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Stars such as Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, A$AP Rocky and David Guetta performed in Jeddah for the recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
By James Hanley on 15 Dec 2021
The number of concerts held in Saudi Arabia each year is set to rise by up to 600% on pre-pandemic levels, according to the kingdom’s assistant minister for tourism.
International superstars including Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, A$AP Rocky and David Guetta performed in Jeddah for the post-race concerts after the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this month. A series of events are also taking place as part of Riyadh Season, which runs from October to March, and features the likes of Pitbull.
Speaking at MDLBeast’s inaugural XP Music Conference, which concludes today in the capital city of Riyadh, Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al Saud discussed the region’s potential as a live events destination.
Where we had 101 concerts in Saudi Arabia in 2019, we are looking at increasing that number by 500 or 600% from 2022 on
“People used to travel for nature, and then they started to travel for culture and now it’s about lifestyle,” she said, as reported by the National News. “It’s about meeting other like-minded people from across the globe and sharing what they are passionate about. The creative industries, such as music, is at the very heart of that.
“You are talking about 25% of the UK and US population, pre-Covid-19, of course, travelling to attend at least one music festival a year. This tells you where the world is shifting and where it is growing. So where we had 101 concerts in Saudi Arabia in 2019, before the pandemic, we are looking at increasing that number by 500 or 600% from 2022 on.”
Princess Haifa recalled her time working on the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in 2018, which included a three-day, 60,000-cap. music event featuring acts such as Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta, OneRepublic and The Black Eyed Peas.
“That event made us realise that there is an appetite both locally and internationally to experience Saudi Arabia and for Saudis to experience their own country,” she said.
While acknowledging the music scene was currently being “supercharged” by government bodies such as the General Entertainment Authority, she shared her hopes that in time, most events will be initiated by the private sector and Saudi creative communities.
“Because we are kick-starting and opening something that is an absolutely green field, there are a lot of regulatory reforms that need to accompany all these developing industries,” she said. “So this is why the government is playing a more proactive role at present while [understanding] there is a need for organic growth.”
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