The Arad Rock Festival will open in the southern city tonight, for the first time since 1995, when three teenagers were crushed to death in a stampede.
The event, sponsored by cell phone provider Cellcom, will host more than 30 concerts over three days, some free of charge and some costing NIS 35 to 50.
Acts confirmed for the festival include veteran rocker Shalom Hanoch, as well as Alma Zohar, Ninette, Aviv Geffen, Ivri Lider, Keren Peles, Arkadi Duchin, Asaf Avidan and others.
The festival is going ahead despite almost none of the conclusions from the investigation of the 1995 tragedy being implemented. Government decisions were not applied, and the Performances Licensing Act, written in the aftermath, was never submitted to the Knesset. The updated licensing regulations, written soon afterwards, are considered to be little more than guidelines, and the police refuse to enforce them.
Meanwhile, the Israeli firefighters association has been on partial strike, and will not be on hand at the festival - expected to draw 30,000 people, mostly teenagers.
"By law, the producers have to adhere to conditions put forward by the police and firefighting services. This won't be happening, and it's outrageous," said Boaz Rakia, the organization's spokesperson. He said no other private or public organization can replace trained firefighting teams.
Four camping sites will be set up around the city, equipped with changing rooms, toilets, water taps and secured by police, private security, and Magen David Adom. Information and storage services will also be available, and the festival administration is suggesting people dress warmly.
Special buses will be leaving from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and other cities for the event.
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