Tel Aviv exhibit simulates aftermath of rave where Hamas killed 360 on Oct. 7

Recreation of the festival space produced by the Tribe of Nova gives a sense of the horror

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

The camping area from the Supernova desert rave, recreated for the 'Nova 6.29' exhibit, remembering the 360 people who were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)
The camping area from the Supernova desert rave, recreated for the 'Nova 6.29' exhibit, remembering the 360 people who were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)

Straw mats strewn with tents and sleeping bags, rolled-up yoga mats, water bottles and camping chairs lying on their sides.

Carts with tie-dye T-shirts, woven bracelets and hemp products, a stand for massages, a Hebrew prayer book open on a pillow.

In the back, trance music plays on a dusky neon dance floor and oversize video screens show images of DJs grooving to the beat and young people dancing in silent ecstasy.

This is the “Nova 6.29” exhibit at the Tel Aviv Expo, which is named for the exact hour on October 7 when the rockets began falling on the Tribe of Nova desert rave.

More than 3,000 people were at the Supernova music festival that began on Friday night October 6 and was meant to last into the afternoon of October 7.

As rockets began falling early that morning, the partygoers were still dancing, and at first didn’t realize that hundreds of Hamas terrorists were launching an assault, arriving on gliders and mopeds. The attackers shot and killed some 360 people and assaulted and abducted dozens more.

The trance dance floor from the Supernova desert rave, recreated for the ‘Nova 6.29’ exhibit, remembering the 360 people who were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)

This exhibit, installed in the Expo Tel Aviv conference center, is one of the first memorials to the events of October 7, produced by entertainment producer Yoni Feingold, one of the founders of the Zappa music club chain.

There have been several other initial attempts at memorializing that day, including a set of DJs playing in the open field where Supernova was held, their audience a sea of placards bearing the faces of those killed and kidnapped.

So far, however, there has been nothing official as the country went straight to war and as the nation grapples with mourning its dead and saving the 129 people still held hostage in Gaza.

“Nova 6.29” is an homage to the Tribe of Nova, the group of people who brought their Tel Aviv trance culture out into nature and held festivals under the open skies several times a year. The first Supernova was held a year earlier, on October 7-8, 2022.

The trance dance floor from the Supernova desert rave, recreated for the ‘Nova 6.29’ exhibit, remembering the 360 people who were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)

The exhibit includes hundreds of items retrieved from the site of the rave, from stage props and sets to personal items brought by partygoers that weekend.

“The fragments of the party and the torn pieces of life lie here now as a silent testimony, in memory of all the tremendous human beauty that was lost,” said President Isaac Herzog at the opening of the exhibition. “The massacre, and the deep and painful wound it created, are the legacy of an entire generation.”

In this hall, viewers get a sense of the area that had been set up for Supernova, and of the horrors that took place there.

A row of yellow porta-potties is riddled with bullet holes. The Hamas terrorists had aimed their guns at any space where someone may have been hiding.

Porta-potties riddled with bullet holes at the ‘Nova 6.29’ exhibit, commemorating the Supernova rave where 360 people were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)

The hulking skeletons of burned out cars are testament to the attempted flight of hundreds of people who were mown down by the terrorists.

In the Nova Stage main dance area, the massive video screens show the faces of the DJs and dancers, as well as screenshots of WhatsApp messages sent as people began realizing that an assault was taking place and hurried to alert their families.

A long bar bears glasses and other items, as well as a price list of beers and drinks, reminding visitors that this was meant to be a party.

The bar that stood at the Supernova desert rave, now part of the ‘Nova 6.29’ exhibit, where 360 people were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)

There is a corner of artworks created by Supernova survivors seeking therapy to help mourn their loved ones and find a way out of the trauma, as they repeat a new motto, “We will dance again.”

Toward the end of the exhibit is perhaps the most harrowing and painful section, “Lost and Found,” with rows of shoes and sunglasses, hats and deodorants, hair clips and house keys, most destined never to be reunited with their owners.

From the ‘Nova 6.29’ exhibit, the personal items left behind by Supernova partygoers, 360 of whom were gunned down by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy Tribe of Nova)

As visitors take their leave, a long, rolling screen shows portraits of all the 360 partygoers who were gunned down that day, as the liturgical song, “Shomer Yisrael” (“Guardian of Israel, guard the remnant of Israel”), plays in a loop.

“Nova 6.29” through January 13, Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Expo Tel Aviv, Pavilion 1. NIS 50 donation, all proceeds go toward assistance for Supernova survivors.

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