After Facebook Campaign: Tel Aviv to Pay Young Bands That Play at White Night

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality has decided to grant a 'symbolic' pay to lesser-known bands performing at its annual White Night event, after musicians criticized its original intention online.

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The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality has decided it will pay the young bands scheduled to perform at the annual White Night event, scheduled for next week.

Initially, the municipality's policy was that the bands would be satisfied to only receive the public exposure, however a protest launched on Facebook by the musicians convinced it otherwise.

The municipality, which organizes the White Night, announced in the wake of the online protest that the five bands chosen to perform on the Young Band Stage stage would receive a "symbolic sum" of NIS 700.

White Night will take place this year on Thursday June 28, for the ninth year in a tow. The White Night tradition began following UNESCO's decision to recognize a part of Tel Aviv as the "White City" and award it the status of an international site of cultural heritage.

The event hosts dozens of musical, dance and theatrical performances, art fairs, yoga classes, Israeli folk dancing, nightclub parties, tours, and many other, - mostly free - events. Needless to say, all events take place throughout the night.

The Facebook protest

The campaign on Facebook began last week, when musician Ilan Green created a group called 'We Want a Music Law'. Some 1,800 artists, musicians and members of the music industry joined the group within less than a week.

Discussion in the group soon revolved around the initiative taken by the municipality to invite young bands to compete for the privilege to perform on the Young Band Stage during the White Night. The members of the group were particularly ired by the fact that the municipality was not planning to pay these five bands, while the other, well-known musicians, would receive compensation for their performance.

The group felt that the municipality found a way to get these musicians to play for free, assuming young bands would be glad only to receive the media and public exposure.

"Why shouldn't they pay," Green asked. "Because they found an ingenious solution. The bands would fight among themselves for the 'privilege' to perform, while the municipality benefits twice – it receives free publicity and free music."

Green urged members of the group to contact the municipality and demand that even the less-known bands would be compensated.

"Dozens of artists will be performing at the White Night events, accompanied with dozens of musicians who are getting paid for participating," the municipality said in response.

According to the municipality, it is the musicians themselves asking to perform.

"The municipality received many requests from young bands asking for a public stage to perform throughout the night, and in an attempt to encourage original initiatives it was decided to designate a compound where young bands will be given a chance to receive a wide public and media exposure."

The municipality added that the event includes over one hundred performances at a budget of NIS 1.4 million.

Over the years, the event attracted thousands of people from all over Israel. Last year, other Israeli cities have decided to hold similar White Night events.

Read this article in Hebrew

The band Boogie Balagan performing on a stage at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard as part of the annual White Night event, July 3, 2008.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
White Night on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.Credit: Motti Kimche

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