The Weather: Friday night will be partly cloudy with temperatures falling from about 80 degrees to the 60s. Saturday calls for a 50 percent chance of rain, maybe a thunderstorm, with a high about 80 degrees and an evening low in the 60s.
The Headliners: Pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, best known for “Call Me Maybe” at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets, $39 and $29. Alt rockersOneRepublic, best known for “Apologize” and “Stop and Stare,” with Churchill and Mayer Hawthorne at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets $49 and $39.
The Highlight: Folk music luminary John Gorka, who played the first notes at the first Musikfest in 1984, returns Friday for both opening ceremonies and a free show at Liederplatz (the Sun Inn Courtyard) at 9 p.m.Opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. at Americaplatz (the Levitt Pavilion at SteelStacks) will also feature special tributes to two recently deceased supporters of ArtsQuest and Musikfest—John Walson Jr. of Service Electric and Marlene “Linny” Fowler.
For the Little Ones: Banana Island hosts the Musikfest 30th Birthday Party from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the craft theme is “Safari.” Steve Pullara and His Cool Beans Band plays at nearby Plaza Tropical from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Classical Musikfest: Vagabond Opera blends Bohemian cabaret with neo-classical opera at Volksplatz from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Mary Ellen’s Celtic Corner: The O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance steps its way into your heart from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Volksplatz. OCEAN Celtic, an orchestral folk and Celtic band, takes the Volksplatz stage from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Back by Popular Demand: The Lehigh Valley’s own blues prodigy Eric Steckel plays at Americaplatz at 9 p.m. Friday and Liederplatz at 9 p.m. Saturday. Siberian surfers The Red Elvises make their annual pilgrimage to Bethlehem from Venice, Calif., starting with a Saturday, 9 p.m. show at Volksplatz. The Craig Thatcher Band plays the blues and classic rock Saturday at 9 p.m. at Americaplatz.
The Best of the Free Platzes: We’ve already mentioned the great John Gorka at Liederplatz at 9 p.m. Friday. Our other recommendations would include the raucous Gas House Gorillas, who play jump blues, gypsy swing and early rock n’ roll with New York attitude at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Musikfest Café. Downstairs at Lyrikplatz in the Banko at 9 p.m. Saturday is Bucks County’s own Gina Sicilia, a blues singer/songwriter who is well worth your time.
The Late Night Musikfest: This year, the SteelStacks campus keeps swinging until 1 a.m. on festival weekends. On Friday night, you can dance to rock ‘n’ roll oldies with The Fabulous Greaseband at the Musikfest Café starting at 10 p.m.; hear contemporary pop singer Heather Friedman sing at the Community Stage in front of the ArtsQuest Center starting at 11 p.m.; or laugh at the improvisational comedy of Mandudebro at the Banko starting at 11:15.