An all-nighter in Rishon at the Coca-Cola Wow Festival

J Balvin performs at the Rishon Lezion LivePark.

J BALVIN performs in Rishon Lezion (photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
J BALVIN performs in Rishon Lezion
(photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
If you managed to stay awake, there was something for you at the Coca-Cola Wow Festival 2019. Like a full day at work, the Tuesday night event lasted eight hours from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and touted a range of musicians and genres from reggaeton to Israeli pop. The event hosted Netta Barzilai, Itai Levy, Stephane Legar, Static and Ben El Tavori and international reggaeton superstar J Balvin, who headlined the event.
Tickets for this show were not for sale. All 12,000 people at LivePark in Rishon Lezion were between the ages of 16 and 18 and had volunteered their way into seats. The top volunteers earned Golden Ring tickets, which gained festival-goers the option to just dance feet away from the stars on stage. Twenty high school students who had racked up the most volunteer hours were invited on stage for some moments of fame while their peers cheered for them. Volunteers completed service by cleaning up beaches and parks and helping to organize and orchestrate the event, among other options. J Balvin’s act followed the display, beginning on schedule – right at midnight.
Balvin’s set lasted a meaty 90 minutes, showcasing a number of hits that he’s collaborated on with international celebrities like Cardi B, Pharrell Williams and Ozuna, who performed last week at the same venue. Hits like “Equis” with Nicky Jam and “Baila Baila Baila” a remix of Ozuna’s original song, got the crowd moving the most. Teens who didn’t know all the Spanish words were not able to sing along when Balvin extended his mic out to the crowd. However, for the song “I Like it Like that,” the words appeared on the screen and those who needed assistance were able to belt out the lyrics and give Balvin a boost, too.
Backup dancers behind the star wore tie-dye shirts and moved in unison, adding a layer of sophistication to the performance. The set was vibrant and included bursts of every color in the rainbow. The Latino sensation worked for his keep. Balvin danced and entertained throughout the summer heat all while wearing a shirt with a vest over it. Balvin reintroduced Static and Ben El (who had performed before him) for a song the musicians produced together called “Tudo Bum.” The add-on was necessary. The teens at the show clearly preferred the Israeli band they knew best, and the collaboration came across swimmingly.
Stephane Legar followed J Balvin’s set and brought listeners to a place that reggaeton didn’t seem to get them. Kids did backflips in the audience and brought out their best dance moves. Mind you, this was at 2:00 a.m. The festival changed tone immediately upon his arrival, for the better. Following this act was Itay Levy, whose band played live music. The set started with a trumpet that caught the attention of everyone in the crowd – even teens who are used to the sounds of electric keyboards and auto-tuned drum beats.
Overall, the concert was a hit and what made it even better was the camp-like vibes coming off of shuttle buses that moved hyped-up teens from Rishon transportation hubs directly to the concert.