Are you ready for the beat?! Carry on reading for the Secret Tel Aviv Guide to Best Jazz and Beats Festivals in Israel, including the Eilat Red Sea Jazz Festival held in January and August every year, the incredible 2-day Sunbeat Festival held in June on the Kinneret, and Reggae in the Desert in September.
The festivals below focus on Jazz and Beats festivals, for a more complete list check out our series on Music Festivals in Israel.
January & August – Eilat Red Sea Jazz Festival
Jazz | 4-days no camping | Eilat | August and January
The Red Sea Jazz Festival was established in 1987. The main event is the Summer Festival, which lasts four days in venues across Eilat Port, typically bringing in attendances totaling 70,000 people. The newer winter edition lasts seven days and takes place in hotels and music venues across Eilat. Top artists from Israel and abroad perform, in 2015 the Idan Raichel Project, Barry Sakarov and Riff Cohen all took part! This is more a collection of concerts rather than a festival, so there is no camping.
May – Tel Aviv Jazz Festival
Jazz | 3-days no camping | Tel Aviv | May
Held every year at Cinemateque around May time, the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival attracts top musicians from Israel and abroad.
June – Sunbeat Festival
Global Beats | 2-day with Camping | Kinneret | June
When Spring meets Summer – Celebrating Live Global Beats! A Weekend of Live Music, Dance & Celebration! From the clubs of Berlin to the tribes of Africa, from the Favelas of Rio to the Greek Tavernas, from the colorful markets of Marrakech to the sunny shores of Jamaica – a Musical Cross Culture extravaganza! The 2-day annual festival, founded in 2011, takes place in Nature Reserve Jordan park in the northeastern Kinneret, where the small water streams cross endless vegetation and green meadows to create a heavenly feel and the setting for an unforgettable experience.
June – Groovestock
Groove | 2 days with camping | Negev | June
A new addition to the Israel festival scene, Groovestock attracted thousands of revellers to its first festival in 2015. They were treated to groove, fund, hip-hop and beat-box by some top Israeli bands and DJs, including: Lucille Crew, Yemen Blues, A-WA, and lots more. The festival lasts two days, with areas for camping and transport available to-and-from Tel Aviv.
August – Safed Klezmer Festival
Klezmer | 5 days no camping | Safed | August
The 2015 Klezmer Festival marked the 28th year of the three-night open-air Klezmer Festival in Safed. During the festival stages are set up throughout the city and visitors can wander from stage to stage through the alleyways and lanes of the Old Jewish Quarter and Artist Quarter. On each of the 3 nights of the festival, performances begin approximately 9pm and go through until after midnight. The performances are free and are all located within a 5-15 minute walk of each other in the town’s center. In addition to the free performances there will also be many other activities, including lessons, storytelling and magic shows for kids.
August – Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival
Beats | 5 days without camping | Jerusalem | August
Founded in 2012, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival is a beautiful celebration of different cultures and religions unified by one thing – the Beat! 2015 included performances from Israeli and Arab musicians, and musicians from all around the world, including Matisyahu, HaDag HaNahash, Ester Rada, the Zvuloon Dub System. There were also singing cirlces, drumming circles, talks, and parties. Most of the concerts are set in the Old City.
September – Reggae in the Desert
Reggae Music | 2-day with Camping | Negev | September
I don’t like Reggae. I LOVE IT! Founded in 2007, Reggae in the Desert is an annual 2-day festival held in the Negev around September time. The festival brings in top performers from Israel and abroad, and there is space for people to pitch up tents. The organisers took a break in 2015, but promise to be back in 2016 with a bigger and better event!
October – Levontin 7 Jazz Festival
In 2015 the Levontin 7 Jazz Festival celebrated its third birthday! Held every year around October/ November, the festival brings together some of Israel’s top jazz musicians for a three-day celebration, with concerts throughout the day.