Dead Sea to come alive with concert by electro pioneer

Jerusalem (AFP) - The Dead Sea was to come alive with music and an extravagant light show Thursday with a concert by electro pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre to draw attention to its shrinking water levels.

Jarre was set to take the stage in front of the ancient Masada fortress next to the Dead Sea late Thursday for a show that will include a range of performers and stretch into the wee hours of Friday.

He told AFP in an interview this week that he hoped the concert would contribute to "the resistance against all the Trumps of the world" -- referring to what he sees as US President Donald Trump's anti-environmental stance.

Jarre, who first shot to fame in the 1970s in his native France and became an influential figure in electronic music, is to perform for a second time later at the all-night concert.

Other artists are to include Israeli psychedelic trance duo Astral Projection and Canadian DJ Marco Grenier, who posted on Facebook that he was looking forward to meeting "electronic music fans on the land where God himself walked among us."

DJ Ravin of Paris's iconic Buddha-Bar was also due to perform.

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 the Masada fortress in the first century BC on a rocky outcrop 430 meters (1,290 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.

- 'Belongs to humanity' -

Jarre, 68, is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which in 2002 designated Masada a world heritage site.

The Dead Sea -- actually a lake -- is shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

It is the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world and 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.

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.

For this concert, he opted for an "intimate" setting, with only 10,000 tickets available.

A film of the concert will also be made available online later this year.

"This region belongs to humanity," Jarre said this week. "It involves all of us from a human point of view. We must do our utmost to preserve this place."