Musikfest was preparing to hit a high note last year, introducing the 10-day party of music and food to south Bethlehem at its ambitious new SteelStacks campus.
But rain doused the festival for six days, flooding the Monocacy Creek and closing down nearby venues on the north side. The festival lost $750,000 — triple the amount of its worst year since it began 28 years ago.
The deficit came in the very year its nonprofit organizer, ArtsQuest, could least afford it because of the uncertainty that came with launching its performing arts center at SteelStacks. The loss from Musikfest, which provides half the nonprofit’s revenue, pushed ArtsQuest into a $1 million operating loss, more than 5 percent of its budget.
So, as Musikfest opens Friday evening, its financial performance is stealing some of the spotlight.