(photo credit: courtesy)
For those who have "been there and done that" at the various New Agey gatherings up and down the country, the second annual Bamuza Festival (March 29-31) might be just the ticket.
When Shantipi, Beresheet and their ilk started off seven or eight years ago, they latched onto a growing need for an alternative time out. The events gained momentum and volume until they were attracting in excess of 15,000 patrons and became firmly ensconced in the mainstream psyche. Bamuza producer Gil Carniel believes it is time to offer something else, on a more modest scale.
"We weren't looking to put on just another New Age festival out in the countryside," he says, "We wanted to put together a sort of fusion of as many different performing arts as possible, and present them out in nature."
Carniel has put his money where his mouth is, and the Bamuza schedule offers an eclectic selection of shows and other, more hands-on, activities for the three-day gathering at Kibbutz Horshim, just south of Hod Hasharon and north of Rosh Ha'Ayin. The roster includes music, dance, theater and circus acts in what the festival blurb calls "a boundless artistic celebration in natural and enchanting expanses, for adults and children alike."
A three-day gathering in a rustic setting usually means green issues, and ecology will also feature strongly. One of the hands-on environmentally-oriented items is communal sculpting using vine twigs.
However, Carniel says Bamuza is more about offering a wide array of arts to a public that is more attuned with consumer-targeted products. One of the more intriguing slots is American neo-folk band Faun Fables, which has a definite theatrical side to it too. The California-based outfit is something of a throwback to Sixties psychedelia, and has put out five albums to date. "They are very exciting, and surprising," says Carniel. "I think it's important to try and introduce people to something they haven't experienced before. It opens them up and allows them to explore new worlds."
As far as Carniel is concerned - to paraphrase Gertrude Stein - art is art is art. "It is wonderful to take people from one experience to an experience of another kind, and it all happens outside, in Mother Nature. That is a very enriching experience."
That sounds a bit general for such a niche-oriented market as ours. "If we have any theme to the festival it is eclecticism. The one thing that guided me in choosing the artistic program is not to adhere to strict boundaries. I'm sure I have some red lines which I am not willing to cross, but I'm trying to offer as much as I can."
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging festival program you can find The Roaming Circus, Better Fly - a cross-cultural band that fuses Arabic music and jazz, the Tzolelanim Yotzim street theater troupe, Maya Donski's aesthetically provocative butoh dance show, flamenco and eastern dance, and the highly rhythmic Tribal Dance music show.
Add to that workshops on sculpting, theater, improvisational acting, overtone singing, dance, painting and body drumming - to name but a few - and you can see Carniel has gone for broke. And if you are parents with kids that need to be gainfully engaged before you can get some quality time out, do not fear. Bamuza also offers a whole range of junior activities, including capoeira, tending to animals, storytelling and all manner of children-friendly artistic endeavor. Kids under five get in free.
If you're looking to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle, the city stress and pollution, the Ecological Farm in Kibbutz Horshim is the place to be.
For more information on the festival go to: www.bamuza.co.il