RIYADH: All the hype surrounding Formula E sent a wave of excitement through the streets that you could sense as you approached the Allianz E-Village, an electronic village with reality toys galore that will take you to the another world. Thrilled visitors who had come early had the advantage of avoiding the crowds and the busy queues as they paced their way through the village.
The Formula E-Prix took up the whole of Ad Diriyah, a family zone and cultural village. The best way to move around was by one of the many buses that transports visitors to the security checks.
On the ride to the cultural village at dusk you could see the place all lit up with twinkling fairy lights. It was magical and beautiful. One person on the bus gushed at the beauty of it, the mixing of the old and the new, the cultural and the technological.
“In my day everything was open; we had cinemas and foreigners walked around without abayas. This reminds me of the old days. I’m very happy that we have this again. This is normal life. It’s nice to go back to that,” Um Faisal, a Saudi citizen said from the crowd.
People were dancing in the crowds singing to the lyrics, and once the DJ stopped the music you could hear the crowds scream with excitement.
“This is ridiculous!” was overheard from one concert-goer who was watching the show. The huge crowd was jumping up and down to the beat. There were no limits to age, gender or race; everyone participated.
First-time concert-goer Yara Saud, an 18-year-old college student, had been waiting for this event since it was announced. Being a huge fan of Jason Derulo, she said: “I can’t believe that I’m attending my favorite artist’s concert in my home town. This is Crazy!”
“Saudi whassap. This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” said Jason Derulo.
As a special treat for his Saudi audience he gave the first performance of a new song, stating on the stage that his mother taught him to never visit empty handed: This was his gift to Saudi Arabia.
It was truly a night to remember as for the first time in Saudi Arabia we could witness the people of Saudi mingling, dancing, singing and enjoying themselves in a huge outdoor area.