Saturday, May 28th | 28 Iyyar 5782

August 1, 2017 12:08 pm

Camping Trip Boasts Top Jewish Talent — and Jewish Unity

avatar by Alan Zeitlin


A photo from a previous camping trip, which will be held again this year in Sullivan County, New York. Photo: Provided.

This weekend, hundreds of fans of great music and the outdoors will head to Sullivan County, New York, for what has been dubbed “The Jewish Woodstock.” The camping trip, organized by Ian Leifer, will feature a star-studded musical lineup.

Saturday night and Sunday shows will feature Matisyahu — who will perform songs from his new album, Undercurrent — as well as Yehuda Solomon, Soulfarm, Zusha, Kosha Dillz and Levi Robin.

“It was just an awesome experience,” said Yehuda Solomon — the frontman of Moshav — who performed at the event last summer. “I led a Carlebach Kabbalat Shabbat. What I liked about it was [that] there was just about every type of Jew there — from Chabad and Hasidic, to the most secular, non-observant Jew. But everybody came together, and it was an amazing experience singing and dancing under the stars in an open field. … It was the closest thing to a mini-Jewish Woodstock.”

Solomon’s brother, Noah, the lead singer of Soulfarm, said that he is also looking forward to performing in front of a large crowd outdoors. “It’s how music was meant to be played,” he said.

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Known for an animal-like call and response — where he shouts a noise and the crowd answers — the singer was asked what would happen if real animals in the wild,respond to his chants. “I hope they do,” he said.

The band Zusha, which has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, drops its new album, A Colorful World, in September. Zusha’s lead singer, Shlomo Gaisin, echoed Moshav Solomon’s thoughts about the diversity of Jews who attend the event.

“The Camping Trip is a place where you have a cholent of Jews,” Gaisin said. “You have all different types. The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of loshon hara — because people were judging other people. This [event] breaks down the walls and barriers” between people, he said.

Rapper Kosha Dillz, whose real name is Rami Matan Even-Esh, said that he will be debuting some songs as The Camping Trip. He is in the middle of a tour, and will also join Moshav at a Highline Ballroom show on August 7.

“Typically, festivals [start on] Friday, but since this has a Jewish twist of Shabbat, Sunday will be [a] really strong day,” he said.

Attendees at the music event have the option of pre-purchasing ready-made tents, as well as kosher meals.

Ahron Moeller, who will perform with his group Blanket Statementstein, said that the festival’s environment is unique and memorable. “The Shabbos serenity really helps with the build-up of three weeks of no live music and then a whole day,” he said. “By the time the acts hit the stage, the audience is seething.”

Event organizer Ian Laifer said that since many of the groups have performed with each other, collaborations and one-of-a kind performances can be expected. Leifer also said that his parents were the inspiration for The Camping Trip. His father, a musician who loved to perform, passed away and would have loved to see this event.

“My dad used to play harmonica with the bassist for Jimi Hendrix,” Leifer told me. “He went to Woodstock when he was 17, but he told me he didn’t remember much about it. I did this to honor his memory. My mother encouraged me to make it a Shabbat event so that there would be an eruv, a Sefer Torah and kosher meals available. She thought that it would be something special because there’s nothing else like this. This is definitely a time where [Jewish] unity is needed.”

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