Tag Archives: Musikfest 2016

Summer Scouts Conjure Musikfest Memories with “Give It Our All” Video

Before Summer Scouts hit the American Spirits Roadhouse stage as part of our May-riffic Music Festival on Saturday, May 27 (8:15 p.m.), we want to give you a preview of what’s to come with the video for the band’s newest single, “Give It Our All.”

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August 2016: The Best Month Ever?

Well… that was quite a month!

It started with the story of how we wound up here in the first place. Then, we announced a Mega Powerful partnership with our pal Dustin Schoof. That was reason to party, so we followed it up with a ten-day celebration of the grandest musical tradition in our Valley. We covered artists from our region and beyond, and even had the chance to get in on the action, thanks to a special assist from our friends at the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association and ArtsQuest.

The fun didn’t stop there. We hung out at an open jam featuring former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and a couple of the best and brightest young bands in our region. We enjoyed a diversified #SuperSaturday around our Valley that included a studio performance, a grand opening, and a night of hardcore. We reviewed albums, featured some great pieces from contributors, and had a wonderful time doing it all.

What did all of that mean for us? It meant shattering every meaningful record – Every. Single. Record. – when it comes to LVU’s site traffic. Here are a few of the milestones we reached this August.

  • Surpassed 50,000 all-time page views
  • Surpassed 10,000 all-time unique visitors
  • Surpassed 12,500 page views in a single month (previous record – 9,199)
  • Surpassed 2,300 unique visitors in a single month (previous record – 1,747)

The moral of the story is that Lehigh Valley Underground grew up this month, from a fledgling local music blog to a force to be reckoned with. Our platform has improved greatly over the past month, which bodes well for the many talented artists and music people on our local scene.

There’s no sense in stopping now. Tonight, we cap our amazing month at the Great Allentown Fair, supporting just a few of our favorite local artists as they compete to win WZZO’s 28th Annual Backyard Bands Competition.

So, that was August — a milestone month for LVU in every way. After all of that, only one question comes to mind…

How will we #GoUnderground to make September even better?


As you know from reading Lehigh Valley Underground, this year’s Musikfest was not my first rodeo. However, it was the first go-round for LVU at the nation’s largest free outdoor music festival, and we are beyond grateful that A) this thing happens in our backyard and B) we had the opportunity to take part.

We saw and heard some amazing musicians – some good friends of LVU, while others were completely new discoveries for us. We ate good food, we filled our mugs, and we even got to hang in the Sands Steel Stage pit and get some pretty cool photos of X Ambassadors. We got to see this entire community come together to celebrate music, summer, and the Lehigh Valley – and we were fortunate enough to join in.

So, with that, I personally want to thank a few people and organizations for making our first Musikfest as an organization one for the ages.

First, thank you to the team at ArtsQuest who, in addition to being SUPER supportive of LVU, take weeks out of their summer every year to ensure that you and I have a good time in downtown Bethlehem for 10 days. You all were the first folks I met when I came back to the Valley, and I look forward to working with you all for years to come.

Thank you to amazing teammates like Lisa, Ambrose and, of course, our fellow Mega Power Dustin Schoof for covering what I couldn’t. Next year, I promise that I won’t book any vacations before knowing the dates of Musikfest (not that I regret fulfilling my lifelong, bucket list dream of finally seeing my Cubs play at Wrigley Field, because that place is amazing and I WILL be going back – just not from Aug. 4-13, 2017).

Thank you to our partners at the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association for the honor and privilege of introducing Another Day Dawns, Doubting Thoma$, The Cherrybombs, and Social Call at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards Rock Showcase on Aug. 7. This night was easily a highlight of 2016 so far, both for LVU and for me personally. We can’t wait to work more with you to create opportunities, large and small, for everyone on the music scene.

Also, special thanks to Lisa and my wonderful girlfriend, Meg, for volunteering their time to LVU at the event and believing in this hare-brained scheme of mine.

Thank you to all of the musicians, who use their talents to make Musikfest and, as always, the Lehigh Valley’s music scene what it is. Without you, there would be no ‘Fest or LVU, and this place would be a lot less vibrant.

Finally, thank you, the readers, for making last week by far the most successful week in LVU history. We shattered records for page views and unique visitiors during our Musikfest coverage, and it’s because you all care so much about your music scene. We couldn’t do it without your support.

#ThanksMusikfest, for being you. See you in 2017!

I Want to See Your Belly Dance!

If you know that phrase,  you are familiar with Igor and the Red Elvises, a light-hearted, foot-stomping, hand-waiving, finger-pointing satirical band that started in Russia. This energetic and rebellious musical group combine a multitude of instruments at various performances including the clarinet, saxophone, flute, and banjo, just to name a few. According to the band’s website, their “unique brand of humor combined with guitar based rock’n’roll makes audiences want to sing, dance, scream and shout.”

What I saw on a hot and humid Friday evening at Musikfest was nothing short of incredible. Igor and the Red Elvises always deliver, no matter how much they evolve throughout their 20 plus years of touring. The photos and video give a little insight into this odd, fun, wacky, and talented band. Enjoy!

