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The world’s leading promoters & the 40 top markets they operate in.
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Israel’s relations with certain sections of the wider Arab world are better than they have been in years. Certainly, the resumption of flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai in 2020 has given a boost to the region’s promoters.
That’s meant regionally routed tours for acts such as Live Nation’s Maroon 5 – who in May famously played the Pyramids in Egypt, Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, and Park HaYarkon in Tel
Aviv – though Israel itself isn’t always a shoo-in for acts passing nearby, for political or logistical reasons.
“There’s a set of objective difficulties that have to do with geography more than anything,” says Oren Arnon, managing director of local promoter Shuki Weiss Promotion & Production, which has brought Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Jerry Cantrell, Paul Anka, and Gogol Bordello this year but has also been disappointed by a recent Justin Bieber cancellation.
“You are also flying in and flying out, which has it own issues and costs,”
“You are also flying in and flying out, which has it own issues and costs,” he adds. “On the other hand, you have one of the most passionate and loud and amazing audiences you will come across, and a lot of the acts that have been here return for that.”
Also significant is the mobile nature of Israel’s own local audience. “For an Israeli to fly to Europe and see a show, it’s not that expensive,” says Hillel Wachs of promoter 2b Vibes, whose recent shows include Pixies, Al Stewart, and LP. “People will often fly to Eastern Europe to get some festival ticket for 40% less than it would cost here.”
“People will often fly to Eastern Europe to get some festival ticket for 40% less than it would cost here.”
As Israel remains a more complex date than others on the regional circuit – including the equally controversial but notably lucrative Saudi Arabia – the pool of promoters has thinned out a little, with credit probably also due to Covid. “It’s definitely not been easy, and I can’t say I would wholeheartedly recommend this line of business for anyone new coming in,” says Arnon wryly.
Live Nation in Israel was born out of the local Bluestone Group in 2017 and channels international acts through the region, with 2023’s Red Hot Chili Peppers show an unfortunate recent cancellation and Maroon 5 and OneRepublic recent big successes. Other Israeli operators include busy club promoter Yellow Brick and Gil Karniel Productions, who has brought Amadou & Mariam, Jonny Greenwood, and Baaba Maal over the years.
Historic big-hitter Gad Oron brought André Rieu to Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena in November while seasoned international operator Marcel Avram was behind Colombian star Maluma’s April show at the same venue.