- Middle East
- Jordana Hoffman
All over the world, the beginning of a new year is an exciting time full of resolutions, fresh starts and a year’s worth of activities to participate in, and Israel is no exception. Here are 13 festivals to look forward to in 2016.
Darom Adom Festival
Fun fact to start with: the red Kalanit (anémone) above is the official flower of Israel. To find this flower one only has to travel to the northern Negev at the end of January and any time in February; after the rainy season, this is where they bloom. It is such a special sight that for five weeks the festival of Darom Adom takes place every weekend in the Eshkol region, with lots of fun family activities.
Takes Place: Late January through February
Red Sea Jazz Festival
The Red Sea Jazz Festival is a jazz lover’s paradise. It is three days of jazz. Not only will your ears be soothed by the smooth sounds of jazz, but there are also workshops and late night jam sessions, giving you the chance to become acquainted with everything from classic jazz to voodoo jazz.
Takes Place: August 27-30
Eilat Bird Festival
One of Israel’s claims to fame is the incredible variety of birds that migrate to the country every spring and fall. So as not to let the spring migration go to waste, the Israel Ornithological Center has put together the Eilat Bird Festival, so that birders from all around Israel can come together to marvel at the birds and the beautiful nature around them. Get out your birding hats and head down to Eilat to enjoy the show.
Takes Place: March 20-27
Jacob’s Ladder Festival
Jacob’s Ladder Festival is a family friendly festival that takes place over the course of a weekend, with lots of activities, such as tai chi, crafts fair and story tent, and, of course, jam sessions of every kind imaginable. The festival starts out slow with a chilled out Thursday night and then the energy and excitement spikes from there. Don’t worry if you miss the spring festival; you can always catch the next one in December.
Takes Place: May 19-21 and December 2-3
The Israel Festival is a little different than the others. Over the span of a month, the Israel Festival puts up different shows on different days. It’s no weekend getaway, but you get to choose which shows you want to go to. Located all around Jerusalem, this festival endeavors to showcase how the Israeli art scene is getting to the next level.
Takes Place: May 28-June 24
Are you craving to let your wild, adventurous and sometimes wacky side out? Then to Midburn is the direction you should go. For five days in June a temporary city will rise up in the Negev, where you can express yourself through just about any medium you can think of. Here you’ll feel more like you are within a community of people who only want to uniquely express themselves as you do.
Takes Place: June 8-12
If you’re very lucky and stumble your way into the Nature Reserve Jordan Park on a certain weekend in June, you will find yourself in the middle of a music festival. Don’t be afraid, just join the party. Whether you are into club music or tribal music, you’ll find it here. The Sunbeat Festival features music from all corners of the earth.
Takes Place June 23-25
Karmiel Dance Festival
As the Killers once asked, ‘Are we human or are we dancer?’ If your immediate answer is ‘dancer,’ then pack your bags and head to the Karmiel Dance Festival. For three whole days, the city of Karmiel will be crawling with dancers, running to and from workshops in order to hone their skills. If you have the soul of a dancer but two left feet, fear not; there are also performances to delight your eyes.
Takes Place: July 19-21
Beer lovers rejoice. The Beer Festival in Tel Aviv is on the absolutely-don’t-miss list for any self-respecting beer aficionado, as you can get your hands on limited editions as well as be the first to try out your favorite brewers’ new local beers. You could be the one who gives a beer the push it needs to be put out in the market or make sure it never makes it onto the shelf.
Takes Place: August 11-13
The Opera Festival
The Opera Festival will really knock your socks off. Two hundred schools send representatives; not only will you get to indulge in your beloved arias and cantatas, but the location cannot be beat. It doesn’t take place in some dusty old theater, but instead in a place teeming with history, Masada. This year the Opera pays tribute to the history of Israel with Samson et Dalila.
Takes Place: September 15-17
InDNegev Music Festival
What could be better than three days of camping and live music? Not much, and that is exactly what InDNegev offers. Founded in 2007, it has become an Israeli October tradition and now features over 100 live shows. While the name leads you to believe that it is an Indie music festival, don’t worry — the festival features a wide variety of genres.
Takes Place: October 1-2
On the days leading up to the UNITY Festival, you’re going to want to enjoy the peace and quiet, because once you get there, it is going to be 30 straight hours of house, techno and electronica. Get out there and party with your fellow techno lovers. You must be 21 or older to attend.
Takes Place: October 3-4
Haifa Film Festival
The Haifa Film Festival has an impressive history; it was the first of its kind in Israel, and has been going strong for 30 years. Today the average film buff can go to Haifa during the festival to see award-winning films. There are also competitions, including ‘The Golden Anchor Competition’ where Mediterranean films compete; ‘Tomorrow’s Filmmakers’ competition, where first time directors go up against one another; and a few others.
Takes Place: October 15-24