Jeddah’s Entertainment Boulevard attracts more than 1million visitors

Jeddah’s Entertainment Boulevard attracts more than 1million visitors
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Jeddah’s Entertainment Boulevard attracts more than 1million visitors
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Updated 21 January 2018

Jeddah’s Entertainment Boulevard attracts more than 1million visitors

Jeddah’s Entertainment Boulevard attracts more than 1million visitors

JEDDAH: Entertainment Boulevard is in Jeddah after a successful leg in Riyadh during Saudi’s National Day.
The festival, which took place from Jan. 11 to Jan. 20 on Jeddah’s waterfront, is part of the General Entertainment Authority’s (GEA) effort to provide Saudis with activities and events to keep them rooted to the Kingdom during the mid-school year break, and to promote internal tourism.
The carnival-like event attracted more than 1,000,000 visitors five days into its Jeddah leg, and the number has continued to increase by the hour.
The one-square-kilometer space can accommodate up to 400,000 visitors, occupied by six different stages — including the Spanish stage and sailor’s stage, 100 booths and 600 organizers, as well as patrolling police to ensure visitors’ safety.
The event is supported by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the GEA; Luxury KSA organized the event, having run 45 others throughout Saudi Arabia.
The festival brought together a variety of people from all over the Kingdom, accommodating the tastes of all music lovers — from violin covers of famous tunes to house music and DJ remixes of everyone’s favorite song.
The Boulevard includes dazzling lightshows, a dance performance by the Saudi Dance Crew, acrobatic performances, side games for children, as well as 16 food trucks to satisfy the hungry.
During the waterfront event, DJs rocked the main stage, garnering the crowd’s attention with uncharted beats.
Sisters Al-Anoud and Nouf Al-Oufi from Jeddah, who studied their master’s and bachelor’s degrees respectively in San Francisco, spoke to Arab News about their experience at the festival. “I didn’t know such performances were even possible in Saudi Arabia. It was very refreshing to attend. I did notice some people around me were a little reserved, but I enjoyed the performance seeing that it’s a new experience for me in Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Oufi said: “It was really fun. It reminded me and Al-Anoud of San Fransisco; it was an entirely different vibe in Saudi Arabia. The event was well-organized and we had a blast.”
The DJ-ing scene has changed for the better, according to music maverick, Hany Al-Banjary, who used to DJ for Panorama FM.
Al-Banjary told Arab News: “The DJ-ing scene has definitely changed since 2006 for instance; back then you could only make out 5-10 professional DJs. Not to mention, during such times, we could only DJ outside the country or in underground events, private events, ceremonies and occasions.
“Lately, though, when we’re performing publicly, people started taking videos and they look like they’re enjoying themselves — through that you can tell that their outlook has changed, that they’re growing to accept the idea. I remember during an event I did in 2007, some people were offended to hear music playing publicly, so we’ve come a long way since then.”
DJ Hassan Ghazzawi told Arab News: “People have gotten more curious about music. If you recall a few years back, people used to call house music ‘techno,’ but now they are aware there’s deep house, tech house — that there is more than one genre of music. People are getting more involved in music making and what goes on beyond a track — now, when they listen to a song they like, they want to know who the DJ is and what goes on behind the scenes and what synthesizers are being used.”
Hussain Al-Qadi, known as DJ Sain, agreed. “People started to understand the music you’re playing; surely there’s room for improvement and we haven’t fulfilled everything, but this is a dream come true,” he said, describing how he felt about DJs having the opportunity to perform at large-scale events like Entertainment Boulevard.
Sain adds: “The surprising thing to me lately has been the demand for DJs. I’ve had many ask me: ‘Why aren’t you doing anything’ and ‘why aren’t you playing here?’ People want this kind of vibe. DJ Hany and I were the opening act before the Nelly and Cheb Khaled concert, and the atmosphere and vibe during that night was unforgettable. We didn’t expect to perform for such a large crowd; 10,000 people came and listened to us. And even at the Boulevard, when you see all the work and set-up going into it, all of the people there, it’s just phenomenal: a beginning for greater things to come.”
Al-Banjary is discouraged by the rising number of young DJs who are accepting any gig or performance for free, just to make a name for themselves or seek fame.
For others, DJ-ing is a full-time career. “It’s definitely a successful career path, I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years but the younger DJs are going to public and private events for no charge, and we work hard, we compose and bring our own playlist and equipment, and I say we earned our pay. DJ-ing isn’t for fame, it’s a career.”
When facing odd looks and criticism from the public, Al-Banjary said: “Although it’s less pronounced, prejudice against DJs still exists and people retain this bad image about DJs, but DJ-ing is an art, just like any other. I think people need more time to become aware about the DJ culture and to learn how we create music from scratch.”
DJs all over the region have faced criticism that their music is fully Westernized. Al-Banjary rejects this: “We are exchanging cultures through music. You have people on the Western side of the globe Easternizing their tunes to create new sounds. Even in my playlist on radio live shows I try to add an Arabian touch into my mixes, which makes the experience unique to listeners. So, I’d say no, I’m not really helping Westernize my society or their music taste. I’m trying to reflect my own culture to others.”
“I don’t believe music has a certain country or nationality that it belongs to,” DJ Sain adds. “Music is a universal form of art, no matter what you play and the language you speak, people either feel it or they don’t: It’s a sensuous feeling.”
DJ Ghazzawi reflected on his residency in London, Italy and Egypt. With his brother they form Dish Dash, and they are two of the most influential DJs in the country.
“We still play with an Arabic twist no matter where we are; we still portray our heritage through an oriental sound. The genre we play isn’t really Arabic — it’s deep house and techno. When we perform outside Saudi, people enjoy our sets because they’re different, especially in London and Rome; when we play there, we vary from their sound and try to link our heritage. We’re called Dish Dash (which is the garment worn by Arab men known as thobe) and we often perform wearing mishlah (another garment worn over thobes) so we are not discarding our identity at all.”
“I feel that in a couple of years, DJ-ing will have a big impact as a job. If you’re good at it and you’re in it for the right reason, you can go big places,” he said.
“Five to six years ago when I used to host DJ events for Red Bull, I had a title attached to my name, and the looks I was compared to when I discarded the Red Bull brand ... it was stigmatized, definitely. But now, as a DJ/producer, I notice people’s outlook has changed and it’s gotten easier for an individual to go out and say ‘I’m a DJ’.”


Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah
Updated 6 min 15 sec ago

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Who’s Who: Othman Gazzaz, media affairs chief at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah

Othman Gazzaz heads the research and media affairs department of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah.

Gazzaz holds a bachelor’s degree in media from Umm Al-Qura University. He also received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in media from the University of Leicester in England.

He published a number of scientific journals such as “The extent of pilgrims and Umrah performers’ reliance on the mobile exhibition using hologram technology to obtain information during the performance of the rituals” in the International Journal of Customer Relationship Marketing and Management earlier this year.

In 2015, Gazzaz published two articles in the Journal of Public Relations Research Middle East titled “Exposure to digital signage and message recall: Determining the effectiveness of the billboard outside the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque at Madinah Al-Munawwarah” and “Pilgrim problems and their communication patterns in the Hajj 1434 (H): A study of the communicative ecology of the pilgrim community from Egypt.”

At a conference in Langkawi, Malaysia in 2014, he presented his research “Communicative ecology of sojourners from Pakistan and its implications for public service campaigns.”

The academic also tackled sensitive issues in his research “Responding to the Western satellite TV’s image of Islam and Muslims: Theory & research-based policy challenges.”

Gazzaz was a member of the Association for Social Awareness and Rehabilitation between February 2016 and 2017, and the Association of Neighborhood Centers in Makkah between February 2016 and 2019.


KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh

KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh
Updated 8 min 36 sec ago

KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh

KSrelief chief meets Netherlands envoy in Riyadh

RIYADH: The supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, met Janet Alberda, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh on Thursday. 

During the meeting, the two sides discussed means of cooperation in humanitarian and relief work.

The ambassador praised Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts exerted through KSrelief to alleviate the suffering of peoples and countries around the world.

Also on Thursday, KSrelief and Almaarefa University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish cooperation and collaboration in various fields including voluntary medical work abroad, exchange of expertise, and the transmission of knowledge.

Both parties will also collaborate in conducting research and studies, building capabilities and joint training programs, and sharing information including reports, statistics, and spreading awareness about the role of KSrelief and its rescue and humanitarian activities.

The MoU was signed by Al-Rabeeah and Walid Al-Faraj, president of Almaarefa University. In addition, the MoU aims to strengthen activities, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions, and exchange visits to boost cooperation, as well as exchange consultancy services regarding rescue and humanitarian work.

 

 


Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia
Updated 06 August 2021

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia

Culture ministry launches Arabic calligraphy mural event across Saudi Arabia
  • Visitors from different parts of the community can participate and contribute their drawings
  • The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture on Thursday launched an event to draw Arabic calligraphy murals in ten regions in the Kingdom.
The tour falls, which ends in January under the umbrella of the “Year of Arabic Calligraphy” initiative that was launched by the ministry.
The event begins in the city of Arar in the Northern Borders Province for three days, and then will move to the city of Sakaka in Al-Jouf, followed by Tabuk, and then Qassim. The first phase concludes in the city of Abha in Asir.
The event will complete its second phase in September in Al-Baha, Hail, Madinah (AlUla), Al-Ahsa, and then Jazan.
A mural will be drawn in each area by a local calligrapher and a graffiti artist in an open space, where visitors from different parts of the community can participate and contribute their drawings and lines until the mural is completed.
The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.


