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

Jerusalem’s First Rock Concert since the Onset of the War – Is It Too Soon?

Jerusalem's first rock fest of the year

As many of you know, my life is surrounded by music. I get up in the morning and turn on my favorite station 88 FM and start my day. I spend my time looking for new young musicians to add to the bands I form through my Jerusalem School of Rock.  I pair young people who approach me about helping them with their addictions with creative projects to help them fill the void with positivity. And I give Israeli bands the opportunity to shine in my Rock Festivals which even during Corona and terrorist attacks I never stopped.

So here comes the latest War. This war is not only soldier to soldier as wars usually are fought. Once again Israel is attacked by ruthless terrorists killing whomever they can find only this time in addition to being killed on October 7th in the worst breach of our borders ever seen, our citizens, fathers, grandparents, children, and mothers were brutally tortured in ways we have seen only in the Holocaust, details too horrific to share in this article. Over a hundred continue to be held hostage at the hands of barbarians in Gaza.

I feel almost guilty that this tragedy that is far from over has not touched me personally.  It leads me to believe that the universe needs my abilities to be fully strengthened to do what I believe I do best, bring joy and smiles to the faces of the young people I work with, to the bands who desperately need to perform in front of an appreciative audience and to my concert goers who respond gratefully when in the midst of stressful periods can escape to a place in time when music was just for enjoyment, not for refuge.

Recently I was introduced to the amazing talents of the musicians and singers of the multi-disciplinary department of Jerusalem’s Music Academy run by Nadav Vikinski. Along with the audience I was spellbound by their talents and passion for the music. Since then I had the opportunity to invite them to perform at my first Young Band Night of the year at the Besarabia Bar for friends and family, some of whom had never seen their kids perform before. I hosted one band that had been rehearsing for over a year but had yet to perform in front of an audience and another band that was formed just for the evening staring an incredible singer-songwriter, Daniella Goldfine who I have had the pleasure of fostering as a surrogate daughter since she was 11. She even has a Spotify channel with songs so deep in meaning I can’t believe she is only 23.

As I begin to manage one of Israel’s best rock bands “Atlantica” who had the honor of opening for Deep Purple during their last visit to Israel I was confronted with a new reality.  As I began calling pubs and venues around the country in an attempt to book performances, most have yet to resume their band shows feeling that it is still not time to open the stage for rock bands.

So here is my dilemma. Should I be feeling the same way or should I take the plunge to provide a musical refuge in the midst of the horrific times we are experiencing with continual attacks within Israel and across our borders on a daily basis. Wanting to rationalize my decision to begin my monthly rock events I turned to the internet.  What I found were countless articles on the importance of music to help bring up our spirits and escape the stress of our daily news of more and more of our loved ones killed and murdered (yes there is a difference). To quote an article in The Gazelle “Turning to Music In A Time Of War And Global Crisis “In an age of destruction, music is a means of protection.” It continues “It may seem like music can be futile when so many people are suffering around us;… However, listening to music and using it as a form of escape does not make the act ethically questionable, because everybody needs some form of a break, whether the worries are big or small.” Finally “… music serves to unify and connect people… There is a bond between fans … despite being complete strangers.”

There is often a sense of loneliness in our pain and suffering even when surrounded by loved ones. All of us feel and deal with personal pain in different ways. Some of us keep it in concerned that speaking about our fears to others will make matters worse. Others become glued to the news often feeling guilty if they miss any tragic detail of the day thinking that it’s inappropriate to speak about anything else when so many are suffering. And still, others try to find a middle ground where they can continue their lives for the benefit of their families and community.

For me, I attempt to find the middle ground of keeping informed but not allowing the situation to bring me down to where I can no longer help those who need me and what I have to offer. With this in mind, my Rock Concerts have begun! Thursday, January 25th I will host the best of Jerusalem’s cover bands featuring music of the 70’s and more. Once again The Modular Club of the Stay Inn hotel on 21 King George St, Jerusalem will host our first concert. We will open our event with two incredible bands from Jerusalem’s Music Academy playing both covers and originals. Following these talented students, I will be bringing back a band that has performed at many of my events “Wild Thing” who will cover Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and others.  And finally, our stars of the evening “CoverTale” who dazzled the audience at one of my festivals this past summer at the Silo Café will take us away to a time when music was again used to unite a nation. Their version of Led Zeppelin was so authentic if you closed your eyes you would think you were hearing Robert Plant and his band. They will also feature Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore and more.

This concert will be a tribute to the resilience of Israel and the Jewish people during a war that is not only a physical one but a psychological one as well. We will welcome evacuees and soldiers as our guests and unite as a people who will Never give in to desperation and one that will Never be defeated.

Tickets are only 35 shekels in advance and 40 shekels at the door. Doors open at 7pm, show begins at 7:30pm. For advance tickets please call me at 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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