By Anav Silverman
Underneath the Masada Mountain, along the shores of the Dead Sea, more 12, 000 people danced to the electronic beats of Dash Berlin, Deep Dish and Sander Van Doorn and other international and local artists on Thursday night, October 23. The second annual Dead Sea Rave -424, which took place from sunset to sunrise, drew in thousands of people including 200 tourists from Europe and neighboring Arab countries.
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Israel’s version of the world’s largest electronic music festival in Belgium, known as Tomorrowland, debuted last year, featuring the likes of international French DJ, David Guetta and Steven Angello of Swedish House Mafia who performed before 20, 000 Israelis and tourists.
The annual event is placing Israel on the international music map, according to the head of the festival production, Avi Yossef of Zappa Group who has spent 20 years in the business of music production and promotion, including work with Infected Mushroom.
Yossef told Tazpit that David Guetta’s performance last year is helping propel the annual Israeli rave to an international level. “A lot of international artists are interested in performing at this festival in Masada thanks to David Guetta’s performance the previous year, ” Yossef said in an interview.
“For these international artists, the history and heroism at Masada together with performing at the lowest point on earth – 424 meters under the sea – is something that is truly unique, ” Yossef explained.
This year, festival organizers had only six weeks to put on the major production. “Once we saw that the ceasefire was holding, we didn’t hesitate to hold this party after this difficult summer, ” Yossef told Tazpit.
With Holland’s Dash Berlin the first to sign on for this year’s performance, the dance festival’s lineup featured two other Dutch electronic artists, W & W and Sander Van Doorn, along with the Iranian-American DJ and house music producers, Deep Dish, and UK’s record producer and trance DJ, Paul Oakenfold. Other international artists had wanted to come, but had already been scheduled elsewhere according to Yossef.
“We took Dash Berlin to the top of Masada and they were simply awed by the history of the ancient fortress, and seeing where they would be performing later in the desert below, ” added Yossef.
About 1, 000 festival personnel and security took part in the festival production that was hosted by the Tamar Regional Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, which promoted the Dead Sea Rave -424 across the world.
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau, commented that ‘cultural tourism’ is a growing niche market for Israel. “Festivals like the Dead Sea Rave -424 and the Israeli Opera Festival, in conjunction with concerts by major international artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and the Rolling Stones, attract a different type of tourist to our country.”
For the local Israelis, the festival is a huge event as well. “I never miss a concert and I’ll travel anywhere in Israel to experience these parties, ” said Youssef, 21 from Jerusalem who DJ’s at home. “I want to be a DJ myself someday.”