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Three days; more than 50 artists; and thousands of music fans.
In less than a month, the Meteor Festival is slated to descend on the quiet Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan near the northern border. The Naranjah production company, which is organizing the event, is gearing up for what could be the biggest music festival in Israel’s history.
Festival organizers said this week that close to 10,000 tickets have already been sold for all or part of the three-day-event, and they expect more than 1,000 music fans to come from abroad, including from Poland, Germany, Greece and Turkey.
“We never intended to be the biggest. We want to be the most diverse and unique festival ever held here,” said Naranjah’s Shahaf Yinnone in an email interview. “Certainly when it comes to the international artists, there’s no doubt we are on the cutting edge, in the amount [of artists taking part], in the big names and in the artistic breadth of the festival.”
Far from the center of the country, the international stars – who include rapper Pusha T, DJ Flying Lotus and jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington – will converge on the sleepy kibbutz from September 6 to 8.
And though it is situated just over 10 km. from the border with Lebanon, festival organizers did not have any response to questions over security concerns or potential cancellations in light of any flare-ups. The show’s publicists declined to answer the question the very same day that rappers Fat Joe and Tyga pulled out of a show in Israel just days in advance, citing “the security situation.” A few days later, as rockets rained down on the country, government officials weighed launching a more extensive operation in Gaza. But festival organizers said they only want to focus on the positive.
“We traveled all over the country, digging for the right place that would fit our needs,” Yinnone said of the choice to hold the festival at Lehavot Habashan. “Every place we went, we had to try and convince the locals that we’re not coming to hold a nature party, but a serious and organized event… we knew we wanted somewhere in nature, with trees and a mountain view.”
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But nothing they visited fit their criteria, “until we received a tip about Lehavot Habashan, and we understood that it suits our needs perfectly.”
As they hunted for a venue, the festival organizers were also building the impressive and eclectic lineup of both local and international performers. Russian DJ Nina Kraviz, American rapper A$AP Ferg, Belgian rockers Soulwax, British musician Mura Masa and German DJ Koze are among the dozens of global acts joining local favorites Balkan Beat Box, Berry Sakharof, Hadag Nahash and many more.
“We reached out to artists both as part of our artistic vision and also based on realistic thinking,” said Yinnone. “We started by contacting artists we’re friends with, who know our activities and know the local market. Once we built a solid base for the festival, we continued according to our musical tastes, and for seven months we sat several times a week in our office into the early morning hours looking for the right artists for the festival.”
The three-day event is slated to include five stages, a “Zen tent,” sleeping tents, multiple food options, an arcade and much more over 72 hours of music.
But one of the biggest logistical concerns Naranjah said it is facing is the show for DJ Flying Lotus.
“This is an artist who appears live between two huge screens, which both project slightly different visuals from each other, and he is ‘trapped’ in the middle, in a spectacular 3D visual experience,” said Yinnone. “Just to get a projector like that in Israel was not a simple task, but our team is ready for this.”
Tickets for the festival are available via meteorfestival.com and are NIS 650 for all three days plus camping rights.