Saudi Arabia to host Middle East's 'largest music festival'
The festival will take place between 16-19 December next year and is part of an initiative launched by the Spirit of Saudi Arabia project under the tourism ministry, which highlights all tourism activities and events, scheduled to be held during the Saudi winter (from October 2021 until March 2022), according to official SPA.
SPA added that the organisers hope the festival attracts young tourists from the inside, the Gulf and the rest of the world. It will feature around 200 musicians from the Netherlands, New York, Canada, Russia, Florida, and others.
The Kingdom had launched the tourist visa in September of the year 2019, which led to 400,000 visas being issued within 6 months, before approving the suspension of travel and the closure of ports and borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In October, Saudi Arabia opened its first official mixed-gender beach.
The Arab world's largest economy is trying to shed its reputation as an ultraconservative nation with complicated administrative procedures and obsolete regulations.
Since becoming de facto leader in 2017, Prince Mohammed has introduced sweeping economic and social changes, including allowing women to drive, the reopening of cinemas, and permitting mixed-gender music concerts and other entertainment options.
Music was banned in public places until 2017, a measure enforced by the religious police, and women were only allowed to drive a year later.
But simultaneously, the prince launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent and free speech, arresting women activists, clerics and journalists as well as royal family members.