Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist

Jerustock; 50 years of Woodstock in Jerusalem

It’s been 50 years since the legendary music festival in Woodstock, NY and that has not gone unnoticed here in Jerusalem.  At the time of the original Woodstock, America was torn by overseas wars that seemed never-ending and segregation that still haunted the South.  The youth were thirsty for a way to escape the stress the country was going through while attempting to avoid the draft.  Musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Buffalo Springfield, Country Joe, and the Fish, Brewer and Shipley, Crosby Stills and Nash, Arlo Guthrie and others were obsessed with trying to make sense of what was happening and used their musical lyrics to express the desperation of the times.  The movie Hair debuted and focused on the fear of being torn out of the culture of love and thrust into the throes of war.

Jews are known as the world’s greatest resilient activists.  Woodstock was organized and populated by Jews who staged one of the most well-known protests to the dark times of war and segregation using music, peace, and love to overcome hate and fear. Michael Lang, a young Jewish man from Brooklyn, started his journey into the world of music festivals in Florida where everything fell apart for him.  Never giving up he partnered with Jewish counterparts Artie Kornfeld, Joel Rosenman, and John P. Roberts to form Woodstock Ventures. Had they not found Jewish landowner Max Yager Woodstock probably wouldn’t have happened, but they did and the rest is history.

What made Woodstock a Jewish event?  In addition to the fact that creating a festival of peace, love and unity is a very Jewish thing, more than half of the performing acts were populated with Jews.  From Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe and the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, Mountain, Blood Sweat and Tears, The Band, Grateful Dead, Shanana and Canned Heat Jews were everywhere!  And of course, the groundbreaking movie Hair’s actor Burt Summer as well.

Fifty years later we are still in the throes of unrest. Jews are struggling for their safety around the world and concerned about protecting the Jewish nation’s homeland in Israel yet at the same time are rejoicing over their freedom to live and pray in Jerusalem and making music.  The end of August will be Jerusalem’s opportunity to celebrate peace, love and unity at a time when challenges are right around the corner, one large one being the upcoming elections.

Just like Woodstock, Jerustock happened upon a young Jewish visionary who founded an open air venue using an old Silo for his vegetarian restaurant right in the heart of Jerusalem.  Just like Max Yager, Hanan Mars saved the day and allowed Jerustock to happen.

HItorerut, Jerusalem’s largest political party working hard for over a decade to create a Jerusalem that will entice our young people to stay and live here is again providing an opportunity to show that you do not have to leave the city to enjoy a two-day festival.  Jerustock is giving young and not so young Jerusalem bands the opportunity to celebrate a true music festival right at home.  This family-oriented event is featuring The Elevator’s tribute to The Grateful Dead, Tamar and Natanel’s tribute to Simon and Garfunkel, Alma Madre’s rendition of Jimi Hendrix, John Hock’s tribute to Country Joe and the Fish and talented lesser-known Israeli bands playing tribute to Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell and many more.

Jerustock- a tribute to Woodstock, will be taking place on August 29-30th at the Silo near the First Station on David Remez Street.  The festival will be something, unlike anything we have seen here in Jerusalem, 24 hours of rock n roll, yoga, juggling, face painting, activities for children, art, camping and so much more!  The vision of the organizers is a safe and clean atmosphere where everyone will feel comfortable. With that in mind, the event will be alcohol and smoke-free.  Tickets are reasonably priced -40-50 shekels which will serve as donations towards cultural activities here in Jerusalem, helping our youth to form cultural communities where they can create through music and art and perform in safe surroundings.  Thanks to the Silo Jerusalem can begin to compete with the Center of Israel and provide outdoor multi-day festivals fostering the goal of showcasing local young talent who with our help will not need to move away from Jerusalem to find exciting events and welcoming audiences to perform for.  Jerustock is all about unity and everyone will feel welcomed!  The festival starts on Thursday at 3pm with jamming where everyone is invited to join, continues with young bands followed by our featured artists.  Friday morning we wake up to pancakes by the Silo and hours more of fantastic music.  We will be winding down to a special Kabalat Shabbat with music and a bit of spiritual Torah. What a way to bring in the Sabbath!  Bring your own mats, chairs, blankets and whatever else will make you feel comfortable for hours of enjoyment!

For more information and to pre-register join our fb event.

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 Center, for Ethiopian Teens and a Sober Music Bar for teens and young adults: Sobar Jerusalem.
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