While sitting in our office, at the beginning of 2012, we started to play around with the idea of a Rock and Indie Showcase of Israeli artists. But it seemed like an impossible dream.
Even as it started to become a reality – bands were signing up, guests were confirming, the line up was made public – we still had a feeling that this was all too good to be true.
We waited impatiently for our guest to arrive from abroad. These were people who had seen and heard it all; they had been to every showcase possible and had produced huge festivals themselves. We had no idea how they would see us – our tiny country, with a tiny music scene, right in the heart of a war zone.
At the time, the Rock, Indie and Electronic scenes – already considered mainstream in the rest of the world – were still finding their place here in Israeli culture. We here at the submarine however, were already dreaming of exporting it abroad. Dreaming of an annual event that could showcase our local artists to the rest of the world.
Well, the reality exceeded our expectations. Our hearts burst with pride as 30 of our artists managed to leave these international industry leaders open mouthed.
Perhaps they did not know what to expect? Maybe they thought they would find nomads with a guitar and a flute on a camel? But what they discovered were amazingly talented musicians, up to date, music pioneers who were ready to swallow the world whole.
Our guests also discovered, apart from the great music, a whole new world here in Israel. The people are warm, the atmosphere is electric, the culture is unique and the night-life is vibrant. I am sure that most of them will return.
Israeli musicians are unique people; both as individuals and as artists. Life in Israel evokes rare emotions; the kinds that are expressed through powerful music. This enriches the musical talent of our eclectic culture, which is never compromised on stage.
Our artist’s will to express themselves and succeed in a place like Israel, which does not always allow them to do so, gives them greater motivation to break out.
It is true there is a narrow music institution here; very few festivals, labels, and media, does not always give our artists the opportunities to acquire the relevant experience that they need. But with all this, especially over the past five years the scene continues to grow.
This year, 300 bands signed up for the showcase, 250 of them were not here last year. I have not heard of many of them before but they sound as though they have been around for years.
This year we will have a very interesting festival. The music is widely varied; rock, progressive, singer-songwriters, pop artists and electronic. All of them will play in English and all of them are excellent.
I know that this year we will again manage to send most of our artists to festivals overseas. Some of them will sign with European labels and I hope we will be able to tempt our 35 guests with what we have to offer.
I hope that this year the crowds will flock to us again and discover, together with these industry leaders, the contemporary Israeli music scene.
I wish everyone a successful and enjoyable festival!
Hadas Vanunu – Artistic director Rock & Indie