Record opening at Hutzot Hayotzer fest
More than 15,000 festival-goers attended the Tuesday night opening of Jerusalem's Hutzot Hayotzer arts and crafts festival, a record single-night turn-out in the event's 30-year history. Pop-rock singer Matt Caspi helped get the festival off to its well-attended start at the Sultan's Pool, where the event will run every night except Fridays through August 19. Festival organizers now say they expect 150,000 visitors to attend Hutzot Hayotzer over its 12-day run, an increase from the 100,000 festival-goers originally expected.
A significant portion of the festival's increased turn-out can be traced to the large number of northern Israeli residents currently staying in the center of the country due to ongoing violence closer to home. Several dozen buses will bring residents of northern Israel to the festival for each night of its run, which will also include musical performances by Aviv Gefen, Tea Packs, Arkadi Duchin and others. - Nathan Burstein
Beating the Balkan Box
As increasing numbers of foreign artists cancel plans to perform in Israel, New York-based Israeli band Balkan Beat Box is returning to its home country for concerts tonight at Tel Aviv's Barbie music club and tomorrow at Jerusalem's Yellow Submarine.
Balkan Beat Box - or, BBB, as it is affectionately known to fans - features Israeli-born New Yorkers Ori Kaplan on saxophone and Tamir Muskat on drums. The group maintains a busy year-round touring schedule with music that mixes rock and roll, jazz, gypsy music, klezmer, electronic sounds and some Arab musical motifs.
Kaplan and Muskat will be joined for their Israeli performances, as usual, by saxophonist Eyal Talmudi, vocalist/percussionist Tomer Yossef, guitar player Uri Kinrot and bass player Beno Handler. The group's Tel Aviv and Jerusalem shows are part of a global tour that began in France on July 20 and is due to end in New York on September 16. - Barry Davis
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