Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist/band organizer and manager/event producer/writer

Jerusalem’s First Beatles Festival: An Exciting Event at an Unexpected Location

Flyer for Beatles fest

This month we will be celebrating a first. Not only the first Beatles festival in Jerusalem but also the first music festival in an unexpected location. With the closing of Jerusalem’s most welcoming outdoor venue, The Silo Café, everyone asked me “What about your Woodstock festivals? Where will you move to?” They really did, I’m not just saying that lol.   I knew the answer would come and it did.  Just as spring approached, time for my first outdoor festival,  Adam Yahin, the founder and director of the Dancing Ram Theater began sowing the seeds of Jerusalem’s newest cultural village. I was beyond excited when he offered me the opportunity to move all of my festivals and music projects to this special new location.

I often wonder where the ideas come from for my festivals. I know that I am stuck in the 1960s and early 1970s believing that there has never been music created and performed since then that is timeless.  Through the years after organizing over 30 Woodstock-style festivals I have seen my audience grow with Anglos and Israelis of all ages singing along to Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and more.  When I ask the younger crew how they know this music, they say their parents played it since they were young and they too realized that no era has come close to that of the Woodstock era.

My festivals generally consist of four or five bands coming from all over Israel and I usually end with a Grateful Dead band seeing as Israel has a Huge Dead Head fan club.  Actually, the only one band festivals I have ever organized were Dead Fests.  This time around, preparing for the first outdoor festival of the year I chose to organize a Beatles fest.

A portion of the outdoor grass area where we will be holding our festival at Kfar Shaul photo by Tracey Shipley

Authentic Kfar Shaul our newest cultural hub
Photo: Tracey Shipley

Why a Beatles Fest?  Out of every band I know I have learned that “everyone”, young and old loves the Beatles!

I was curious to understand why this band is so loved. Some say that they represented the American style of the 1960s even though coming from the UK. At the same time opening the door for what was called The British Invasion which later brought in The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Kinks, and more.

The Nowhere Band photo by Eliyahu Friedman

They made sure that every song was different than the one before and added fuel to the fire of the revolutionary days of the era.  In the end, I think it came down to good and catchy lyrics, great tunes, and a great look which at the time was dressing alike.  They maintain some of the highest record sales until today and their songs are among the most recorded in history.

So I spread the word that I was looking for Beatle bands and in came a litany of phone calls from Beatle Bands with the strangest of names from all over the country.  The Market Hedgehogs, so named as they began their band in the Yaffo/Tel Aviv market, the Fridge Magnets, The Nowhere band, and Eggmen named after a couple of well-known Beatle songs, Beatlemaniacs – probably the most well-known Beatles band on our list and more.  Everyone seemed to want to be a part of the Beatles fest. We even have an acapella group joining us as well as a few acoustic musicians such as Daniella Goldfine who has wowed my audiences year after year.

Now back to our new location. I knew when the Silo closed that I couldn’t choose just any place. We needed a place with a wide open space that could hold over 150 people.  It needed to be in Jerusalem and accessible with public transportation and places to park.  I wanted a grassy area in a picturesque location.  Adam approached me last summer sharing his dream of turning the Kfar Shaul Mental Health grounds, one of Jerusalem’s most unique and spacious locations into a Cultural Hub. Adam organized a successful theater festival at the Kfar last summer hosting hundreds of visitors from outside the Kfar as well as the patients, many who had never been to a theater production in their lives.

One thing I have learned about mental illness in general, is that it seems to plague the most vulnerable of populations which are often the musicians and artists of our communities.  Many reside in Kfar Shaul and long for cultural experiences.  Adam’s vision has filled a huge void for the residents of the Kfar as well as hundreds of Jerusalem residents looking for artistic experiences in unique and original locations.

Thanks to The Jerusalem Foundation Adam has continued his theater endeavors at the Kfar even inviting the patients to help build his iconic huge puppets recently seen at Jerusalem’s first Purim Parade.  Adam suggested to the Foundation that I be allowed to continue my music festivals and programs at the Kfar as well.  Between Adam’s theater projects and my music programs and shows Kvar Shaul, Jerusalem’s largest Mental Health facility has indeed turned into a Cultural Hub and a perfect place to hold my upcoming festivals. .

Creating a Woodstock-type experience concert-goers will be encouraged to bring blankets, mats, and picnic baskets. The festival will take place on Thursday, May 30th. The cost of the festival is only 35 sh in advance and 40 sh at the door which will open at 6pm the night of the event.  We will start promptly at 6:30 pm and end at around 10:30pm.  Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a great show while helping us to treat the patients to an experience of a lifetime. Important notes: no alcohol/drugs and glass bottles please to safeguard the patients.  Also to be noted the event takes place the same day as Jerusalem’s Pride Parade so best to avoid the center of town when coming to the fest.  Lastly, it may be chili so dress warm!

For more information or advance tickets contact:  Tracey 0548108918

About the Author
Tracey Shipley is a youth and family counselor specializing in addictions and family communication. She was born in the US and moved to Israel in 1984 to continue her studies in Art Therapy. She moved back to the US in 1989 and began working in a drug rehab for teens where she was trained while she worked as a primary counselor. She moved back to Israel in 1996 and continued her work in addictions at the Jerusalem Methadone Clinic for a total of 9 years. She initiated projects for the children of the addicts at the Methadone Clinic, Established a program for Ethiopian Teens educating them about their culture and opened the Jerusalem School of Rock program which helps to create teen rock bands and established monthly teen music events at downtown venues where teens perform for their friends in a teen friendly exciting atmosphere. In addtion to her projects Tracey was the English Speaking Volunteer Coordinator for Emunah Jerusalem succeeding in bringing in more funds and volunteers than ever before. Tracey organizes monthly Rock Festivals and manages rock bands young and old. Tracey also writes for Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post.
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