When you first move to the Lehigh Valley, one of the first places you learn about is Historic Bethlehem. It's easy to find, so you go to Bethlehem Brew Works and walk up and down Main Street.
Soon, depending on the time of year, you may hear about Musikfest. You wonder what's up with the "K" and why everyone is so passionate about it (one way or the other). When Musikfest approaches, you read the long lists of performers in the newspaper and you don't recognize any names except the ones that you have to pay to see.
You think, what is this, a battle of the bands? This event is not for me. And maybe you skipped it.
Fortunately, someone showed me the way. In my opinion, the key to enjoying Musikfest is 50% preparation and planning, 30% footwear choice, and 20% weather. I always wear a little backpack. I don't care if it isn't "cool." I have stuff to carry, and I don't want to lose it or get my purse dirty (I won't say stolen because I've never heard of any kind of theft at the Fest, but I'm sure it happens). The "stuff" I carry is everything from my purse plus my Fest tickets, extra tissues for the Port-o-Potties, wet wipes, and a bottle of water (sorry, I know it's illegal, but I do it anyway). I also take a few minutes to look on the Musikfest web site to plan what I want to see. I wear shoes that can take a beating on the hills of Bethlehem and through mud puddles or dust. And I always, ALWAYS plan for the weather, bringing day supplies (hat, sun block, fan) or night supplies (flashlight), and an umbrella if there's even the slightest chance of rain.
It may sound a little like camping, but that's because unlike going to the mall, you are not going to see your car for a long time. There is covered seating at a number of stages but some aren't covered at all (Americaplatz) but are worth going to for the view of South Mountain. A lot of the food is generic but there is some good stuff out there, so walk around and peruse before deciding (my personal favorite "row" of vendors is near Volksplatz, there's just so much to choose from).
Parking is everyone's favorite subject to debate about Musikfest. Some lucky people know someone who lives close to the Musikfest grounds with a driveway. The rest of the world pays $10 to park in a lot or takes the shuttle from Martin Tower. Traffic is pretty tight in downtown so it's usually easier to park on the outskirts of the direction you're coming from. Actually, the shuttle is kind of fun and reinforces that camp feeling.
I'll be volunteering at Musikfest tonight for the first time ever. Maybe I'll see you there.