The summer of '09 - or is it '69?

The upcoming Woodstock Revival in Jerusalem will feature tributes to legendary acts.

Lazer Lloyd 88 248 (photo credit: )
Lazer Lloyd 88 248
(photo credit: )
If the original event made history, the Jerusalem Woodstock Revival is bound to leave a mark - at least in the world of Jewish music events. "It's not just a concert; it's like being at Mount Sinai all over again," says musician Lazer Lloyd. For Lloyd, the Jerusalem Woodstock Revival has so much potential because of the energy and community of the Jewish people. It's deep, he explains. Falling on Tu Be'av, the Jewish holiday that celebrates love, and marking the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival, the five-hour music event will take place at Kraft Stadium on August 5. It will feature five acts, all of which are matched to represent legendary music figures from the Sixties: Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. Aside from the five acts, "Woodstocky-flavored" clothing, jewelry and memorabilia will be sold, said Nadia Levene, a marketing coordinator for the festival. Lloyd, formerly of the Israeli rock band Reva L'Sheva and now leader of the band Yood, explained the significance of holding the commemorative festival in Jerusalem; he will be playing the Jimi Hendrix set. "This is an unbelievable opportunity," said Lloyd. "It's by divine providence that it's happening when it's happening in Jerusalem," referencing recent tensions arising from haredi protests over the opening of the Carta parking lot on Shabbat and the mother who was arrested for allegedly abusing her son. To Lloyd, the Jerusalem revival is all about mercy and "combining love for fellow man with loving God, and trying to create that message with music." "The irony of the whole thing is that in the same neighborhood where [the Woodstock Revival] is happening is where these communities live," he said. "On the outside, there are bad things happening." "We all want something really deep," the musician said. Continuing on his political theme, Lloyd stressed that he thought most Jews were looking for unity and community. Tapping into Kabbalistic themes and noting how the concert marks the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock in New York, Lloyd mentioned the importance of the number 40 in Jewish tradition, making a connection to how the Jewish people spent 40 years wandering in the desert. "Woodstock was an outpouring of the white letters of the Torah" - what Lloyd explained as light and deep concepts that cannot necessarily be perceived right away. "Woodstock was the outpouring of the soul, tapping into unity and the oneness of the world… People were saying things about peace." "At the times of Woodstock, the people themselves were trying to bring God, peace, light and unity into the world. This created a big internal effect on people from all different walks of life to come together through music," he said. WHILE LLOYD did not attend Woodstock himself, he did say that the music of the era greatly affected him and his music career. Before 1994 when he moved to Israel, he was in a band that toured across the United States and played a showcase with Atlantic Records. After being exposed to the music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Lloyd decided to come to Israel and combine "blues with Jewish content," he explained, "which has a lot of similarities to hassidic music." As far as the Woodstock Revival, he plans to take the stage and play some quality blues music from Jewish and hassidic perspectives. "We're going to play Hendrix in our own style, we're going to expand and do it in our own way," he said. Lloyd's artistic performance model is one of spontaneity, saying, "You have to feel the moment; it's always a different audience on a different day. Let Hashem, the audience and the world into the performance and see what [takes]." "Everyone is going to be looking for a lot of healing and realizing that there is a lot of light missing in the world. There have been a lot of missed opportunities since Woodstock, and in the past 40 years, we have learned a lot," he said, explaining that the message is "inspiring." During his Hendrix show, Lloyd will be joined by Mark Rashkow, of the Mark Rashkow Blues Band. While Rashkow today lives on Kibbutz Hazorea, 40 years ago he was a 19-year-old who was highly involved with "the music generation." He played blues with legends like Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Mike Bloomfield, and he opened for Michael Jackson. Though Rashkow did not perform at Woodstock, he recalls the crowd at what he titled "the most incredible event I've ever attended in my whole life. And I've been around a lot of events in my life." "The original Woodstock holds a special place in my heart… It represents more than peace and love and music. It's about a movement and openness between a generation," he explained. "This tiny little thing in Israel is commemorating a big event and big movement that holds a special place in my heart." Rashkow, who splits his time between playing music, working at his music store in Kiryat Tivon and running an alternative medicine clinic, said he doesn't play many benefit concerts. But this one was different, in that it represents a large part of his personal story, since he was at Woodstock and knew a lot of musicians personally. LIKE RASHKOW, Ira Feldman is an oleh who attended the original festival in upstate New York. His connection to Israel was formed shortly after Woodstock, during his "hippie period," when he started traveling around the world. He came to a kibbutz for a year - as did Rashkow - where he learned how to maintain and build apple orchards. In August 2004, Feldman moved to Israel with his wife, son and dog. The resident of Hashmonaim hopes to make a T-shirt announcing that he was at the original event, which he will wear to the Jerusalem Revival next week. He still has the original brochure, tickets, program and fond memories of Woodstock. "People of that generation gave their heart and soul to the music," said Feldman, who is looking to bump into others who also attended Woodstock and to connect and reminisce. Though he expects to have a good time, he does not expect to relive the experience. Coming from a Jewish household and growing up in a Jewish community, Feldman said he felt that same type of community at Woodstock. "It was an amazing event: Everyone was kind, friendly and warm," he said. Feldman shared his story of how he arrived at Woodstock with The Jerusalem Post. He had just graduated from the University of Denver in 1969 and had attended a three-day rock festival in Denver shortly after graduation. He recalled that people were talking about this large event taking place in New York. Since he was inspired by the music, Feldman hopped into a car that summer and began driving east, ending up at the property of Max Yasgur, a Jewish dairy farmer. Feldman echoed the legendary Woodstock stories of rain, enormous crowds and high energy, and how the event has become a symbol in American history of a social revolution and protest against war and disillusionment. "Many of us thought we could change the world," Feldman said. "It was only a little blip in the spread of time, but the time was really ripe for such a coming together." Doors open at 5 p.m. on August 5 at Kraft Stadium. Tickets can be purchased at Proceeds go toward the American Football in Israel (AFI), a non-profit organization that sponsors men and women's football teams.