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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
This Sunday, three big international acts are set to take over Sultan's Pool, accompanied by a number of local bands. The Jerusalem Rocks! festival is being billed as a musical event for peace, in which headliners The Black Eyed Peas, Arrested Development and The Commitments are to be joined by local acts such as Geva Alon, Hadag Nahash and Mook-E in the hopes of reinforcing the image of Jerusalem as a city of peace.
Many of the organizers who bring the Festival B'Shekel to the periphery of the country each year are behind this show; if there is a group capable of organizing a major musical event with a mission, they are the ones. One caveat, though, is the failure to include musicians from the eastern side of the city. Not one Arab performer is listed among the ambitious line-up. Still, the festival is planned as the first of many, so if the event grows and expands, it will hopefully come to include all the city's population, as its Website implies. But with ticket sales having been sluggish at best, organizers have lowered prices and moved the event's location to the bleachered Sultan's Pool from the decidedly larger Teddy Stadium.
As for the selection of acts, Jerusalem Rocks! is impressive. Having played here last year, the Black Eyed Peas are one of the biggest names in music today. It seems their experience at Tel Aviv's Blumfield Stadium was enough to endear Israel to them; not only is the group returning, but it's launching its world tour from here, even at the cost of missing an MTV awards ceremony. Notorious for its suggestive lyrics and high-energy performances, the group has produced such hits as "Where is the Love," "Let's Get it Started," "Don't Lie," and "My Humps," has won a number of Grammys and participated in Amnesty International's Make Some Noise for Peace campaign. Additionally, two members, Fergie and will.i.am, are expected to perform material from their solo repertoires.
The fact that Arrested Development is also headlining is very exciting for Israeli audiences, and it seems the feeling is mutual. Speech, one of the two founding members of the early 90s hip-hop act that provided a positive social voice to gangsta rap, writes on the band's website: "This is a lifelong dream! I wrote back in '89 that my next stop from touring America was supposed to be touring in Jerusalem. Almost 20 years later, it's finally happening!"
Known primarily for their Grammy-winning debut album 3 years, 5 months & 2 days in the life ofâ€¦, which spawned such great hits as "Tennessee," "Mr. Wendal" and "People Everyday," the group disbanded in 1996, reuniting four years later. They have been touring ever since.
The Commitments, of course, rose from the success of the movie of the same name, based on Roddy Doyle's book about a group of unemployed Dubliners who form a soul band. A solid choice to round off a full-day of good music.
The festival begins at 3 p.m., with tickets costing between NIS 199-250. A 20 percent discount is being offered to residents of Jerusalem and soldiers. Tickets can be purchased by calling (03) 521-5200, or by visiting www.hadran.co.il