Saudi’s Jeddah Fest secures 50 Cent, Janet Jackson
Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever music festival, Jeddah World Fest, is taking place today (18 July), with the last-minute additions of Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown and Future.
The artists will perform alongside Liam Payne, Steve Aoki and Tyga at the 63,241-capacity King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah.
The newly added acts replace rapper Nicki Minaj, who cancelled her appearance at the sold-out music festival last week, following pressure from human rights organisations.
The president of the Human Rights Foundation – the principle organisation urging acts to boycott shows in Saudi Arabia – says it is “profoundly distressing that they [the artists] have chosen money over morals.”
“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached”
“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached,” Halvorssen told the Associated Press.
Jeddah World Fest is part of the Saudi government’s campaign to open up the live entertainment market, following a US$2.7 billion investment in the sector in 2017.
K-pop stars BTS were the latest act to add the country to their touring schedule, announcing an October show in Riyadh. Mariah Carey, Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas and Tiesto are among international acts to have recently played in the country.
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Janet Jackson postpones world tour again
Janet Jackson has once again postponed her ill-fated Live Nation-backed Unbreakable world tour – this time to have a baby.
In a video message, the 49-year-old singer revealed that she and her husband, Qatari entrepreneur Wissam Al Mana, are “planning our family”. “I’m gonna have to delay the tour,” she explained, “[so] please, if you can, try and understand that it’s important that I do this now. I have to rest up –doctor’s orders.”
The Unbreakable tour, which began in Vancouver last August, was due to relaunch on 14 May in Last Vegas after a spring European leg of the tour was cancelled last month without explanation (although it was speculated that poor ticket sales were to blame) less than two weeks before Jackson was due to appear in Birmingham. In October she cancelled a show in Las Vegas to rest her vocal chords – doctor’s orders again – and in December postponed a string of US dates to undergo unspecified emergency surgery.
In the video Jackson also thanks Live Nation and promises fans: “I have not forgotten about you. I will continue to tour as soon as I possibly can.”