(By the way, forgive the quality of the photos; they were taken on my smartphone with little control of exposure, but you’ll get the vibe of the evening.)

Musikfest Five-Point Preview: Day 9

Keeping cool?

The dog days of August are certainly living up to their name this weekend. First of all, make sure that you stay hydrated out there. Fill your ‘Fest mugs with some nice, cold water once in a while.

That should prepare you for the day ahead – and all of the great tunes you have to look forward to.

Musikfest Five-Point Preview
Day 9 – Aug. 13, 2016

La Overtoner | 3 p.m.
Stage: Provident Bank Main Street (North)
Description: Beat the heat with the Berks County natives’ brand of alt-rock.

Rusty and Justin of Flowers for Taco | 5 p.m.
Stage: Hotel Bethlehem Platz (North)
Description: Two members of the Allentown-based party band return for a stripped-down set.

John Hufford | 6 p.m.
Stage: Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (South)
Description: John comes to us from nearby Hellertown with an intimate set of folk rock.

Scott Marshall & Marshall Scott | 8 p.m.
Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (South)
Description: Scott Marshall and his only son perform an acoustic set together.

Craig Thatcher Band | 9 p.m.
Stage: Air Products Americaplatz (South)
Description: The local legend plays a headline set on South Side’s largest free stage.

There’s more where that came from! Check in with DustinSchoof.com every morning throughout Musikfest for a full free stage lineup!

Brief Interviews with Wonderful Men

Musikfest is a time of unique opportunities in the Valley. For music fans, it is a chance to see national touring acts – Run DMC or Don Henley, for example – whose appearances in the area would otherwise be few and far between. At the same time, we are exposed to a unique cross-section of local acts. For musicians, it is a chance to play to a more diverse selection of than they might be used to. In either case, Musikfest is a vehicle for exposure. I spoke to several local artists about this year’s experience, both on and off the stage.

009Matt, from VoirVoir

On the Bethlehem get-stoked-rock darlings’ Tuesday evening performance at the Provident Bank Main Street Stage: “It was the ideal set to me – I felt like we were one with the audience, not above or below them. We were communicating.”

On the band’s reception from the crowd: “It was the first time I ever heard people singing along as loud as I heard myself, which was amazing.”

“And there were so many new people we connected with; we almost sold out of merch after the first set.”

On familiar faces: “All the local support from friends and family made it magical.”

On the rest of the week: “I had to work pretty much every second up until our set, and after. I’m bummed I missed Slinghot Dakota and Summer Scouts.”

On the upcoming weekend: “Ape [April, who plays keys and sings in VoirVoir] and I are stoked to go see Kississippi this weekend – we played with them at Siren Records and they were great, and sweet people to boot.”

On tonight: “What I’m looking forward to is walking around and happening on something, like when I was a kid.”

On the overall experience: “Musikfest is a great opportunity for local musicians to connect with new people – from the area and beyond – and, like our Tuesday night set, play a lovely show for friends and family in the middle of the town we love.”


trouble city all stars

Photo credit: Trouble City All-Stars Myspace

Todd, from Trouble City All-Stars/Goat Wizard

On his hectic week: “Six total sets for me and Trouble City at Volksplatz, and then bars and clubs around the vicinity of Musikfest like the Funhouse, the Wooden Match, and Steel Pub. We even played at a car show this weekend.”

On late night sets: “[They’re like] Musikfest after parties, for when the Fest night is over but people still want to party!”

On the best bands he saw this week: “Band from Mars [a Bowie tribute] or VoirVoir. It’s a toss up.”

On the evolution of Musikfest: “I was happy to see a lot more local bands this year, and I was happy to be in my band playing this year for the seventh time. There’s a very good feeling about the whole town coming together and having an awesome music festival.”

On next year: “I’m looking forward to doing it again, and I have to thank the people that bring us back each year and support us, and all the people that come out and support us every year. It means the world to us.”

“Also looking forward to more rad bands; every year the program for the festival gets better and better!”

On his Musikfest all-time favorites: “Every year they bring back Runa Pacca, the Peruvian flute players. Seriously, the best; they are the true essence of my Musikfest.”

Musikfest Five-Point Preview: Day 8

The second weekend of Musikfest 2016 is now upon us.

Although we’re sad that the ‘Fest is winding down for another year, there’s still an entire weekend’s worth of memories and awesome performances still to come. Have some variety today on us!

Musikfest Five-Point Preview
Day 8 – Aug. 12, 2016

The Philadelphia German Brass Band | 12 p.m.
Stage: Wells Fargo Festplatz (North)
Description: How about some Musikfest-traditional polka on your lunch break? That is, if you went to work at all today…

Crushed Out | 3 p.m.
Stage: Volksplatz (North)
Description: Blues rock from Brooklyn highlights your afternoon.

Wild Planes | 5 & 7 p.m.
Stage: Provident Bank Main Street (North)
Description: Fly with some funk and soul from New York City.

