Entrepreneurship at a music festival

musicians on stage

Musicians playing at Jacob's Ladder

Every year for the past 37 years, a folk music festival had been held in Israel called Jacob’s Ladder. The founders moved here from England and missed the rich folk music culture so much that they created their own festival.

For the past few years, the festival has been held on the shores of the Kinneret (also known as the Sea of Galilee – you may know of it as the place where Jesus walked on water), on the grounds of Nof Ginosaur hotel, accommodating the 3000 people that now make this annual event a must on their calendar.

Every age group represented at the festival – from tiny babies, young kids, teenagers, 20-somethings, young parents, through to grandparents.

A dad pushing a trolley with the grandpa and grandson riding on it

Jacob's Ladder has all ages of festival goers

About half the festival attendees have Anglo origins, while the rest are all Israeli. You hear a constant mix of Hebrew and English throughout the festival – I give up my struggles with Hebrew for this weekend being so surrounded by English speakers.

Amit and I love the atmosphere at Jacob’s Ladder – it is very relaxed, children are well behaved, and people are generally polite and nice. It is a bubble of our favourite kind of Israelis.

People in chairs on the shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel

Festival goers cooling off in the Kinneret

I love the variety of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, Irish & World music that you are surrounded by at the festival. The spontaneous jam sessions that happen at every hour of the day and night around the festival site are a major highlight for me – it’s such a unique experience to be amongst such musically talented people!

Amit and Jo sitting at a table with Stick Around products

Amit and me at the Stick Around at Jacob's Ladder

This year we decided to have a stand at the festival to sell Stick Around – we figured we would be there anyway, and this would give us something to do, and introduce our product to a whole bunch of new people.

So we set up our little folding table and chairs, and put out our boxes of Stick Around, along with some posters we’d made to attract attention, and some postcards we’d made of Amit’s photographs from the last festival, and waited for the people to come.

Jo with a coffee at the Stick Around stand

Me with my morning coffee, waiting for the early customers

Over the three days of the festival we spoke to hundreds of people about Stick Around – some visitors already spoke 8 languages so it wasn’t so relevant to them, some parents said their kids were still too young, a lot said they were already bilingual, some people offered us business advice and thought of how they could help us, and some teenagers were happy to accept the free stick around stickers to stick on their t-shirts.

We were super excited when one woman bought 6 packets of Stick Around for her relatives in the US.

stick around poster on a garbage bin

Stick Around advertising - we got creative to attract attention

Mostly we learned that it is not that obvious what Stick Around is – it always needs an explanation. People would stare at it for a few moments with a quizzical look on their faces and then we’d pitch in to explain what it was. And then, almost always, we had a little bit of magic in our day.

The visitor would smile and say “What a great idea!”

We heard this hundreds of times, and it was music to our ears.

If you have a product, setting up a stand at a festival or fair is a great way to get immediate feedback. In a place like Israel, people will also want to help you through giving you contacts and distribution ideas, which are turning out to be very helpful.

We thank everyone who visited our little table at Jacob’s Ladder and bought a packet (or six), or said they loved Stick Around. That is why we create, that is why we’re having our year of entrepreneurship. To put something out into the world that people can enjoy.

Amit and Jo sitting at our Stick Around stand

Amit and I enjoying meeting people at our stand for Stick Around


All the photos were taken by Fly on the Wall (and friends).

Jo Savill is a writer, science communicator and entrepreneur. Stay up to date with Jo’s writing by signing up to her newsletter



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