(photo credit: Lauren Izso)
The crack of dawn at the In D Negev camping ground is greeted by the strumming
of guitars, and people gathering beside their tents to greet the new day with
what they love most in the world: music.
The sixth In D Negev indie
musical festival, held this weekend at Kibbutz Gvulot, gave lesser-known
musicians a chance to shine under the hot desert sun, and gave fans a chance to
immerse themselves in the harmonic atmosphere.
The desert venue was
chosen specifically to unite such a culturally neglected music genre with a
similarly socially neglected natural environment.
The annual festival
allows indie music-lovers to rough it for a couple of days, while disregarding
hygiene and nutrition to focus their attention on the music and the simply
beautiful Israeli desert.
“The indie music community in Israel is not
that big, and this gives a chance to all be together in one place to celebrate
our music,” said Gilad Lautzker, who plays guitar in a band fairly new to the
indie music scene, Luiza.
It’s really about the atmosphere more than
anything, Lautzker explained right before his band’s first set. He had attended
the festival as a fan in previous years. Even though this year was his band’s
first In D Negev performance, he wasn’t the least bit nervous.
of tents crowded the campground, and there was a certain feeling of camaraderie
among the crowd. No matter how different the attendees were in real life, at In
D Negev, everyone had the same intentions; “to be with good people and feel the
good vibes,” as Lautzker put it.
With two stages, an outdoor theater
showing indie films, local art displays and more than 70 musical acts over a
two-and-a-half day period, the festival accommodated every indie passion among
the alternative crowd, including resources for observant attendees. The festival
grounds included a Chabad tent, which held Shabbat services, and general
religious gathering and discussion.
The festival also provided a separate
campground for families. Young children might be the last thing you would expect
to see at a music festival full of young music lovers, but Orly Ben- Shlush and
her husband Isaac said that they bring their daughter every year.
course we love the music, but we come for our daughter. We want her to feel the
atmosphere of the festival. It’s important for her to know what true freedom
feels like, and this is true freedom,” said Orly of bringing her fouryear- old
daughter Noam to the festival.
One thing that makes In D Negev different
from other music festivals is that people don’t use it as an excuse to do drugs
“People come for the music,” insisted 22-year-old first-timer
There were many highly anticipated performances, including
that of emerging artist Rotem Or, but none as energetic or vibrant as that of
Their Friday night set was eccentric and inevitably jam
packed with fans, and was one of the highlights of the In D Negev
No matter which band took the stage, every audience member was
immersed in the atmosphere. Although not every performance evidenced as much
skill and audacity as did that of the Yemen Blues, fans showed appreciation and
support for every musician on that stage.
On the final day of the
festival, eager fans began to pack their tents and clean sand off of their
belongings in order to catch as many final-day performances as they could.
Through the “tent-jamming” and cheering audience already at the concert, a faint
voice could be heard in the campground over the loudspeaker from the stage: “All
we want to do is to give back what you always give us, which is
Though it wasn’t clear whether this announcement came from the
band finishing their set, or the next band setting up to begin, one thing was
for sure: this was the shared feeling of all musicians on that stage.