Jessi Lee Ross | 7 p.m.
Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas
Description: An intimate acoustic performance from a local artist. Speaking of local artists…

Sabrina Carpenter | 7:30 p.m.
Stage: Sands Steel Stage (South)
Description: Pretty cool that one of eastern PA’s own is headlining Musikfest on a Friday night, isn’t it?

There’s more where that came from! Check in with DustinSchoof.com every morning throughout Musikfest for a full free stage lineup!

Musikfest Five-Point Preview: Day 7

So… how did you like yesterday’s Schoof Schpecial? Special thanks to DustinSchoof.com for a job well done!

We’re back on it here at LVU, and it’s a good thing – there is still much more to enjoy today at Musikfest (including some family-oriented programming early in the day, in case you have kids in tow).

Musikfest Five-Point Preview
Day 7 – Aug. 11, 2016

PBS39 Presents TeleBear’s Summer Jam with Kira Willey & Friends | 2 p.m.
Air Products Tell Me More Stage at PBS39 (South)
Description: The kindie artist and musical yogini presents a performance of music and mindfulness. Also, a new TeleBear’s Summer Jam takes place every day at PBS39 at 2 p.m. through the end of Musikfest!

Easton School of Rock’s Bank Street Band | 2:30 p.m.
Stage: FLYLVIA Plaza Tropical (North)
Description: Meanwhile, family entertainment on the North Side features the Easton School of Rock’s best and brightest.

Tony Gairo & Lou Lanza | 5:30 p.m.
Stage: BB&T Jazz Cabaret Stage (South)
Description: Enjoy some early evening jazz courtesy of two artists with Moravian College ties.

Dina Hall Band | 6:30 p.m.
Red Stag Pub Liederplatz (North)
Description: After an intimate set on South Side last night, the local folk legend comes north with a full band.

The Blind Owl Band | 8:30 p.m.
Stage: Provident Bank Main Street (North)
Description: Have you had a dose of bluegrass yet? If not, this could be your chance.

There’s more where that came from! Check in with DustinSchoof.com every morning throughout Musikfest for a full free stage lineup!

Soul, Groove and Youthful Exuberance Highlight Tuesday Night Musikfest Action

Tuesday night started a bit early for me than Monday’s adventure did. For one thing, I am (mostly) recovered from the Lehigh Valley Music Awards Rock Showcase, so it was easy for me to get moving.

It was even easier for the Festplatz crowd to get moving around 5:30 p.m. That’s when the Sensational Soul Cruisers took the stage. The vocal quartet — with one of the tightest backing bands you’ll ever hear — played more than an hour’s worth of Motown, soul, and R&B hits that kept the dance floor way more packed than you’d expect on a Tuesday afternoon.

There was still plenty of soul to be had a Musikfest after the Soul Cruisers wrapped up. For one thing, The Groove Merchants were getting ready to begin their second set of the day on the Provident Bank Main Street stage in celebration of their new album, “Take It.”

I swear, the Groove Merchants’ blend of funk, jazz, blues, and rock keeps getting better every time I see them. Frontman Tye Vallone excelled at his job, keeping the crowd engaged with his charisma and ability on multiple instruments, while solos from guitarist Luke Ferracone and trumpeter Dylan Hinnershitz wowed those who had gathered around for the band’s set.

As dusk came over Main Street and The Groove Merchants packed their instruments and merch table, it was time for a change of pace courtesy of Bethlehem indie rockers, Voirvoir. The five-piece packed the front of the stage with fans and supporters, injecting even more youthful energy into the night with anthems like opening song, “I Wanna.”

Musikfest Five-Point Preview: Day 6

As part of our partnership with DustinSchoof.com, we’ve decided to make today a Schoof Schpecial here at Lehigh Valley Underground. Dustin will be at the festival today, and we want to encourage you visit his site later on for the latest from Musikfest. Of course, we’ll be back to recap his findings and link you to them later.

So, that’s where he’ll be. But specifically, where should you be? Well, we have a few suggestions for you to try…

Musikfest Five-Point Preview
Day 6 – Aug. 10, 2016

Quimby Mountain Band | 5 p.m.
Red Stag Pub Liederplatz (North)
Description: The popular Jersey roots rockers cross the state line to jam at ‘Fest.

The Moondogs | 5 p.m.
Stage: Volksplatz (North)
Description: Expect an excellent mix of classic covers, contemporary tunes, and originals when the Moondogs howl.

Billy Bauer Band | 7 p.m.
Stage: Red Stag Pub Liederplatz (North)
Description: Keep jammin’ on the North Side with one of Bethlehem’s own.

Dina Hall | 8 p.m.
Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (South)
Description: Join the Lehigh Valley folk legend for an intimate set.

Here Come the Mummies | 9:30 p.m.
Stage: Air Products Americaplatz (South)
Description: You came to South Side, so why not stay there for some fun all the way from Egypt?

There’s more where that came from! Check in with DustinSchoof.com every morning throughout Musikfest for a full free stage lineup!

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