Concert
[Photo by Yvette de Wit]

Israel just held what may be the first large live music gathering since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the industry. And, they used a loophole to do it. On May 21, some 3,000 people gather at Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv for what they were calling a protest. 

The event, called “Behind the Scenes: an Assembly of Solidarity” was a protest that featured live musical acts from the likes of Aviv Geffen and Rita. The protest was focused on bringing back live music and provide more support to workers whose livelihoods depend on the music and entertainment industries. 

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The coronavirus pandemic began massively impacting the entertainment industry back in March. Film studios ground to a halt as theatrical releases were delayed and production ceased to continue. Live Nation and AEG immediately halted all of their ongoing and future spring tours and the entire music industry saw a wave of postponements and cancellations. 

Slowly, around the world governments are starting to ease regulations on society and businesses are beginning to open back up. Well, Tel Aviv didn’t really want to wait as long.  

According to Billboard, the event was organized by Israeli entrepreneurs Inbar and Marius Nacht. It only took them days to plan the “protest,” and they also formed a fund to support some of the 170,000 unemployed industry workers. Staff of the event were paid but the main acts played for free. 

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So what did it look like? Well, attendees were permitted to enter the park if they were wearing face masks and were advised to stay six feet apart. This allegedly proved hard to enforce and as the night went on, health regulations were ignored. According to Billboard, hundreds went without masks and stood side by side. 

The event was also allegedly back by Tel Aviv’s mayor and police department. 

“[Coronavirus] has left many singers, actors and backstage workers with no income and uncertainty about when they’ll be able to earn a living again,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said on stage at the event. “This is the cry of an entire industry that needs answering. The responsibility lies first and foremost with the Israeli government and I’m appealing from here — Don’t forget the culture!”

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Israel has seem a drastic decline in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Children have returned to school and shopping centers were also reopened. But, they still have reported 16,670 cases and 279 deaths. With that being said, Israel could be heading for a potential second wave of coronavirus. Only time will tell. 

All in all, the protest seemed to be about people shifting their focus. It went from isolation and moved towards helping industry workers. 

“It is so moving to see the thousands who came here, it was such a strange and psychotic period but we’re here to support our friends and wonderful crew members, not knowing where we’d be without them,” Geffen said. “I met with the new Minister [of Culture and Sports], who realizes the magnitude of distress and it appears live shows will soon re-start and music will return to Israel, because music is meaning. Music is our prayer.”

See what the Tel Aviv event looked like below. 

More videos and images can be seen here.

Tell us your thoughts on this Tel Aviv event in the comments below!

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