Meet the 40-year volunteers who've rocked with Musikfest since 1984

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, August 7, 2023
Meet the 40-year volunteers who've rocked with Musikfest since 1984
The 10-day-long festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, wouldn't be possible without these dedicated day-one volunteers.

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I was here the very first minute that Musikfest opened," said Pat Holetz. "I was very, very impressed when I arrived on the scene."

Holetz remembers the first Musikfest in 1984 being smaller than it is today. But the same sense of family and merriment can still be felt at the 40th iteration of the iconic event.

"Time flies by so fast when you're having a good time," she said.

Holetz enjoys reminiscing with 11 of her fellow volunteers who have also stuck with Musikfest since the very beginning. They share stories about chicken suits, trolleys, polka and parades. They discuss their favorite musical acts ranging from local bands to global sensations.

But in many ways, the volunteers themselves are the stars of the show.

"Volunteers are the lifeblood of Musikfest," said Cory Stevens, Volunteer Program Manager at ArtsQuest, which helps run the event. "They do everything from poor beer, they'll scan your tickets at the concerts, and they help us set up the merchandise as well."

Stevens is hoping that the 40-year-old enthusiasm, which has aged like fine wine, will rub off on some new volunteers.

"We're definitely looking for new folks who want to learn from these folks that have so much experience putting this festival together so that we can pass that baton on and keep it going for another 40," he said.

It may require some hard work and heavy lifting, but volunteers like Norbert Szymanski say it's been worth it.

"We've all sort of treated each other like we're family, especially older people. We more tend to become isolated as our friends die off or just leave the area," he said. "So, all I can say about it is, it's been an easy 40 years for me."

Musikfest started on Thursday, August 3, and will continue until Sunday, August 13. To learn more about the performances, food, tickets, and volunteer opportunities, visit their website.

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