Revival of the Fittest

Hippies welcome as Woodstock Festival returns to Jerusalem

Eighth local event honoring iconic 1969 ‘Summer of Love’ music gathering moves to new home at the capital’s Yellow Submarine

Getting the groove on at the annual Woodstock Revival concert in Jerusalem (Yehuda HaLevy)
Getting the groove on at the annual Woodstock Revival concert in Jerusalem (Yehuda HaLevy)

Summer may be over, but the Summer of Love lives on, at least in Jerusalem this Friday.

The Jerusalem Woodstock Festival is back in its eighth incarnation, this time in a smaller location and slightly different time of the year.

Despite these changes, organizer Nadia Levene says the spirit of the 1969-inspired festival still influences people of all ages.

“It’s classic music. It doesn’t fade. All of the bands, the ’60s and ’70s music, you get all types of fans,” she said.

The annual Jerusalem event started in 2009 on the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock, which took place on Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York in the summer of 1969.

The crowd at Woodstock fills a natural amphitheatre with the stage at the bottom, August 1969 (photo credit: Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell/CCA-SA 3.0)
The crowd at Woodstock fills a natural amphitheatre with the stage at the bottom, August 1969 (Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell/CCA-SA 3.0)

“We wanted to carry on the Woodstock tradition in Jerusalem,” Levene said.

Levene notes that, despite Jerusalem’s more conservative reputation, the message of the festival resonates with residents.

“Woodstock, it was hippies, it was people saying enough with this war, Vietnam, hatred. We want love, we want peace, we want music,” said Levene. “I think that resonates with a lot of Israelis. We’re in a stalemate. This is music that we can enjoy together.”

Previous itinerations of the Jerusalem Woodstock Revival were held at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem. This year, the festival moved to the Yellow Submarine at HaRechavim 13, with five bands playing the hits of the legendary festival.

“We don’t often have this opportunity to do this type of material. It’s a very good chance to have this crowd to perform this type of music,” said Shay Tochner, who says he is performing for the third time at the festival.

Tochner is playing acoustic folk with Yonatan Miller and Gabriella Lewis.

Other bands and artists playing are Libi & The Flashbacks, covering The Rolling Stones; Jokers & Thieves, a Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Bob Dylan cover band; Mark Rashkow & Gary Medwed’s Blues Ensemble; and Undercover, which will be playing a Woodstock medley.

Libi performing at a past Woodstock (Photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi)

All of the artists are Israelis or Israeli-Americans, said Levene, and everyone lives in Israel.

This year’s festivities align with the Sukkot holiday, with Friday being Chol HaMoed Sukkot. As such, Levene says there will be sukkah building, as well as tie-dying, juggling and face painting for younger fans.

Levene is expecting a few hundred people, and says if turnout is good anticipate seeing bigger events in the future.

“It’s going to be a different event, but we wanted to keep it alive,” she said. “We hope to have a festival next summer, and then maybe another winter one at the Yellow Submarine.”

Tickets are available online at

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