous countries (I’m partial to those Greek sandwiches) as I stick my head in concert after concert all happening within minutes of each other…every imaginable genre from folk, jazz, bebop, rock, blues, polka, pop, oldies and worldbeat to bluegrass, Celtic, classical and rockabilly. AND IT’S ALL FREE. Yeah, that’s right, my favorite time of the year is back again. Map out your route, baby, and start walkin’. And you don’t have to camp out, travel very far or jump through any hoops. Musikfest 2013 promises to be 10 days of gawkin’ at the girls dressed for summer, groovin’ under the hot sun, then under the stars until late, goin’ home and sleepin’ in your own bed before gettin’ up in the morn and doin’ it all over again.

I love Musikfest. (Oh, and did I mention the fireworks on the final night?)

When: August 2-11

Where: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (an hour west of North Jersey, y’all)

This is its 30th year. I’m talkin’ 500 musical performances on 14 stages spread out over a few acres of prime real estate. Your big-ticket items on the main stage cost money, sure, but that’s not the heart and soul of this fest. There are 13 other stages all for free and that’s where the real action is for the music connoisseur. You wanna pay to see Carly Rae Jepsen (8/2), OneRepublic (8/3), Skillet (8/4), Frampton’s Guitar Circus with B.B. King (8/5), George Thorogood and Southside Johnny (8/6), Styx and Foreigner (8/7), KC And The Sunshine Band (8/8), Darius Rucker (8/9), Ke$ha (8/10) or Avenged Sevenfold (8/11), go ahead. In that beautiful venue, outdoors, with that great sound system, you still can’t go wrong, but, for me? The free stuff is better: the legendary Buckwheat Zydeco is a’comin’ straight from New Orleans 8/7 and what could be more heavenly than to dance under the stars to that Zydeco sound? There’s plenty of room to move at the free shows and they’re all outdoors. The only daughter of Hank Williams, Holly Williams, will play for free four hours before Buckwheat. (Over the past 30 years, over 14,000 artists have performed for free at this festival.)

Other freebies include North Carolina’s hipper-than-hip Southern Culture On The Skids (8/4), bluegrass/hip-hop fusionists Gangstagrass 8/7 and 8/8, Americana darlings The Abrams Brothers 8/7 and 8/8, and Here Come The Mummies 8/9 (if you’ve never seen these undead dudes all wrapped up playing wild-ass funk and R&B in their mummy garb, you have a treat in store). Ditto for Igor & Red Elvises (8/3, 4 & 5) from behind the Iron Curtain (Siberia, to be exact) with their frenetic oddball surf rock. Folk singer John Gorka will open the fest (he opened the first fest back in ’84). I’ll be dancin’ ‘round to gypsy swing band Caravan Of Thieves 8/10. I could go on. There’s literally hundreds more. As I say, you map your route and you take your walk. Musikfest.org has all the info.

I’ll never forget some moments from previous years at this festival. Al Green substituting for Etta James at the last minute was a holy delight. Rockin’ in the rain to John Fogerty…dancing with all the lesbians at a hotter-than-hot Melissa Etheridge concert. (It must have been 110 degrees that night and everybody was sweating and dancing.) At show’s end, since it was the last night, we could all see the fireworks that went off spectacularly timed with her encore, a total coincidence but it made for an orgasmic end to the evening.

I’m looking forward to making more memories this year.