Boom at the mela

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Middle East » Israel
September 26th 2012
Published: September 26th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY


To many people’s surprise Israel hosts the best outdoor parties in the world and gives birth to the best DJs!! I think this is a result of post-army kids who need to find themselves, let their hair down and experience something that was definitely prohibited to them during the army. Funnily enough the founder of this festival came from the Israeli Air Force!

I was shocked to find that this country founded on the basis of religion, attracts young travellers from around the world who have exclusively come to Israel to experience the parties.

We had heard about a once in a life-time party that according to Israelis is a place for meeting, experiencing, crossing borders and transcending social limitations through music, creation, and connection with nature so we decided to discard with our form of politics, education and social contribution for a weekend and go experience this party (this happened quite often).

Boombamela was created in 1999 and was a Shanti/ New Age festival but as with most festivals, it has slowly turned Mainstream, although I found it to be essentially still a festival of love and peace.

The festival is located on the
waiting at the bus stopwaiting at the bus stopwaiting at the bus stop

There are many buses that have scheduled trips to the festival
sandy beach of Hof Nitzanim, between Ashdod and Ashkelon, about as far from anything as anything can be in crowded Israel. It is held annually on Chol HaMoed Pesach (Intermediate Days of Passover) and its name is inspired by a Hindu pilgrimage in India called Kumbh Mela.

As we arrived and set up camp, I realised that the festival grounds were divided into villages such as a holistic village, a prayer village, a green revolution village (including a recycling centre), a spiritual village (where one can rest in a tent and listen to teachings of Indian gurus) and hundreds of exhibits, tents and activities which are devoted to such subjects as ecology, coaching, activism, yoga, arts, crafts, belly-dancing and street theatre. Jewish prayer services were also held at Ohel Ahava V'Tefilla (Tent of Love and Prayer) and at the Chabad Tent.

I found it was incredible that all these religions and interesting movements were interacting with each other; it is a place where unity between religions and cultures is celebrated. I saw Jews for Jesus and Chabad (very religious Jewish sect) were sitting next to each other and people dressed from head to toe in traditional religious wear
food tentfood tentfood tent

chill out area, to indulge in some yummy Israeli food
were on the same beach as naked people meditating – what was this??

Not only was this festival about faith but also featured bands on several sound stages, through the day and well into night; and trance dance floors with live DJs, in full swing around the clock. Walking through Boombamela, I could hear every style of music, from trance music to hip-hop to reggae to rock to Indian ragas.

My best experiences of the festival was the Street theatre, “Hamam” (Turkish bath, hot bucket), Sauna, free sculpturing with sand, the interesting cultural ceremonies, the Salsa Stage, the Circus, Mkadah (Ethiopian community and crafts), dub marathon, body painting and obviously, the music!

I know that my friends and I will never forget this hippie, nature-oriented, free, playful festival where we all got amazing tans and felt like it was all surreal.

Additional photos below
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Boombamela Rabbis Boombamela Rabbis
Boombamela Rabbis

One of the most interesting things - to see religious people at a hippie festival!!

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