Pioneering electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre has said he wants to use an all-night concert at the Dead Sea to highlight what he sees as the anti-environmental policies of US President Donald Trump.
The French musician, who shot to fame in the 1970s, will perform in front of the ancient Masada fortress in Israel on Thursday in a bid to draw attention to the “urgency of saving the Dead Sea”, he told AFP.
The lake shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, which is the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world, is receding by roughly a metre (three feet) per year.
Experts have warned it is on course to dry out by 2050.
The musician said he wants to “make the world aware” of the danger.
With a youthful look despite his 68 years, he warned of the lack of oxygen in the Dead Sea — an allusion to his best known album “Oxygene”.
Jarre is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which in 2002 designated Masada a world heritage site.
The venue at the foot of the fortress is one of the most stunning sites in the region and the location of a seminal event in Jewish history.
Biblical King Herod built Masada fortress in the first century BC on a rocky outcrop 430 meters (1290 feet) above the Dead Sea.
In 73 AD, Roman troops besieged 960 Jewish Zealots there after they rebelled against the Roman rule of then Palestine, according to a historian of the period, Flavius Joseph.
Instead of allowing themselves to fall captive, they committed collective suicide.
– ‘Aware of the urgency’ –
“I want the Dead Sea, like Masada, to be part of UNESCO’s world heritage,” Jarre said during a pre-show visit to the site.
“This region belongs to humanity,” he said. “It involves all of us from a human point of view. We must do our utmost to preserve this place.”
Jarre has had a prolific output, once producing three albums in a year and a half, and is renowned for large-scale outdoor performances including laser shows and pyrotechnics.
He is a four-time Guinness world record holder for number of spectators, once performing in front of 3.5 million people in Moscow.
But this time he said he wanted an “intimate” concert, out of respect for his surroundings.
The concert will include performances by Israeli and French DJs and musicians, along with two sets by Jarre himself.
The show is to end at sunrise on Friday morning.
Only 10,000 tickets will be available, for between $128 and $767 (120 and 720 euros), said the show’s Israeli artistic director, Alexandra Juran, who will also direct a film of the concert set to be launched on the internet later this year.
Jarre said he hopes to “reach as many people as possible” with his message.
Trump is set to roll back a slew of environmental protection measures implemented under former president Barack Obama, in a bid to untether the US fossil fuel industry.
The move has triggered doubts over the United States’ commitment to global climate accords.
Trump has also given final approval for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada into the United States, reversing Obama’s decision to block it.
“For me, the whole point of this project is to make people aware of the urgency of dealing with the Earth as a whole,” Jarre said.
“The concert will contribute to, I hope, organising the resistance against all the Trumps of the world.”