Inflation, supply shortages affecting everything from cups to food at Musikfest this year – The Morning Call
Musikfest vendors and organizers typically ask for two things for Bethlehem’s biggest event, which begins Friday: good weather and big crowds.
This year, they’re asking for two more things: your patience and understanding in the face of unprecedented inflation and product shortages.
Consumer prices rose 9.1% in June, according to the Consumer Price Index, the biggest 12-month increase since 1981. Supply chain issues are also causing problems for the industry events, creating shortages of plastic, potatoes, poultry and more.
Of course, the prices of your favorite Musikfest adult foods and drinks will also increase. And due to supply chain issues, you should buy the iconic mug ASAP.
ArtsQuest CEO Cassie Hilgert has warned Musikfest fans wishing to purchase the 2022 festival signature mug that ArtsQuest will not be able to restock mugs once they run out, nor does it have a cups in stock from previous years.
“Other years you could place another order at the festival and have them sent here, that’s not possible this year due to supply chain issues,” Hilgert said.
Additionally, ArtsQuest’s operating costs have increased by 20% across the board.
“Whether it’s a chair, ice cream, materials for merchandise, it’s all universally increasing [in price]”Hilgert said.
Luckily for attendees, the festival will remain free as it has been since 1984.
Vendors are also grappling with rising food prices, forced to make tough decisions like raising prices or eliminating certain dishes.
Matt and Christie Vymazal own Flying V, a poutine restaurant and food truck in south Bethlehem. Their restaurant has struggled under soaring potato prices over the past six months. A 50-pound bag of potatoes that cost $16 just six months ago now costs around $36, they said.
“We 100% feel every penny of that $20 increase,” Matt said.
It is relatively expensive for vendors to operate at Musikfest – rather than a flat fee, vendors pay ArtsQuest a percentage of their sales – so vendors generally charge even more at ‘Fest than at other locations .
The Flying V recently raised prices by $1 across the board for its dishes and will charge an additional dollar for dishes at Musikfest to account for fees.
Ralph Kane, owner of the Munchy Machine food truck in Delaware County, will be bringing the Scooby Doo-themed sandwich and snack truck to Musikfest for the first time this year. Due to the rising cost of several ingredients, including meat, it has raised the prices of its products three times in the past six months.
At Musikfest, you can expect Munchy Machine’s pork banh mi, loaded pierogies, and a chicken and waffle cone to set you back $17 each. Kane has also had to select his menu carefully to ensure all items will be available due to supply shortages.
“Things are really volatile right now,” Kane said.
Still, vendors and organizers hope the price hike won’t drown out enthusiasm for the festival.
Take a Taco food truck and catering, based in the Lehigh Valley, has been a staple at Musikfest every year since its inception. Owner George Pitsilos has avoided raising prices on most dishes because business has been strong this year, he said. The truck makes weekly appearances at the South Mall in Allentown and has visited many Lehigh Valley summer festivals, including Taco Fest and Blues, Brews and Barbecues.
“What I’ve seen this year with food trucks, people are spending,” Pitsilos said. “Maybe it’s just the Lehigh Valley area, people have jobs, jobs aren’t as bad. But I think people are still having fun. They want to hang out, go to Musikfest, see the shows, have a few beers.
And as a free festival, Musikfest is also more affordable than competing options, Hilgert said.
“For entering a free festival and supporting official Musikfest food and drink vendors, you are personally helping to keep the festival free for years to come,” she said.
“I hope that if [customers] see that sellers’ prices have increased a little this year, they are not upset. says Christie Vymazal. “It’s not because we’re trying to make more money, it’s just because we’re trying to survive.”
Morning Call reporter Lindsay Weber can be reached at 610-820-6681 and [email protected].