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Kesha Has Bethlehem Pennsylvania Praying At MusikFest

MusikFest 2018 Featuring Kesha

If you don’t know what MusikFest is, my friends, you are missing out. The week and a half long music, arts, and food festival was founded in 1984 thanks to the folks at ArtsQuest. MusikFest takes over the town of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. In its first year the festival featured 295 performances on six stages and attracted 180,000 people to the city. Fast forward 35 years later and the city’s annual festival has grown exponentially. The fest holds its ground now as one of the largest and most diverse music festivals in the nation. This year the event has 500+ shows on 16 stages over the course of ten days! Each year more than 900,000 people make their way to the Lehigh Valley extravaganza.

ArtsQuest is a community based non-profit focused on bringing the arts to the community. Thanks to almost 2,000 volunteers, 150 or so corporate partners, the city of Bethlehem, and of course the performers, MusikFest remains the largest free music festival in the country. The ten days are filled with music of virtually every genre imaginable; food and drinks are available pretty much everywhere you go throughout the city wide event. Everything from funnel cake and waffles with ice cream to pulled pork tacos and burgers are for the taking.  

This year’s festival began on August 3rd and will run until August 12th. Performers include Brantley Gilbert, Daughtry, Dierks Bentley, Gary Clark Jr, Kesha, GROUPLOVE, Jason Mraz, Jim Gaffigan, Styx, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, All Time Low with Dashboard Confessional and so many more!

I made my way out to experience this gem for myself because for years I’ve heard about Musikfest. I’ve looked forward to the day I could be there and report back on the sites and sounds of my experience. So I found myself this year making the trek to Pennsylvania on a humid August Tuesday to see Kesha’s performance and of course eat, because what’s better than great music, good food, and ice cold beer in 90 degree heat? Nothing! The answer to that should only be nothing, come on people keep up here.

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As I arrived into Bethlehem the scene was crazy… the good kind of crazy. Everywhere I turned, walked, and at times even drove, there was something awesome happening. People flooding the streets and various walkways throughout the city with their coffees, ice cream cones, and hot dogs and the place was all smiles. There are even some places to escape the heat and cool off, while somehow still being able to experience the festivities. It’s literally a giant arts community and fans of the arts all coming together for an open minded, stress free, and amazing time.

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The gates for the Musikfest Sands Steel Stage opened up at 6pm and fans poured their way in to find their seats for the evening’s entertainment. The opener for the night came in the form of the band Ceramic Animal.

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The band hails from Doylestown and refers to their genre as “Slick Tunes”. Ceramic Animal just released their new album The Horse on August 3rd and you can support them by picking up the album HERE.

Fans weren’t the only thing pouring in – mother nature had plans of her own with some thunderstorms passing through, causing fans to seek shelter and the band’s set to be delayed for nearly thirty minutes.

MusikFest Logo

Though this was my first time hearing of the guys, their style is right up my alley. An old school blend of pop rock that faintly reminds me a bit of The Killers and dare I say a tinge of Queen musically. The band’s performance seemed as if they were meant for such a big stage, dressed up in suits ready to impress; plus they sounded absolutely massive live. I was not able to contain myself from bobbing my head, and why not! The music was great and their showmanship was impressive. Ceramic Animal flawlessly owned their slot and held their own on the big stage, making for a well deserving opener to a performer like Kesha.

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Closing out the fifth night of MusikFest was the courageous, inspirational, and powerful Kesha! It was more than clear in between the set change that this crowd was excited to have this young lady in Bethlehem as the cities open view on the arts and LGBTQ community aline perfectly.

Kesha is an artist seen by her fans as an inspiration for positivity, even when going through dark times and heart wrenching tribulation. She is known for being a huge supporter and advocate for equality for everyone, and a believer in basic human rights with no problem telling you how she feels. Her wardrobe is often bright with sparkles and colorful tones. She became known for past hits like “Tik Tok” but now years later has released a powerful anthem of love and equality in the form of the massively successful record “Praying” from her latest album Rainbow.

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The singer just announced that on August 10th, she will celebrate the one year anniversary of her two time Grammy nominated album Rainbow with the release of a special behind-the-scenes documentary exclusively aired through Apple Music. The documentary was directed by Kesha along with her brother Lagan Sebert and Kevin Hayden, and produced by Magic Seed Productions. Rainbow the film details the creative process of the album and echoes her most recent LP’s messages of self-love, perseverance, and strength.

Rainbow mixes documentary style with psychedelic vignettes to share the story of Kesha’s battle with her inner demons and real life struggles. A story of redemption meditating on how some of life’s darkest setbacks can be transformed into strength and healing. The film features a ton of previously never before seen footage chronicling Kesha’s joy playing rock clubs and dive bars around the country, writing and recording Rainbow, preparing for her daunting yet triumphant performance at this past year’s Grammy Awards and much more.

Apple Music trailer:

As Kesha took the stage at roughly 8:45, it was obvious from the start both her and the fans were ready to let loose. The singer was accompanied by a full band and dancing partners, wearing all white. She took the stage furiously as she performed favorites “Blah, Blah, Blah”, and at one point stating she hasn’t shown her “ass” enough, leading to one of her dancers removing her jacket to a more revealing one piece. The night saw Kesha pulling out all the stops, even showing off her skills on a purple sparkling guitar, and running around stage without missing a step.

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The performance features a shout out of course to her LGBTQ community and supporters for the song “We R Who We R” with the stage lights turning to the colors of the rainbow flag. Fans in the audience were able to join in on the fun as well; sticks were available to attendees, but not your average sticks. These sticks were also light up glow sticks matching the rainbow flag colors. The night kept rolling with a performance of the Pitbull song “Timber” and “Die Young”. Issuing the introduction to the song “Take it Off”, Kesha had a chat with the crowd, and a very comedic chat at that. Members of the audience had thrown their bras and even panties up on to the stage, and Kesha loved every minute of it, even joking (or maybe not joking) about being a hoarder and keeping the articles of clothing on her bus, and maybe even wearing them. The fans loved it and laughed away, and she then barreled into the song encouraging the crowd to “Take it Off”.

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The show featured laughter, sadness, glitter from the stage, and canons of confetti, all while Kesha proved how topnotch of a performer she is. The absolute highlight of the night was her performing the hit “Praying” in which the whole crowd sang along beautifully and in unison. At the end of the song she expressed her utmost gratitude for the fans supporting her and sticking with her through all the craziness and bad times. You can hear it in her voice and see it in her demeanor just how genuinely appreciative she really was.

As fans left MusikFest fulfilled, many still in awe to see Kesha live, the vibe of it all was contagious and definitely left many, myself included closing out the day on a high note.  

This performance also marked the final U.S tour date for Kesha, for what appears to be the rest of 2018. After a successful tour with Macklemore, the singer will head oversees beginning September 16th in Taiwan. Stay up to date with Kesha at her official website http://www.keshaofficial.com

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MusikFest rolls on with a ton more artist hitting the stage, for the full schedule and ticket information visit the official website at http://www.musikfest.org We will see you all tonight at Gary Clark Jr.,  STAY TUNED!

See full gallery of the night!

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