The Jerusalem Post

Desert paradise

Good vibes at Israel’s Woodstock anniversar­y weekend


ALMOST CUT MY HAIR Celebratin­g 50 years since Woodstock Camel Bar Camping, Arava August 3-5

It may have boasted only a fraction of the masses that descended in Bethel, New York, 50 years ago, but the 450 or so celebrants who traveled to the Camel Bar desert expanse this past weekend filled the Almost Cut My Hair 50th anniversar­y festival with enough good vibes to light up the barren Route 90 in the Arava.

Against a breathtaki­ng desert backdrop dotted with tents and with the sweet aroma of burning cannabis wafting in the air, families with young children wearing earplugs mingled with longhaired hippies from Eilat and kibbutzim, festival-going Tel Aviv hipsters and untethered dogs with bandannas. For them, Tuesday’s election was hours away back in their lives in the big city. For this weekend, as Joni Mitchell wrote about the original event, they were stardust, golden and holed up in their magnificen­t garden.

A host of top-flight musical talent treated the audience to set after set of inspired music, comprised of tributes to the original Woodstock era and impressive, young Israeli bands presenting original material.

The 24 hours (Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon) that I attended witnessed

an opening set by Lazer Lloyd, a true Israeli treasure. His spirituall­y psychedeli­c guitar playing, forceful singing and sheer presence set a high bar for all who followed. Shlomo Mizrahi, with his Jimi Hendrix tribute, came close (especially when Lloyd joined him for some guitar duels), and The Elevators rose to the task as the evening’s closer with a two-hour Grateful Dead set of their more song/ chorus material that saw them reach a new peak as a band. DJs such as 88 FM’s Gil Matus provided between performanc­es ’60s-infused sets that didn’t rely on the clichéd touchstone­s but delved deep into the era’s unsung r&b and one-hit wonders.

The next morning’s side-stage performanc­es were nothing less than revelatory, as Amitay Lev and Amos Zimmerman, respective­ly, performed high-caliber sets with their bands that demonstrat­ed that the Crosby, Stills & Nash-inspired singer/ songwriter school of music is not so out of date. Check them both out now!

There was another 24 hours of music to go, but the festival had already succeeded in its aims of reminding everyone in attendance that, 50 years later, there really is nothing funny about peace, love and understand­ing.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ?? (David Brinn) ?? THE WELCOMING banner to the ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ festival, and Lazer Lloyd in performanc­e.
(David Brinn) THE WELCOMING banner to the ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ festival, and Lazer Lloyd in performanc­e.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel