Jacob's Ladder to Turn 30 Next Month

3,000 music lovers expected to join the celebration at 'Anglo Mimouna'

Daphna Berman
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Daphna Berman

Jacob's Ladder, the annual music event fondly known as the Anglo Mimouna, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 12-13.

Featuring folk music ranging from bluegrass to country rock and blues to renaissance, the event - which began three decades ago with just a few hundred participants - is expected to draw some 3,000 music lovers from around the country for a weekend at Nof Ginossar on the Kinneret.

This year's guests from abroad include, among others, the American band Work O' The Weavers, Irish songwriter Tommy Sands and Indian-American performer Madhumita Chakrabartti.

Workshops on square dancing, whistling and country line dancing will also be offered, together with children's shows, yoga and story-telling sessions. A "folk style" Kabbalat Shabbat will take place Friday evening.

"We never thought about how long it would go for, but it's become so important to us that whatever happens, we'll keep the festival going," said Yehudit Vinegrad, who together with her husband Menachem, has organized Jacob's Ladder since its inception.

"We started something very amateur that we would just throw together, with all the signs done by hand and just a few volunteers. Up until a few years ago, we and the children would hang up all the signs and put everything together. But it's gotten to the point where we just need to have help because the festival has become so large.

"Over the years, our audience has grown older and the people who have followed us throughout the years, together with the first and second generation, demanded higher standards," Vinegrad said.

Throughout the music weekend, an exhibition celebrating Jacob Ladder's 30-year anniversary will be on display, with old posters, newspaper cuttings from the past and a collection of festival T-shirts from over the years.

Menachem and Yehudit Vinegrad immigrated from England and settled in Kibbutz Machanayim in 1967, where they were soon joined by other British and American newcomers who missed the folk and protest music from back home.

The Jacob's Ladder Folk Club was born and soon gave way to the Jacob's Ladder Festival. The name is based on a combination of Kibbutz Machanayim's connection to the biblical story of Jacob, as well as the fact that the word "ladder" in Hebrew, sulam, also refers to a musical scale.

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