From the Grapevine: Dead Sea Rave

Last week, while 20,000 ravers were getting their groove on, we were busy writing about it.  We produced our first travel article for Israeli-focused website, From the Grapevine. Our piece zeroed in on one of the biggest music events in the Israeli calendar, the -424 Dead Sea Rave. Never heard of it? You soon will.

It’s a huge 12-hour electronic dance music event that takes place in a secluded desert site in eastern Israel. The bad news is, you’ve already missed it, as it took place on Thursday October 23 (don’t worry, there’s always next year!) More than 20,000 ravers turned out for the occasion and it was headlined by a shedload of EDM DJ superstars, including Paul Oakenfold, Deep Dish and Dash Berlin. Not only was the lineup pretty spectacular, but the setting for the rave was too. It took place in the Judean Desert at the foot of Mount Masada. This spot also happens to be the lowest point of land on earth at 424 metres below sea level, which explains the event name.

In the build up to the rave, we caught up with the event promoter and some of the up-and-coming Israeli DJs who were scheduled to perform to hear a little more about it. The article appeared on the From the Grapevine website here, but you can also read it in full below…

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Dead Sea electronic music rave hosts Paul Oakenfold
This week sees the return of the -424 Dead Sea Rave, a 12-hour electronic music festival that will begin on Thursday night in the serene mountains on the east coast of Israel. Last year, for the inaugural event, 20,000 glowstick-waving ravers descended on the Judean Desert for a party that would last from sunset to sunrise.

The concert was named in honor of the lowest point of land on Earth, at minus 424 meters (1,391 feet) from sea level. Low though it may be, the crowd, fueled by electronic beats spun from the likes of electronic musicians Paul Oakenfold and Deep Dish, as well as rising Israeli stars, are sure to be on a high.

Although it’s only in its second year, the -424 Dead Sea Rave has a strong reputation among other large-scale electronic dance music (EDM) outdoor raves, with the breathtaking setting boosting its credentials. Last year’s headliner, DJ David Guetta, has also been adding to the buzz.

In a video, Guetta raved about his experience at the 2013 event. “It’s very difficult to describe what makes a show special, but I think it’s all about interaction with the people,” Guetta said. “When there are 20,000 people … and we feel like one, that’s what makes me feel really special.” With Guetta heaping on the praise, the hype surrounding the second iteration of the -424 Dead Sea Rave has been growing for months.

The setting
“Having an EDM festival at such a special location is unique,” festival promoter Ali Yossef told From the Grapevine. “It is, after all, a heritage park that mainly holds opera shows and Israeli music events, so the fact that a rave is taking place in such a location is really special.”

Scores of partygoers are brought down to Masada, the locale of the rave, by shuttle buses, which depart from the cities of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beer-Sheva and Eilat. “The whole road to Masada is full of epic scenery that simply prepares the crowd for the festival itself,” Yossef said.

Once there, attendees can escape from everyday life, Yossef said. “Such a remote location gives the crowd the ability to unwind, dance and have fun for 12 hours,” he added.

Complementing the natural scenery is the state-of-the-art setup. A 230-foot-wide stage, elaborate lighting and pyrotechnic effects ensure the visual experience syncs with the thundering beats.


The music
Then there is the music. EDM is known for its synths, ethereal female vocals and a “euphoric drop” – the climax of a song, when the building bass line really kicks in, spurring the raving masses into a frenzy. This year’s lineup features some of the most sought-after acts from both global and Israeli EDM circles.

Warming up the crowd during the opening set will be VNM, one of several Israeli performers. VNM is a female house duo formed by Nela Goldberg and Viki Makrianis. “It’s unbelievable that we came here as fans a year ago and now we are the opening act of this festival with all these amazing stars,” Goldberg told From the Grapevine. “We want to use the opportunity to play our new tracks for the first time.

Israeli DJ Roy Brizman, or Gel Abril as he’s better known, will also be taking the stage. For Brizman, the setting of the rave, combined with the stellar lineup and vast numbers of revelers, make it especially noteworthy. “The location is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Down there below the mountain, it’s nature at its best … As a DJ, these events are always fun and they have a great energy with lots of music lovers,” Brizman said.

As the night progresses, the names only get bigger. Grammy winners Deep Dish will perform as a duo, having reunited this year following an eight-year split, while a trio of renowned Dutch acts – Dash Berlin, W&W and Sander Van Doorn — also take to the stage. Headlining the festival is British trance veteran Paul Oakenfold, who has been a mainstay on the electronic music scene since the 1980s. Paul Oakenfold’s slot at the -424 Dead Sea Rave is enviable; it is his performance that will see the sun rise.

To see some more of the cultural travel pieces we’ve written at World Words, click here. Alternatively, stay tuned to our blog or follow us on Twitter, where we tweet all our latest news and top travel writing advice.

Images: Screengrabs/Youtube

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