guitar in desert 88.
(photo credit: )
According to a recent survey conducted by eight friends, myself included, six out of eight people have a guitar at home. Upon further examination of said survey, only three out of the six can play anything other then the occasional "House of the Rising Sun." Those figures indicate one indisputable fact - guitar is the instrument most people wish to play. Throughout history, the guitar has enchanted more musicians than any other instrument.
Alon Abutbul, the famous Israeli actor, loves guitar so much that he founded the Guitar in the Desert festival. Dudi Levi, artistic director of the festival, was only a performer the first time the event took place. "I came to perform," he recalls, "but stayed the entire three days. When Alon asked me to be the artistic manager the second year, I was happy to join."
Levi, besides being a great rocker, is a genuine guitar lover. "When I was ten I wanted to play the drums, but my parents opposed the idea. They suggested the accordion we had at home instead. Two years later, I discovered David Gilmour and Israeli bands such as T-Slam and Benzin and knew I wanted to play the guitar. It's a very personal instrument. It's almost like a woman. I have six guitars at home, and each of them feels different when I play it, each one brings something else out of me. One of my favorite things in the world is to purchase a new guitar and see what it will bring."
The festival's goal is to connect people through music, specifically with the guitar. As such, there are performances scheduled by Israeli guitar giants from across the musical spectrum: Boom Pam, Alma Zohar, Mickey Shaviv, Yael Dekelbaum, Levi himself, Habreira Hativit and more. "The festival is filled with guitar lovers," says Levi with great excitement. "You see a whole crowd with guitars in their hands. There is no distance between the performers and the audience."
Furthermore, special guitar workshops are to be held, run by some of Israel's finest artists, playing and teaching music styles from classic to country to rock.
"Not all the workshops are on guitar," says Levi. "For example, there is one workshop conducted by a rabbi on the inner meaning of music. Though it's not directly connected to the guitar, I'm sure every guitar lover will be touched by it."
Other events include a guitar making workshop, special activities for children, yoga and the first ever Israeli air-guitar competition.
"Guitar encompasses many worlds," says Levi, trying to explain people's disproportionate attraction to the guitar over other instruments. "On the one hand, there is a strong element of glam connected to it. Take the video game Guitar Hero and the air guitar competition as examples. And on the other, it's a very inexpensive, casual comfortable instrument to carry."
The festival takes place at Han Be'erotaim in Azuz, a beautiful desert setting. Levi is very pleased with the location, "Alon wanted the festival in the desert and I agree with him. I love the desert. There is a lot of power in it. The sound of an electric guitar in that vast emptiness is amazing. All that space around you puts you in a place of focus on music, music and music. Waking up in the morning and seeing and hearing all those people outside their tents with their guitars is an intense and amazing experience."
The festival is produced with the help of Israel Mirage foundation and Pais Israel and takes place from July 1-3. Tickets are NIS 250 for two nights and NIS 150 for one night. Children under 12 can enter for free. For more information visit guitarfestival.co.il