The ninth annual Atlanta Jewish Music Festival ended its three-week medley Sunday, March 25, giving the staff and volunteers a chance to catch their breath after producing, promoting and applauding more than 30 shows in the South’s largest Jewish music fest.
“AJMF9 was wildly successful,” festival Executive Director Russell Gottschalk said. “This year’s fest exceeded expectations with new collaborations and our longest-ever artist residency.”
The festival attracted its largest audience ever with approximately 6,350 attendees during the three weeks.
Festival organizers point to the variety of talent in the festival as the key to its success. This year’s lineup included hip-hop, folk, world music, jazz and rock along with more traditional Jewish genres such as klezmer and sacred music.
Philadelphia-based folk singer Chana Rothman entertained audience members ages 4 to 74 during AJMF’s longest musical residency. Rothman did seven events over four days, including leading tots in Shabbat songs, shooting a music video with teens from the Weber School and rocking the stage at Venkman’s.
This was also the first year AJMF significantly partnered with the non-Jewish Atlanta Science Festival. Shimon the robot from Georgia Tech showcased its computerized musical genius in an opening night performance that left crowds in awe.
AJMF’s second annual collaboration with non-Jewish organization ATL Collective attracted hundreds of fans to two shows re-creating Billy Joel’s classic album “The Stranger.”
Gottschalk said he is especially proud of the success of Israeli musicians.
On consecutive Sundays, Israeli band Yemen Blues sold out the Breman Museum, and Yemenite funk band Bint El Funk rocked a beautiful afternoon at Orpheus Brewing. Both groups had their audiences dancing and cheering.
“This was a fantastic year to celebrate Israel as the nation approaches its 70th birthday,” Gottschalk said. “Both our Sunday afternoon shows by Israeli acts were a true celebration of Israeli music and culture.”
In the end, the spring festival encompassed 34 events: 27 public performances and seven private engagements.
“AJMF9 was another wonderful example of the beautiful diversity found in contemporary Jewish music,” Gottschalk said. “I’m proud of the three-weekend festival we produced and want to thank the entire AJMF staff, board and sponsor/donor family for enabling this important series of events for Atlanta’s Jewish and arts communities.”