Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Desert Rave at the Gaza Strip

Florentine Street Party during Purim
Having lived in Israel for the past 2 years, I think it is safe to say that if you are going to come here to visit, Purim is the time to come. Perhaps you wouldn't believe this, but Israelis party super hard. Purim is Israel's equivalent to Halloween and perhaps as far as the energy of this week, more likened to Carnival. Everyone dresses up and as the night approaches, several street parties form. If you plan to come to Israel, be in Tel Aviv the night of Purim, you simply can't go wrong. One party of note is the Florentine Street Party. This is an area of Tel Aviv that is known for its bars and East Village-esque type atmosphere, but on Purim this street shuts down and is filled with all kinds of drunken fools dressed up from outfits like Gadaffi to whatever you can conjure up in your imagination. During the day, several street parties kick off the holiday spirit, below is an example of what I'm talking about. This was a street party during the day on Shlomo Ha Melech Street and remember this is the warm-up for the evening festivities.

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you'll have noticed by now that I am one to peel back the layers of culture and really dissect the essence of the place I am going to. That being said, as a tourist in Israel, you can come here and see all the tourist sites which don't get me wrong, can be great, but the most amazing things to see are the ones off the beaten path. I think when most people come to another country and think about partying, they think about going into a club and meeting Israeli's. This is great, and should be done, however, what bothers me about this is that I can walk into a club anywhere in the world and basically do the same damn thing, which gets boring very quickly.

If you're more laid back, stick to the street parties, they are no doubt really fun, but this is not the craziest party scene in Israel. I pride myself on having been to some of the best parties in the world. Winter Music Festival, Mardy Gras, and many other incredible parties such as the New Year's Full Moon Party in Thailand (and I think most people that have been to this party would agree that this is the craziest one on Earth -- and a intented topic of discussion in a future post). One of the only parties that I have been to that can compare, is perhaps the Nature Parties during Purim.

I know it sounds a little on the tree hugger side, but the Purim Nature Party isn't about that, some people try to make it like that, but the majority are just there for a crazy party. This is basically a crazy version of Burning Man without the whole hippie mystique going on. As far as I know, there are three major groups that host these parties annually, Global Warming, TFN, and Moksha. These parties are promoted by word of mouth, and usually in order to purchase a ticket from the website you have to have a password from someone who works for the organization etc. The important thing is that if you plan to go to one of these events, you must get your tickets ASAP, they are hard to come by, and they sell out fast. So pre-purim start asking around, some local businesses will even distribute them to regular customers for about 100.00 NIS (roughly $25.00).

Morning of the party. The main tent is in the middle, while
you can see some tents where people are camping close by,
the main camp grounds are out of the range of the picture in
a forest to the right of the DJ tent.
This year I went to Moksha with a couple friends from school. The location of the party is not known until the day of, and you have to call a special number for directions. In our case, we were headed into the middle of the Negev Desert, 1 mile from Egypt, and within rocket range of the Gaza Strip. You can see the location, and our journey from Tel Aviv here. So, we got our rental car (if you're going to do small day trips and need a cheap and easy rental service, use Car2Go) met up with our friends around midnight, and took the two hour journey into the middle of nowhere to this party. 

After a while of driving, you begin to wonder, who the hell is going to show up to this thing, and then as you are on the last 5-10 miles you begin to realize that ALL the traffic around you is headed to the same place. We pulled off at the location which turned out to be some random forest with a dirt road and parked our car in what I could only describe as a parking lot resembling Mars.

Now, as I mentioned before, if you're not experimental, and plan to only stick to the alcohol, then I would suggest staying in Tel Aviv, the parties there are great, however at this desert rave just about everyone is on something. I am a strong proponent of trying everything once, and by all means if this is not your style I completely respect that. However, I can tell you that if you go to one of these you'll be the only person not on something which isn't that fun, so make sure you come to that decision before you make the two hour trek to the desert.

Mid-Day Moksha Party. Remeber all these people got here
at 3am, this is roughly around 11am.

My  friends and I decided to mix about a gram of pure MDMA into a bottle of water and split it. (A couple notes here, I don't suggest purchasing pills, because often times these tablets are mixed with other drugs that you might not want to experience. If in Israel, purchase pure MDMA rather than ecstasy pills) (Read the comments under my previous article for more information about MDMA). 

We finally ended our 2 hour journey. Pulled the key out of the ignition, took a healthy swig of funny water and walked down to the party. As we left the parking lot, and walked down the hill, you could see a giant tent filled with about 1000 people, and a crazy DJ leading the party. It was roughly 3:45am at this point and people were just beginning to get here. Next to the giant DJ tent was a forest with a huge camp ground. We met up with friends and set up our tents made a fire, and spent most of the night going between the dance floor and the camp grounds. Everyone one was dressed up for Purim in all kinds of crazy outfits, the scene was wild.

This is the fog that set in at sunrise. This is
The same fog used as cover by Hamas in Gaza
to shoot off rockets.
As morning approached and the sun came up, an eerie fog crept over the party which was incredible. It made for a good atmosphere for the party. Ironically, after talking to some people I was told that this is the same fog that the Gazans use to shoot of rockets in the morning since it gives them cover from Israeli surveillance as to the location of the attack. As I mentioned earlier, the party doesn't really get started until now and it was in full swing. The DJ's got progressively better as the day went on, and we got no sleep, and stayed out having a great time until we left around 3pm to return to Tel Aviv.

I have to say that this experience, was one of the craziest and most amazing I've had since I've been there. If you have a sense of adventure, this is right up your alley.


  1. No attack from the Gazan's? What about the Heridi? Purchase any blood diamonds? Human Trafficking?

    1. I am not sure exactly what your point is here ... this is very vague, wish to clarify?

  2. Hey there, i was googling desert rave in negev and landed on your post.
    Very very cool, it pumped me up to go to one when i arrive to Israel in a week's time.
    I've been told that these raves not only happen on Purim or other special events, but are weekly events. I'd love to go to one on Friday 19 July, but as i am not a local and am not there yet, i fear not finding the place...
    Maybe you'd be able to help me?
    If you have any advice, or by some miracle are going to one on that date, please contact me: mishaman (at) maisonblu (dot) com

    By the way, my name is Misha and i also have a blog 
    please check it out!


  3. Just like Misha, I'm going to go to tel aviv tomorrow and I'm not local. Could you recommend me some parties like this before 1 of Jan.? It is not easy to find them, if you don't live there.thnx

    1. Hey,

      My advice is to ask around. I only am in the know about parties I plan on going to. I won't be going to next Purim, sorry. Just ask around where they're selling tickets to "global warming" or "TFN". The parties start really picking up around Purim though so this isn't the best time.