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Photo: David Guy
Revelers at the Jacob's Ladder festival
Photo: David Guy
Buzzy Gordon
Jacob’s Ladder: More than a music festival
Now in its 42nd year, the bi-annual Jacob’s Ladder Music Festival, held on the shores of the Kinneret, is a celebration of music and camaraderie.

I never did get to go to the famous Woodstock Festival of Peace and Music in upstate New York in 1969, but earlier this month I did attend the closest thing you can get to it in Israel—two days and two nights of nearly non-stop live music enjoyed by some 3,000 people in a bucolic setting on the grounds of Kibbutz Ginosar in the eastern Galilee.

 

 

Amazingly, the Jacob’s Ladder Music Festival is only seven years younger than its iconic American counterpart, making it the longest running annual music festival in Israel. And many of the attendees look like they could have been at the original, nearly half-a-century ago.


Performers at the Jacob's Ladder Festival
Performers at the Jacob's Ladder Festival
  


Jacob’s Ladder is the brainchild of Menachem and Yehudit Vinegrad, olim from England who moved to Israel in 1967. The humble beginnings of what has grown into a festival that now draws participants from all corners of the country—and guests artists from as far away as overseas—were occasional modest get-togethers of a folk music club organized by the British couple from Kibbutz Mahanayim.

 

Folk dances  (Photo:David Guy)
Folk dances (Photo:David Guy)

 

The Vinegrads refer to Jacob’s Ladder as “Israel’s friendliest music festival”—a long weekend of Country, Rock, Swing, Jazz, Bluegrass, Blues, Folk, Celtic, Irish and Viking Music, Honky-Tonk and Global Beats.

 

Israel's friendliest music festival
Israel's friendliest music festival

 

This spring’s lineup of performers featured no fewer than 37 acts, with two headline groups from Europe: Spiritual Seasons from the Ukraine, and Ukus in Fabula from Italy. The ukulele trio may have been Italian, but there music was rollicking American, and had the audience dancing in the aisles.

 

Revelers at the Jacob's Ladder Festival (Photo: David Guy)
Revelers at the Jacob's Ladder Festival (Photo: David Guy)

 

There is plenty to do at Jacob’s Ladder besides listening to music: multiple dance workshops, master classes, yoga, tai chi/chi gong, activities for children, and swimming (in the kibbutz pool or the Sea of Galilee). There is also a crafts fair, and food stalls selling a variety of meals, drinks and snacks, including vegan options.

 

Camping at Jacob ’s Ladder Music Festival
Camping at Jacob ’s Ladder Music Festival

 

Festival tickets are all-inclusive and may be purchased for one or two days. The price includes permission to pitch your own tent and camp on the grounds, and parking, with vans to shuttle drivers to the concert venue if your space is far away.

 

Rooms are available in the hotel, of course—but only for those who book a year or more in advance. In fact, accommodations are already sold out for the festival in May 2019.

 

Live performance at the Jacob's Ladder festival
Live performance at the Jacob's Ladder festival

 

Another option, for families or groups, is to rent one of the many homes offered for rent by members of the kibbutz.

 

Can’t wait a whole year to join in the fun? The popularity of the festival has caused it to expand and put on a (slightly shorter) winter edition as well. The next one is coming up the weekend of 30.11-1.12.18.

 

Jacob’s Ladder Festival, Nof Ginosar Hotel. Tel. (04) 685-0403

 


פרסום ראשון: 05.30.18, 15:00
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