Inside industry – with a song or two

Ran Wolf and his colleagues have set out as varied a program as possible at the seemingly unsexy venue of the Kiryat Gat industrial park.

‘Factories from Within’ will throw open the Kiryat Gat industrial park’s doors on October 1 (photo credit: GUY SACHAF)
‘Factories from Within’ will throw open the Kiryat Gat industrial park’s doors on October 1
(photo credit: GUY SACHAF)
Inviting the public to show them the insides of industrial facilities may not be an entirely new concept, but it is one which Ran Wolf was happy to embrace and run with.
Wolf is at the helm of the forthcoming anticipated “Factories from Within” event, set to take place in Kiryat Gat on October 1, during Succot.
Wolf and his colleagues have set out as varied a program as possible at the seemingly unsexy venue of the Kiryat Gat industrial park. “We would like this to become an annual event,” says Wolf, “and I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t happen.”
Confidence is a valuable attribute when you are trying to kick-start a long-term venture which, as the official blurb notes, will transform the industrial park into a scene of renewal overflowing with one-time shows at unconventional locations, including rare tours of the interiors of leading industrial plants.
The fun starts at 10 a.m. with a glimpse into the past. The public will get its first glimpse at a beautiful mosaic floor from the Byzantine era, located at the brand-new Khirbet Fatut Park. This will be followed by guided tours to a variety of previously unexplored places, such as the famed Intel hi-tech complex, the modern factories of reinforced door manufacturer Shiryonit Hossem and 3D printer Startasys, and the Ataclit Ethiopian experiential ecological village.
The Ataclit village guided visit will enlighten members of the public about various aspects of Ethiopian tradition and heritage, including preparing spices, how to get a fire going, writing signs in Amharic and baking pita. There will also be a clay and mud workshop. Hour-long tours will take place at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 noon.
There is also an activity scheduled at the Negev boutique brewery, which should prove not only refreshing, but also highly instructive for anyone wanting to know what goes into their glass of beer. The tour will shed light on the stages involved in turning grain, hops and other ingredients into delicious booze, while titillating the nostrils and inducing some salivary gland action. Participants in the tour must be aged 18 or over.
The brewery tour, scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., will be followed by a master class from veteran rocker Hemi Rudner. The 60-minute Rudner slot starts at 7 p.m.
There is plenty of top-notch musical entertainment lined up for the day, drawing from a variety of genres, including a program of “Israeli Songbook” numbers performed by Israeli Opera soloists at the Sugat sugar manufacturing plant. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and admission is NIS 20. The closing concert, at 9:30 p.m., features rock megastar Shalom Hanoch in the company of longtime sidekick Moshe Levy, who will perform an acoustic repertoire at the Startasys plant.
Wolf appears to have done a grand job with the day’s program, although he modestly admits that he did not quite reinvent the wheel.
The idea of using industrial installations for cultural events is not new,” he says. “They have had things like this, for example, in the Ruhr Valley [in Germany], at places like steelworks. It’s one of the most amazing tourism events around.
The idea is to take the existing infrastructure and to turn it into something new. You can change these places into something else for the workers themselves, and also for members of the public.
For the public you can have all kinds of leisure facilities, and make a bicycle park.” The latter is ready and waiting for anyone who fancies taking on a challenging pump-track cycling route, and there is a site for flying model aircraft and games areas as well.
It sounds like Factories from Within is tailored to return more than every Succot – Wolf apparently intends to provide the local residents with healthy and fun leisure time activities all year round.
The October 1 event is also designed to give people from the area, and others from further afield, a better handle on what makes the leading industrial companies tick.
“We are launching a new information center in the new park, which will relate the complete history of industry in Israel, with an emphasis on Kiryat Gat,” explains Wolf. “This will be available to the public on a regular basis, and there will be guided tours throughout the year.”
That sounds a mite educational. “School groups can, of course, also take advantage of this,” Wolf adds. “It is an important part of life here.”
Holding such an enterprising cultural event can help attract visitors to a region of the country that may not readily spring to the mind of the average Israeli considering what route to take on a day out and about. It can also help to enhance the image of Kiryat Gat, not generally considered an epicenter of cultural goings on in this country.
“Absolutely,” Wolf concurs. “Kiryat Gat in general, and in particular the industrial area, has nothing to be ashamed of.”
The proof, continues the producer, will be evident on October 1. “Shalom Hanoch is one of the most popular artists we have. There is considerable buzz in Tel Aviv about the event; there is demand for tickets for Hanoch’s show and the other shows. We are gradually developing a new reality in Kiryat Gat, and we have the most advanced industrial park in the country, bar none. We have a lot to offer in terms of employment, leisure and tourism.”
The Succot event will take place as part of Kiryat Gat’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
“This is a total win-win scenario,” Wolf enthuses. “Factories from Within provides a boost for local industry, supports the local population and also provides artists with a great platform. All of the artists we approached were very enthusiastic about the event, which is very pleasing for us.”
The tours are free, but participants must register in advance by calling 058-700-1677, which is also the number for concert ticket reservations. Visitors can obtain information about the new park at: