RIYAD: Just like that, the second edition of the MDLBeast Soundstorm festival ended with a bang on Sunday night in Riyadh. The EDM event, which kicked off Thursday, brought music lovers together for four nights of non-stop entertainment, dancing and electronic tunes.
Festival-goers dressed in bandanas came from all parts of the world to enjoy a spectacular and diverse program. Local talent shared the bill with internationally renowned DJs such as Afrojack, Benny Bennassi and Tiesto; Arab superstars, including Wael Kfoury, Nancy Ajram and Elissa; and regional artists, namely Dish Dash, Cosmicat and Saud.
Following a pandemic-induced cancellation in 2020, MDL Beast made it clear that they wanted to make up for lost time, as this year’s event was bigger and better than the first SOUNDSTORM festival in 2019.
Creative Director Ahmad Alammary, also known as Saudi DJ Baloo, told Arab News: âWe work with a lot of passion, because it’s music, and music really inspires a lot of love. It’s exciting to work in a creative field, but even more exciting to spread joy. Working creatively to spread joy is the perfect combination of ingredients.
Over half a million people attended the festival, overtaking Tomorrowland, making it the largest music festival in the world.
“The venue blew me away how big and amazing it was,” said Prince Saud Al-Saud, 25, of Jeddah, who attended the event with his sister, Deema. âI also felt like I was outside of Saudi Arabia. We really have the impression that he can compete with Tomorrowland, âhe added.
âThe music was amazing and it was amazing to see so many people having fun. The only negative was the amount of walking we had to do to reach the place. In addition, I would like to highlight the behavior of some of the participants. It was appalling and shameful to see.
Daoud Tabibzada, 28, from Dubai to attend, told Arab News: âThe festival was nothing like what I expected. From the setup of the festival to the different types of artists that were booked, it really took me by surprise. I loved the production and the performances. The crowds were rowdy at times, but that was to be expected at a music festival. I was really looking forward to Future’s set, but unfortunately I missed it. However, Martin Garrix really made up for it. Overall, I would love to attend MDL Beast again next year, âhe added.
âTo be honest, I have attended several festivals in my life outside of Saudi Arabia and I could say this one was in my top three,â said Widad Taleb, a 24-year-old from Beirut. âThe atmosphere was cheerful and positive, the food was excellent and even the staff on the ground were extremely helpful.
In addition to more stages – the first event had six while this year has eight, including the Big Beast stage which broke the Guinness World Record – the SOUNDSTORM 2021 festival offered more dining options and seats from parking, as well as enhanced security following sexual disorders. allegations of harassment by participants in 2019.
This year, the festival presented âRespect & Resetâ, an anti-harassment initiative aimed at creating a safe and respectable environment for all participants and to make it easier for guests to report abuse and harassment.
âThey should have cut tickets for women more, so there would be at least a 40:60 ratio. Because of all the harassment rumors, a lot of women were afraid to come, even though I didn’t experience such a thing, âTaleb said.
The festival got off to a rough start on day one, with many festival-goers stranded in the middle of the Banban Desert after the shuttles intended to transport participants to and from the venue ceased to operate.
But organizers made sure to fully compensate ticket holders by increasing parking and replacing incentive transportation with on-site parking for all ticket categories for the next three days, ensuring a smooth experience.
And for ticket categories, music lovers had three options to choose from, in addition to exclusive VIP boxes and table service.
“Storm Chaser” tickets offered general admission to the field, while “Storm Blazer” offered additional perks, such as on-site parking and access to the Golden Circle on the main stage.
Meanwhile, ‘VIB’ ticket holders were given access to an exclusive VIP area featuring lounges, dance floors, varied dining options, live dance performances, shisha, and close-up views of the city. Big Beast, the tallest and largest stage in the world.
Throughout the four days, the Big Beast hosted a spectacular lineup of some of the world’s most famous musicians and DJs, including Tiesto, Martin Garrix, Future, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Steve Aoki, Jason Derulo and the DJ Swedish Alesso, who closed the event with an energizing performance that kept festival-goers dancing until the early hours of Monday morning. The Big Beast has not only brought together some of the biggest international names in music on one stage, but also beloved Arab stars such as Amr Diab, Balqees Fathi, Tamer Hosny and Myriam Fares, to name a few. -a.
In addition to Big Beast, the SOUNDSTORM 2021 festival featured an enclosed tent containing an incredibly charged EDM atmosphere called Dance Beast and the Underground Zone, which catered to those who prefer a little less mainstream music.
For those looking for a quick respite from electronic beats, the MDLTOWN section of the festival site had a selection of art galleries and clothing boutiques to browse, including BANI BEAST from MDLBEAST, the Kingdom’s premier festival clothing brand. .
Cosmetics retailer Sephora also opened a boutique for attendees looking to apply makeup for the festival or those who just needed to touch up their glitter.
âI didn’t expect what I saw at all, to be frank. It was as if Riyadh was turning into a beautiful hot spot, because I felt like a tourist in the country where I reside. I expected a more limited experience, but my friends and I had the most fun. It definitely exceeded my expectations, âTaleb said.
Echoing her statement, Dubai-based Sonia Al-Sowaiegh, 26, said: âAs a Saudi woman, I am so proud of how far we have come. Having so many people celebrating music together makes me so happy to see. “
Unimaginable a few years ago in the Kingdom, the second edition of SOUNDSTORM by MDL Beast is proof of the success of the rapid cultural reforms inaugurated by Vision 2030. Now, Saudi music lovers no longer need to take an international flight to experience it. experience performances of their favorite artists.