The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


Saudi singer arrested over festival dab

Abdallah Al Shahani issued an apology after finding himself in hot water for "unintentionally and spontaneously" dabbing at a festival in the city of Taif

By Jon Chapple on 11 Aug 2017


The dab: promoting drug use, apparently

image © City Year

A popular Saudi singer was arrested last weekend for ‘dabbing’ at a music festival.

Abdallah Al Shahani was seized on the orders of the National Committee for Drug Control after a video emerged of him performing the dance move – dropping the head into the crook of a bent arm while extending the other arm straight – which is banned in Saudi Arabia for its supposed links to drug culture.

According to Saudi daily Okaz, the committee’s secretary-general, Abdul-Ella Al-Sharif, says the dab is “contrary to the national strategy to combat drugs”, and that Al Shahani was arrested the same as anyone who “incites or advocates for abuse of drugs”.

It thought dabbing originated in the Atlanta, Georgia, hip-hop scene in the mid-2010s, and has since been adopted by celebrities, sportspeople, politicians and even royalty.

Al Shahani later used Twitter to apologise, writing: “I apologise to our respected government and to my audience for unintentionally and spontaneously making this dance move at the festival in Taif. Please accept my apology.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

More news

US bars Mexican promoter as ‘drugs trafficke... Gallistica Diamante's Chucho Pérez is not welcome in the US, says the Office of Foreign Assets Control, over alleged money laundering on behalf of...two drugs cartels
Saudi Arabia ‘to host 5,000 live events̵... "Some of the biggest names in global music" are set to play in the reclusive kingdom this year, according to an optimistic General Authority for...Entertainment (GEA)
Saudi govt fund to invest $2.7bn in entertainment A new investment company aims to develop the conservative kingdom's entertainment sector, as it seeks to reduce its dependence on oil revenues
Oz festivalgoer busted – after writing his name on... Queensland police were "surprised" to discover a 21-year-old Maroochydore attendee had sharpied his name and phone number on a bag of MDMA
Four stabbed in brawl at London garage festival Festivalgoers were treated for "stab and slash injuries" after a brawl broke out at Garage Nation Festival in Hainault Forest on Saturday 30 June