How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship
Updated 06 August 2021

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship

How a crown prince project is helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s Najdi craftsmanship
  • Some 100 pieces of furniture and textiles have been recreated based on traditional Saudi techniques
  • Items have formed backdrop to high-profile meetings with dignitaries such as John Kerry

RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on June 16, there was something about the official photos that caught the eye.

Instead of the usual understated grandeur of a palace interior where such senior officials would usually meet, Kerry found himself surrounded by a splendid display of traditional Najdi decor.

Giant strings of bedouin beads hung on the walls above him and stunning hardwood tables, surrounded with colorful poufs, adorned the floor space.

Arab News can reveal that the interior design is part of a project requested by the crown prince to create more than 100 unique items that represent the heritage of Najd.

Cyma Azyz and Faisal Al-Saadaway were tasked with having the textiles, furniture and other items handcrafted using entirely Saudi tools and materials.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) meeting with the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (2nd-L) in the capital Riyadh in June. (AFP/Saudi Royal Palace/File Photo)

Azyz told Arab News that the crown prince requested that not a single nail from outside the Kingdom be used on the project.

Al-Saadaway is one of the most experienced collectors of Saudi antiquities in Riyadh and has expertise in the architecture and design of Najd, Saudi Arabia’s vast central region, while Azyz was a television anchor with a passion for the preservation of Najdi arts and culture.

The two were first approached for the private project in their outlet in Diriyah — called “Saadaway Najd” — by an interior designer for the crown prince.

The designer was intrigued by their collection and visited their main Arts and Antiques Gallery in Olaya in the summer of 2018. 

“The gentleman paid us a visit and was astonished at the eclectic quality of antiques and delighted to see our large selection of Najdi furniture, accessories, and textiles that were inspired by the Bedouin rugs for upholstery and curtains,” Azyz said.

From there, the construction began. The crown prince’s team wanted to ensure that traditional Najdi craftsmanship and design were represented in every piece of the project.

The most prominent part of the project became known as the “Majlis,” where political leaders and guests like John Kerry meet the crown prince. 

Cyma Azyz and Faisal Al-Saadaway were tasked with having the textiles, furniture and other items handcrafted using entirely Saudi tools and materials. (AN Photo/Lama Al-Hamawi)

The team first researched the authentic Najdi techniques of construction and furnishing that were available through the assistance of local sources and the government. 

They then visited traditional village homes to study the detailing and design of the furniture.

“The sheer quantity of the details and design in the data collection allowed us to create authentic designs efficiently, which is the reason behind the fast completion of the crown prince’s project,” Azyz said. 

“A project of this magnitude realistically cannot be completed in less than one year, but the timeline given was three months,” she said. 

The project included vintage leather water pouches, painted leather panels, armchairs, sofas, coffee tables, study tables, sideboards, chests, chairs, alabaster vases and more. 

The partners spent day and night crafting each piece to perfectly represent Saudi culture. 

There were numerous techniques used in the project including the detailing and hand carving of the side tables, the painting of the gold and copper nails, and the etching, burning and engraving of each piece.

The design of the project was established within the Olaya gallery, but the production of each piece was carried out in a workshop in Saniyah, Riyadh’s industrial area.

Instead of the usual understated grandeur of a palace interior where such senior officials would usually meet, John Kerry found himself surrounded by a splendid display of traditional Najdi decor while meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AN Photo/Lama Al-Hamawi)

“I personally oversaw the production of the pieces, from the early hours of the morning to past midnight, in a workshop in Saniyah,” Azyz said.

She was the only woman in the workshop, and her brothers would complete their workday in a bank and help her with the project.

“It is not an area where women are commonly seen, but this project, having such limited time constraints and so many details, called on us to join forces with our factory workers and carpenters.”

The delivery process was also very intricate because there were so many fragile pieces that took hours to create. 

“The classic Najdi furniture doesn’t come with loose screws and washers to be boxed and sent. Actually, it cannot be easily assembled on-site, so we had to send finished pieces, meaning larger truckloads,” Azyz said. 

Azyz and Al-Saadaway said they were passionate to take on the project because of its importance in preserving the local heritage.

“In this era of modernization, it is very important to keep the heritage and culture alive for younger generations to learn about their past and history,” Azyz stated. 

“I have personally met and worked with craftsmen from different parts of the Kingdom and was devastated to learn that most of them do not care about passing their handicrafts onto their children, as they want them to pursue brighter career prospects following education in big institutes and life in bigger cities,” Azyz said.

“Our crown prince is not only living by example but has taken it one step further with mega projects that are heralding the era of ‘made in Saudi Arabia’ for the revival and preservation of our folk arts.”


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts
Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Italian, Spanish counterparts
  • They discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, and regional and international developments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan made a phone call to his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio on Thursday.
During the call, they reviewed bilateral relations and opportunities to strengthen them in various fields, in addition to a number of regional and international issues and developments.
Earlier on Thursday, Prince Faisal received a similar call from his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares, where both sides also discussed ways to develop relations between them.