Jazzing up the Kingdom: Music fest planned as reforms take hold

Saudi Arabian singer Rashed Al-Majed peforms during a concert in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 October 2017
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Jazzing up the Kingdom: Music fest planned as reforms take hold

RIYADH: A Saudi Arabian industrial zone plans to host a jazz festival around the end of this year as it moves into tourism and entertainment, a result of economic reforms designed to end the Kingdom’s reliance on oil exports.
In January, Jeddah hosted Saudi Arabia’s first major public concert in over a decade, featuring Arab music.
Reforms launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are changing the business environment. The crown prince has identified tourism and entertainment as key industries to develop because of their potential to create jobs.
Fahd Al-Rasheed, group chief executive of Emaar the Economic City (EEC), which is developing the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on the Red Sea coast near Jeddah, said he aimed to have foreign musicians perform at the jazz festival.
Al-Rasheed said it was not clear whether current visa rules would permit a large foreign audience at the festival, but predicted heavy demand for tickets among Saudi citizens.
“There is a huge, untapped demand for events and cultural performances like this,” he said in an interview on Wednesday on the sidelines of an international conference promoting Saudi Arabia as an investment destination.
The jazz plan underlines a shift of emphasis at KAEC since the crown prince started his reforms last year.


FaceOf: Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Hajj Security Forces

Updated 19 August 2018
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FaceOf: Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Hajj Security Forces

Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi has been serving as the commander of Special Emergency Forces and commander of the Hajj Security Forces since July 2017.

He graduated from King Fahd Security College in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in security sciences. After his graduation, he joined the Emergency Forces for the Madinah region. He worked in different departments of the forces and held different positions, including company commander, battalion commander, the commander of the recruitment and training center and the operations manager. 

Subsequently, Al-Harbi was promoted as the force commander for Madinah city. In 2006, he was appointed as the operations director at the Saudi Special Emergency Forces headquarters. He was later promoted as the commander of the Special Emergency Forces in 2010. 

He completed several courses on different areas of security sciences in Saudi Arabia and from different institutions in the UK, France, Egypt, Indonesia and China. The courses pertained to combating terrorism, special operations, riot control, and security leadership. 

He participated in many counterterrorism operations. 

Al-Harbi also has extensive experience in the organization and management of Hajj and Umrah seasons in Makkah and Madinah. He has contributed in laying the foundations plans of crowd management and organization in Jamarat during Hajj. 

On Friday, he visited  the “Kafa” exhibition held in Makkah. The event was organized by the Kafa Anti-Smoking Association to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and drugs. The association offers its services to pilgrims who wish to quit smoking and spreads awareness among them.  “Kafa” annually organizes campaigns and programs during the Hajj season to educate pilgrims about the dangers of smoking, and they reportedly treated about 500 pilgrims in Mina last year.