Mitzpeh Ramon
A view from Miztpeh Ramon. Now imagine music playing in the background. Photo by Haim Taragan
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Mitzpeh Ramon is a small town by a large crater surrounded by naked desert that has become quite the mecca for tourists in the Negev: This week it features a feast for the ears, following last week’s treat for the eyes – town hall turned off the night lights so people could watch the Perseid meteor shower.

For two days this week, the desert town is hosting the second annual Intimidbar festival, which aims to cultivate uniquely “intimate” encounters between musicians of different stripes and sounds and their audiences.

The festival runs from August 22-23 in the city’s Spice Route Quarter, a somewhat industrial area that has been developing of late. The Mitzpe Ramon Jazz Club calls this area home, as does the Adama dance company and school. For the festival, it will transform itself into a musical quarter inspired by New Orleans, hosting performances from noon until the wee hours of the morning.

On the roster of some 30 events: Special guest Mississippi blues artist L.C. Ulmer comes to town for two gigs; Boom Pam performs with various musical sidekicks; and Israeli singer Alma Zohar kicks off the festivities.

This year, the festival organizers said they wanted to spotlight artists who live and work in Mitzpeh Ramon, and those innovators will present their musical, theatrical and artistic creations. The festival includes an arts and crafts market, acting workshops, improvisation classes and yoga, film screenings and children’s activities. Local tour agencies plan to line up special trips and events as well. The desert never seemed so alive.

For all the details, go to www.intimidbar.co.il or call (08) 659-6222.