You Need to Attend One of These Israeli Music Festivals

The Midburn Festival in the Negev desert is one of the top music festivals in Israel
The Midburn Festival in the Negev desert is one of the top music festivals in Israel | © dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Hilla Ofman

Nature, good music, positive energy: welcome to Israel’s diverse festival scene. Israelis are known to live in the moment, and the country has a notable community for the festive life. Discover eight different music events across this small Middle Eastern country that should be added to your calendar.

1. Doof Festival

Amusement Park, Music Venue

“Where the essence is not in the selfie but in the self.” This is how organizers describe the vibe of this event. The annual Doof Festival, recommended for all trance lovers, takes place in the summer for three days of music and camping alongside the shore of the Sea of Galilee. International artists are brought in by the event’s record label, Doof Records. Expect to hear worldwide musicians such as Mubali, Merkaba, Freq and more.

2. InDnegev Festival

Music Venue, Amusement Park

If indie music is your scene, this festival is for you. Located in Mitzpe Gvulot, in the Negev, the annual event each October puts a spotlight on Israeli indie musicians. The event began in 2007 as a small-scale festival and has grown greatly since, with about 5,000 fans arriving annually. The festival creates a community around the indie culture and features up-and-coming artists from a variety of music genres. Besides more than 100 live performances, visitors can enjoy art exhibitions, movies, poetry readings, night parties and more. Join InDnegev and celebrate your love for nature and indie music.

3. Minus 424 Dead Sea Rave

Music Venue, Amusement Park

Each year, thousands of Israelis are known to frequent big international festivals such as Tomorrowland and Ultra Music. Minus 424 brings a taste of this international experience to Israel. Running since 2013, the festival, occurring in October, has become known for its grandiosity. Visitors dance from sunset to sunrise as they enjoy breathtaking views of Masada and the Dead Sea shores. With DJs such as David Guetta, Sander van Doorn and Steve Angello, the rave offers an intense 12-hour experience at the 424m (1,391ft) below sea level.

4. Midburn Festival

Amusement Park, Music Venue

Participants of the Midburn 2016 festival celebrating in the Negev desert in Israel, 10 June 2016. Roughly 8,000 people live in a tent city and celebrate art, music, dance and a lifestyle of freedom between 8 and 12 June. PHOTO: STEFANIE JAERKEL/dpa
© dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Inspired by the famous Burning Man Festival in Nevada, Israelis created the Midburn Festival in the Negev. The festival follows the same list of 10 principles as Burning Man, which includes self-expression and communal effort. The festival, occurring in October, is a place where visitors become members of a community for five days. The event is heaven for creative minds who can participate in themed camps with topics such as dance or art. The music festival does not have a traditional line-up, but rather the participants themselves create the diverse music scene.

5. Unity Festival

Music Venue, Amusement Park

Imagine a dreamy experience: green nature, neon decorations and trance. All this can be found at the Unity Festival, which occurs every spring in the northern part of Israel. The event features worldwide artists from Brazil, Sweden, Portugal and more. Themes vary from the world of mythology and fairytales to rebirth. As the name hints, the event is about the unification of people; its mantra is “together we are one.”

6. Tamar Festival

Music Venue, Amusement Park

The Idan Raichel Project, Shlomo Artzi, Mosh Ben Ari and Balkan Beat Box are just a few names of famous Israeli talents who have performed at the Tamar Festival in the past. The five-day event each October is set in the Negev Desert and celebrates Israel’s popular musicians. Besides music, visitors can enjoy a variety of nature activities, such as hiking or group tours.

7. Reggae in the Desert

Music Venue, Amusement Park

Israel is known for its crossroad of different cultures, and the Reggae in the Desert festival, which embraces Jamaican sounds, is a perfect example. The genre incorporates elements of blues, jazz and African music to create a unique sound and calm vibe. This popular festival showcases local and global reggae performers, as well as a variety of DJs. The event occurs every fall around September at Midreshet Ben Gurion (near Mitzpe Ramon). Loosen up as you listen to talented artists singing songs about Zion under the shade of palm trees in the Holy Land.

8. Zorba the Buddha Festival

Music Venue, Amusement Park

Zorba the Buddha Festival will take you through a unique inner journey. This five-day celebration in April at the Desert Ashram oasis focuses on the world of meditation and yoga. The event offers over 14 activity areas and workshops, such as Osho meditations, therapy, dance and motion. Throughout the day and into the night there are concerts, parties and live music. From American folk to trance and yoga music, this event covers it all. It’s time to think less, and feel more.

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