Tel Aviv is cosmopolitan, vibrant and innovative and thousands flock there every year to enjoy its buzzing nightlife, music, arts, fashion and food.
TLV in LDN, a four-day celebration of this unique metropolis arrives in the UK capital, from 8 to 11 September. Festival chairman Marc Worth, 56, is the co-founder of World Global Style Network, a fashion trend forecaster, and CEO of Stylus Media.
He serves on the Board of UK Israel Business, having previously chaired the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and lives in London and is married with four children.
What prompted the idea for TLV in LDN?
The original idea came from Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London, in 2014, in response to the row between the Tricycle Theatre and the UK Jewish Film Festival over funding. Johnson suggested to then ambassador Daniel Taub that to build bridges, perhaps we could have a cultural festival that links the two countries.
About a year later, I was asked by the Israeli embassy if I could help out a small-scale festival. I think their idea of putting on a festival and my idea of putting on a much larger event were very different! But I believe if you are going to do it, then you do it properly.
Has your role as festival director proved challenging?
It has certainly taken over my life for the past two years! But this role combines several passions; I’m very passionate about Israel and showing the full diversity Israel has to
offer. I have always supported the cultural and creative landscape, and I am also a big fan of Tel Aviv, so it’s a huge honour to be directing this festival. Really, it is.
Why do you feel it’s important to showcase Tel Aviv culture in London?
I think the non-Jewish public, or the public that doesn’t engage with Israel, can’t appreciate or know what Israel has to offer. As chair of UK Israel Business, when I used to take groups out to Israel, it was interesting to see that what people expected and what they experienced were two very different things. They thought they would be walking into a war zone, but would come back feeling that Israel is an amazing place, in terms of its culture, vibe and excitement.
A considerable number within the Jewish community have the same issue. I believe there is a missing generation that has an affinity with Israel and we should reach out to them as well.
Tel Aviv and London also share many similarities in spirit and culture. Both are diverse, multicultural, tolerant and creative cities.
Why Tel Aviv and not other cities?
Tel Aviv has so much to offer, including nightlife, beaches, food, museums and art. I want the British public to experience a little bit of Tel Aviv in London, jump on a plane and see it for themselves. Tel Aviv is where it all happens.
Can you tell us about the festival line-up?
I wanted to target different age groups and demographics, so we could hopefully offer something for everyone and give a true taste and flavour for Tel Aviv. For the 18 to 30 age group, one of our headliners is tech trance group Infected Mushroom and we also have top house DJ Guy Gerber.
Tel Aviv has one of the largest gay communities in the world, so we have a big LGBT party, where Dana International will be performing.
We are staging the Women Power concert, which features performances from four incredibly talented Israeli female artists, all with very unique backgrounds. They include Ester Rada, Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad, Yemenite band A-WA and singer Marina Maximilian.
There will be a free, two-day food and wine festival at the Roundhouse with performers, and featuring celebrity chef Shaul Ben-Aderet.
We are also hosting a day of workshops and cookery demonstrations for 450 pupils from Jewish and non-Jewish schools.
I’m keen to see Pianomania at Cadogan Hall, because it will be exceptional – three grand pianos playing the classics with a modern interpretation is something you don’t often see.