Having recently just posted about how much I like Musikfest and how it is the biggest event of the year here in the Lehigh Valley this post may seem like a contradiction, but it is not.
I served on the Martin on Main committee via my involvement with the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce. This was the second year for this event honoring all things Martin Guitar in the borough where they are made, Nazareth, PA. The event began last year to celebrate the 175 anniversary of the company. It was so successful that people wanted it to become an annual event.
Oddly enough this year was better than the anniversary year. We had more food vendors and more crafts people. The downtown restaurants all had outdoor cafe seating and the Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works created a blonde ale just for the event, Martin Summer Strummer. I spent a few hours pouring beer and it was a great success and a tasty one two. The Fegley family run a great civic minded business and if you have not been to one of their three Brew Works locations get thee to the brewery and support this local family venture.
There was a main stage with Martin devotees from across the planet each performing 3 song sets (there were so many of them) and some big name act, who I never heard of but people were all abuzz about him, he was quite good. The music was mostly acoustic and very folk oriented.
If I heard one more song about a dust bowl surviving Irish nun who was an outlaw murderer who lost his job and tried to feed her family on a farm in the middle of Kansas City during the time of the great potato famine brought on by a callous big business man whose wife left him for a leper living in San Jose but wanting to hitch hike to Memphis, I was going to scream and then someone saved the day by playing a little Dylan followed by a James Taylor cover. There were also a few small stages through out the area where people could jump on and play. The entire event was about a block and half long plus the main stage area in the center square of town. There were also lot's of young guys just playing wherever they could find an audience and the cute factor was really quite high.
It was bloody hot but a really great day. Hopefully this really will continue as an annual event and I hope I get to be asked to be on the planning committee again. I think Musikfest missed out on a great cross marketing opportunity. They were approached but never responded. Next year I will be more aggressive in my follow up. This was a really great celebration of an international icon that is made here in the Lehigh Valley. I hope that Martin On Main will grow to have the same economic impact on lovely downtown Nazareth that Musikfest has had on my downtown.