JEDDAH: Organizers of the mega music festival, being held in Saudi Arabia, have revealed the first wave of international artists to take to the stage.
Rapper Nicki Minaj, musician Steve Aoki, and singer Liam Payne are to perform at Jeddah World Fest, which will be emceed by DJs R3wire and Varski and broadcast on TV around the globe.
The event will take place on July 18 at King Abdullah Sports Stadium.
The music festival is part of the Jeddah Season of activities which falls under the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) ambitious program of seasonal entertainment for the Kingdom.
Raed Abuzinada, sector development chief of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and director general of Jeddah Season, said the Jeddah World Fest would be the biggest music event of its kind and would be covered by MTV.
As well as featuring a star-studded lineup of international artists it would also provide an opportunity for local talent. “There is a stereotype of the Kingdom all over the world, and today it is disappearing. In its place is a new picture of the Kingdom, that accepts everyone,” added Abuzinada.
Robert Quirke, president of event organizer Roqu Media International, said: “Projects like this, no matter where they are in the world, from Toronto to Tokyo, are always extremely challenging. But here in Jeddah it’s actually been a relief, because the team has been so professional and has been a big support to what we are doing.
“Jeddah World Fest is the first ever international festival of its kind in this country, which is really spectacular, and the fact that it’s right here in Jeddah makes it even more special.
“What we are doing specifically, is creating a world-class live music international festival in the city of Jeddah. It’s an outdoor music festival, on a similar scale to iconic festivals in different countries around the world.
“What makes this project unique among every other project in Jeddah this year, is that this is produced specifically for global TV broadcast, and that’s really special,” Quirke added.
“It’s going to be really special for the people who go to the event, but what is going to be even more special is the hundreds of millions of people who see this show all around the world. So, when you turn on your TV in New York, Berlin or Sydney, you see Jeddah. And that’s special.”
He said the first person to perform at the festival this year would be Nicki Minaj.
“She is an absolute global icon. She has 130 million followers on Instagram, she is considered one of the top 10 female performers of all time, she’s had multiple awards and she’ll have her new album come out this year.
“She is going to get a lot of attention for Jeddah in the most positive way you can imagine. She’s going to be actively on her social media, she’ll be posting right from the stage in Jeddah and at her hotel in Jeddah. Everyone is going to know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia,” Quirke said.
“Second of the lineup is Steve Aoki, an American DJ based in Las Vegas. He is one of the most spectacular live DJs I’ve ever seen, and his global fans agree. Aoki is an incredible electronic artist and headlines the best shows such as Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival. It’s going to be like nothing ever seen before here.
“We’re also very happy to announce that R3wire and Varski will be emceeing the show. They are the MTV ambassador DJs, they were signed by Ministry of Sound and they perform all over the world from Tokyo, Hong Kong, Asia, and Europe. They go to all the top festivals, so while we’re making the changeover from Nicki Minaj to Steve Aoki or Liam Payne, these guys will make sure that the crowd stays absolutely pumped,” he added.
The second wave of festival performers will be announced later this week.
Where to get tickets: www.jeddahworldfest.com