How the Grateful Dead live on in Israel

The annual Dead Gathering in Israel marks a solid decade of celebrating the band.

LAST YEAR’S Dead Gathering. (photo credit: Courtesy)
LAST YEAR’S Dead Gathering.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Grateful Dead continues to live, at least for the staunch die-hard and tiedyed fans of the venerable San Francisco jam band and cultural artifact. Nowhere is that more evident in Israel than at the annual Dead Gathering, marking its 10th anniversary this year.
Taking place at an Arava desert oasis expanse called the Khan Gamalia (Camel Bar), the 24-hourevent over Shabbat, October 26-27, brings together a few hundred Israeli “Deadheads” along with a good representation of American tourists and students for musical and social bonding, centered on the music of the Jerry Garcia-led band that defied conventions for 30 years (1965-1995) on their way to becoming a musical institution.
“The idea for this was born a decade ago out of the need to meet and celebrate together with other people who share a love of the Dead’s music,” said the Gathering’s founder, Eran Remler, a 42-year-old film teacher in Eilat.
“Today, we’re talking about a tradition and a small community that has developed that meets every year in dance and celebration.”
“It’s important to point out that the event isn’t just for Deadheads.
Many people come out of musical curiosity, and many of them connect to the Dead in a big way.”
In addition to hours of Dead music from their hundreds of live concerts piped in on a concert- quality sound system that is curated by noted DJs Gil Matus, Shmulik Regev and Barak Heimovitch, the event features ample video clips of the Dead, as well as live performances.
“In the last couple years, we’ve decided to branch out and host original musical acts that are musically on the same wavelength as the Dead. This year, we have Yossi Fine and Ben Ayalon’s group the Blue Desert, and Hayelala, who are releasing their debut soon,” said Remler.
Gathering goers have an option to camp at the ample campsite or rent mattresses in a number of structures at the site. A restaurant is on premise as well as a coffee shop/bar where advance payment can be made for the Shabbat observant. More information and
tickets are available at: Dead-Gathering-Israel- 180024078844436/