Saudi entertainment body sets ‘sweet spot’ concert ticket prices

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Aziz, works at a local law firm and is also studying, excited about attending the first-ever Yanni concert in Jeddah. (AN photo)
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Anmar Khurais pleased to be part of the audience at the grand event. (AN photo)
Updated 04 December 2017
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Saudi entertainment body sets ‘sweet spot’ concert ticket prices

JEDDAH: The General Entertainment Authority (GEA), a recently established entity on the local Saudi scene, is trying its best to accommodate local venues with international stars at reasonable prices for the audiences.
The GEA sponsored a concert with the Greek performer Yanni last Thursday and Friday in Jeddah, and it was a blast, merging Saudis and expats, young and old; all came together to enjoy the world-class music.
Both of Yanni’s Jeddah shows were sold out, with tickets ranging from SR200 ($53), SR350 and SR600, while VIP tickets cost SR900.
Duaa Badr, a 26-year-old Syrian who has lived in Saudi most her life, told Arab News that she was really excited about what’s now happening in Saudi Arabia. “All these concerts and events, we’re doing things we used to travel to do,” said Badr, who occupied a Zone C seat and thought her ticket was reasonably priced.
“I expected a successful show; people attending are music lovers and it’s great to take part in it.”
On a different note, Mostafa Al-Shaqi, a 57-year-old consultant doctor, spoke to Arab News as he waited for his wife in the VIP lounge. “This is only the start of something great and we can expect even more at the great King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).”
“This exceeded my expectations,” added Anmar Khurais, a 36-year-old freelancer who went along to say: “A Yanni concert is so far-sighted and something I’d assumed to be way out of reach. VIP tickets prices were reasonable when compared to other countries.”
Nisreen Hamdan from Jordan commended the GEA’s choice for bringing Yanni to Jeddah: “It’s a transcendence,” she said. “Such a successful concert, organizers did an amazing job and I hope we see more shows of this caliber in the future.”
Ibrahim from Syria traveled all the way from Madinah to attend the concert. “I’ve been a Yanni fan since I was 15 years old,” he told Arab News. “It’s been a dream of mine to see him live. It’s my first concert ever and I’m so happy I experienced it,” he added, from a second row seat that cost him less than a nice meal at a fancy Jeddah restaurant.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”