Front Stage street party 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Shmuel Cohen for The Front Stage)
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For the fourth year running, Friday afternoons in Jerusalem have been transformed, with afternoon parties taking over the city's streets. The parties, which are organized under the name "Front Stage" have seen some of the biggest bands in the country liven up the capital's public places.
This past Friday, revelers filled the Ben Yehuda St. pedestrian mall downtown, while this coming Friday, the Malcha Mall is scheduled to be transformed into a beach party with "silent" DJ sets beamed into party-goers' headsets. This Thursday night, however, attention turns towards Gan Sacher, where global dub sensations the Easy Star All Stars are opening for Ziggy Marley
in a program appropriately labeled Road to Zion.
Yonatan Strier, the young man who founded the Front Stage in partnership with the city government, is triumphant about what he's accomplished, having transformed a time of week generally associated with pre-shabbat bustle into a party scene phenomenon that trumps Jerusalem's vibrant nightlife. "We're talking daylife," he told GoJerusalem.com. "It's the new Thursday night, Saturday night. Now everybody looks forward to Friday afternoon."
Strier's crew has become increasingly ambitious over the years, and the 2011 incarnation of Front Stage is wider in scope than ever, involving high-concept Friday block parties in a variety of neighborhoods, supplemented by big-name international talent performing at two extra-big Thursday productions.
The first Front Stage event of the summer was a Thursday night affair at Safra Square that saw Jerusalem-bred funk-rappers Hadag Nachash trading rhymes with Matisyahu, and the last shindig on the schedule features guitar god Berry Sakharof trading licks with psy-trance trailblazers Infected Mushroom at Gan Sacher.
In previous years, Front Stage headliners have run the gamut from world beat folk-rock master Mosh Ben Ari to former Shotei Hanevuah front man Avraham Tal, ethnic breakbeat sensations Balkan Beat Box, a reunion of classic rockers Kaveret and local subversive pop acts like Hatikva 6 and Mercedes Band.
Summer Friday fun in Jerusalem extends well beyond the Front Stage this year, however. Beit Avi Chai offers a full brunch, exhibition tours, live music and beers in the courtyard each Friday through August. Malcha Mall's culinary fair on Fridays continues through July. The Mamilla Hotel's series of themed weekends continues on Friday, 28 July, for two days of culture via musical performances, mediation sessions, movie screenings, walking tours, wine tastings and lectures.
Black Bar 'n' Burger's America Month, running through next week every day including Fridays, means extra-large hamburgers can be washed down with glasses of Miller and shots of Jim Beam at special combo prices. And over at the Kedma restaurant, which overlooks the Old City Walls from the upper veranda of the Alrov Mamilla shopping plaza, Fridays through August mean lounge DJ sets, a dedicated menu of warm weather nibbles and fruity cocktails on the house.For complete listings of everything going on around Jerusalem, check out GoJerusalem.com's calendar of events and latest articles.