For four days in September, the best of Tel Aviv – Israel’s buzzing cultural capital – will be showcased in central London thanks to TLV in LDN, a free festival of food, music and art directed by Stylus founder and CEO Marc Worth.
He gave us a sneak peek of the performers’ line up, explained why Tel Aviv is so special (and how it isn’t necessarily what people think it is), and revealed which event he’s looking forward to the most.
So Marc, what inspired you to get involved in TLV in LDN?
“I actually got asked by the Israeli embassy in London. They wanted to know if I could help with the project, which had been proposed by Boris Johnson when he was mayor. He had wanted to have some kind of cultural exchange between Israel and the UK.
“After a short while I got asked to run it rather than just help. With my varied interests and my involvement in Israel, and because I love the creative industries, I thought: ‘Yeah, why not?’”
What is it about Tel Aviv that makes it worth showcasing?
“I’ve been going to Tel Aviv for years, since I was a kid. The city, and Israel generally, has changed so much since then – and is continuing to change. It’s such an exciting place to be.
“And it’s really not what many people imagine it to be. A lot of people have this preconceived idea that they’d be walking into a warzone, and that there are rockets flying about. But it’s really not like that at all.
“Tel Aviv is buzzing. It has so much energy, so much life. It’s like New York in that it’s a city that never sleeps. It’s young – while it does have its issues, the public there just don’t worry about them.
“This means there’s a real air of positivity, which probably explains why it’s so innovative. Tel Aviv is arguably better known for its tech and start-up scene, but its positivity and energy is now transcending into the cultural arena.
“The whole purpose of TLV in LDN is to bring a little bit of Israel to London, to let people experience it a little bit. We want people to feel inspired to get on a plane to Tel Aviv, explore the city, then come back and tell their pals how amazing it is.”
How many people are you expecting to attend?
“I’m hoping for somewhere in the region of 16,000 to 20,000. Each of the gigs at the Roundhouse will have just over 2,000 people. The Tel Aviv Beach Party at The Coronet in Elephant and Castle will have another 2,000, and I’m hoping we’ll have as many as 3,000 for the Food & Drink Festival on Saturday and Sunday.”
Is TLV in LDN family-friendly?
“Yes, 100%. All day on Saturday and Sunday there’ll be workshops on things like chocolate making and baking, plus dancing and drumming classes – so it’s not just a food and wine festival.
“The festival is free – people just need register online for tickets and download them. And everyone coming gets a free token for some food.”
Which events are you looking forward to the most?
“Hmm, the Infected Mushroom and Guy Gerber events on the Friday and Saturday nights aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I’ll certainly be there! On the Friday we’ve got a school curriculum enrichment day, which I think will be amazing.
“The Women Power concert on Sunday night is going to be great with its four really strong performers. But I think the event I’m most excited about is Piano Mania at Cadogan Hall on Sunday evening. Three world-class jazz and concert pianists will play alongside singer Marina Maximilian, so it should be fantastic.”