Judge gives go ahead to Midburn, Israel’s version of 'Burning Man'

May 18, 2015 13:49

Beersheba Court rules that nudity must be limited to sequestered areas, that glass bottles are prohibited inside festival bounds and that CCTV cameras be posted.

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The Temple of Grace burns on the last day of the Burning Man 2014 festival

The Temple of Grace burns on the last day of the Burning Man 2014 "Caravansary" arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. (photo credit: REUTERS)

After several days in which police refused to give a permit to hold Midburn, Israel’s version of the Burning Man festival, a Beersheba administrative court ruled that police must approve a permit, and required organizers to adhere to some of the police demands.

The demands include that nudity be allowed only in closed-off areas not accessible to minors, that glass bottles not be allowed inside, that motorized vehicles including bikes not be allowed, and that CCTV cameras be posted, though with the stipulation that they not be placed where they can film inside private areas.

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The court also allowed the entry of vehicles for disabled people, as well as a controlled number of RVs.

In a statement on Sunday, festival organizers said police demanded that they ban the entry of vehicles for disabled people and that they post CCTV cameras that they say would also be able to film within tents where participants would be sleeping.

Organizers said Sunday that cancellation of the event, scheduled for May 20-24 in the desert in Ramat Hanegev, would cause economic damage to residents of southern Israel struggling since the summer’s war, and also that Israel would miss out on “a popular cultural and artistic event that shows a beautiful face of Israel and serves as an important hasbara [public diplomacy] tool.”

Organizers said they expect 6,000 to take part in the festival, including hundreds of tourists from 48 countries.

The first Midburn was held in June 2014 in southern Israel and was attended by some 3,000 people. It’s considered a “regional Burning Man,” based on the festival that for decades has brought thousands of people to the Nevada desert for days of art installations, raves, and various forms of “radical self-expression,” including over 65,000 at 2014’s Burning Man.

Like at Burning Man, at Midburn cash transactions are not allowed, and the event is nonprofit. Midburn 2015 is sold out, and the around 6,000 participants bought tickets ranging in price from NIS 480 for early purchase to NIS 580 for tickets bought closer to the festival.

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