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Promoters in Israel have spoken to IQ about the impact of this weekend's attacks on their lives and businesses...
By Lisa Henderson on 09 Oct 2023
The attack by Hamas militants on Israel’s Supernova festival that saw at least 260 people killed and countless others abducted has been called the “biggest-ever disaster at a music festival”.
Jonathan Lipitz, founder of local promoter Yellow Brick and owner of Tel Aviv-based club Kuli Alma, today spoke to IQ about “the nightmare” unfolding across the country since the coordinated surprise attack by Hamas this weekend, including at the Supernova festival on Saturday (7 October) morning.
Lipitz, who lives a 120-minute drive from where the Supernova festival took place, says he heard the siren that went off around dawn, warning of rockets.
“The early morning of Saturday, I was at my mother’s house in Rishon Le Zion and I stood outside watching [the conflict] because I had this idea that the [Hamas] will not be satisfied with only taking part the south part of Israel… we haven’t slept since then.”
More than two days since the unprecedented attack, Lipitz says he personally knows eight to 10 people who are “dead, wounded or missing”.
“We are experiencing our 9/11. This is the biggest tragedy my country has ever faced”
“We are experiencing our 9/11,” he says. “This is the biggest tragedy my country has ever faced. I’m more shocked than scared and I’m more enraged than sad. I’m not really digesting what my eyes and brain are seeing. This will take a lot of time.”
Leeorna Solomons, from Tel Aviv-based boutique production company Lidor Productions, tells IQ: “Israel is under a terrorist attack… [it’s a] massacre of innocent civilians in their homes. No other words can describe it. Women, children, babies, and elderly people have been kidnapped into Gaza. We are now counting over 1,000 civilians dead, and more than 2,500 severely wounded. If we can compare this to 11 September in the same proportion of the population, it is as if 23,000 people died in less than 24 hours.”
Lipitz, who employs around 60 people across his club and promotions company, says many of his colleagues have been drafted into the army.
“We’re in touch with all our workers, from security to cleaning to waitresses to bar bartenders,” he says. “We’re used to keeping in touch and showing solidarity [during difficult times] because of coronavirus time and the reality in Israel.” In the meantime, Kuli Alma has closed indefinitely and Yellow Brick’s scheduled shows at the Barby Club before the end of the year will probably be postponed.
“Entertainment can wait,” Lipitz says. “First, we need to be focused on people’s lives and how my country should be run in a modern and democratic world as we imagined it to be like. We are really standing on our feet as civilians but unfortunately, my government is a big joke.”
“We dreamt of something and woke up to a nightmare”
“Are we able to proceed with business, shows and concerts? Hell no! We can hardly breathe,” adds Solomons.
Unsurprisingly, upcoming concerts and festivals in the country have been cancelled. One of the first was Bruno Mars’s 60,000-capacity concert on Saturday 7 October in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.
In a statement regarding the cancellation, Live Nation Israel said: “We stand with the residents of Israel, IDF fighters and the security forces in these difficult moments.”
Lipitz, who attended Mars’s concert in Tel Aviv last Wednesday, said Israel felt like “a normal country” that was worthy of “one of the biggest stars in the world”.
“I said to my friend ‘Man, we live in a normal country. How nice it is to have that?’ I didn’t know that 72 hours after, on the day of the second show that was planned, it would all be forgotten like a fantasy. We dreamt of something and woke up to a nightmare.”
Lipitz believes it will be four to eight weeks until the conflict ends, though the impact on Israel’s live music scene is likely to last a lot longer.
While the number of deaths at Supernova festival is higher than all previous terrorist attacks at live events, the onslaught is reminiscent of tragedies such as the mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest in Las Vegas in 2017 and the co-ordinated attacks at France’s Bataclan concert hall, Stade de France and Paris cafes in 2015.
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