Music festival finale at Jeddah Season eclipses all expectations

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US rapper 50 Cent performs on stage during the Jeddah World music Festival on July 18, 2019, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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Varski appears on stage. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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US singer Janet Jackson performs on stage during the Jeddah World music Festival on July 18, 2019, at the King Abdullah Sports City in the coastal city of Jeddah. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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US singer Chris Brown performs on stage during the Jeddah World music Festival on July 18, 2019, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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Liam Payne performs on stage during the Jeddah World music Festival on July 18, 2019, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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The audience fills King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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The audience fills King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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The audience fills King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat. (AN photo/ Huda Bashatah)
Updated 21 July 2019

Music festival finale at Jeddah Season eclipses all expectations

  • Attendees filled King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat, but nothing could prepare them for what was to come
  • Fans were wowed by performances including 50 Cent, Tyga, DJ Steve Aoki and Janet Jackson

JEDDAH: Seven megastars closed the Jeddah Season with a bang for 20,000 avid music lovers on Thursday.

The Jeddah Music Festival attracted Saudis from around the Kingdom.

The audience filled King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat, but nothing could prepare them for what was to come.

R3wire and Varski appeared on stage and cheers erupted from the crowd. The latter hyped them up in anticipation for the concert.

The pair played remixes of songs like “We Will Rock You” by Queen and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” before mixing “One Kiss” by Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris. 

“Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia was so special! Words cannot describe the love in the air,” R3wire posted on Facebook. 

Once the DJs set the mood for the evening, superstar singer Janet Jackson stormed onto the stage. She sang and danced to hits like “All For You” and her latest track “Made for Now,” stealing the audience’s breath with every kiss she blew their way.

After her powerful performance, she was replaced by English heart-throb Liam Payne. Once a part of One Direction, Payne is now a solo artist.

He performed a mix of songs, showing his vocal range and inspiring the crowd to sway with him when he sang “Drag Me Down” and a cover of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.

“The crowd here in Jeddah is amazing,” he said while performing. “I want to say something really important: Music unites us, and it’s good to be here with you tonight.” 

After a short intermission, American rapper Tyga delivered his second performance in Jeddah after his debut on July 12.

The audience was waiting especially for him, and when he appeared on stage people made sure to show the rapper all their love with loud cheers.

Tyga performed some of the fans’ favorite tracks, including “Ice Cream Man”, “Taste”, “Rock City” and “Hookah.”

Without a moment’s rest, rapper Future began to spit fire on the stage as soon as Tyga stepped off. The rapper, 35, performed some of his famous tracks like “Jumpman”, “Low Life” and “Mask Off.”

Legendary rapper 50 Cent then transported the audience to the early 2000s as he performed his tracks “P.I.M.P” and “Candy Shop” before the crowd exploded with energy when the intro to “In Da Club” began to play.

At one point, he asked the crowd to chant his name, before telling them to start calling him 50 Halalas instead, the equivalent to cent in Saudi Arabia.

He later tweeted: “My new name is 50 HALALA, so get with the program. I might move out here I like it.”

Rsha Khan, 27, who attended the concert with her family, told Arab News: “We enjoyed 50 Cent the most because he sang his old songs. It was fun to see as most people started singing along with him and jumping out of excitement.”

Although Chris Brown’s time on stage was short-lived and bittersweet, with the singer only performing four tracks, fans still swayed to the rhythm of his huge hit “Loyal” featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga.

Lastly, legendary DJ and producer Steve Aoki flew in all the way from Mykonos, Greece to set the stage alight with an immense set-list.

The crowd jumped and surged to the beat of his opening track, “Moshi Moshi,” before moving to another classic, “Bella Ciao.”

Even though members of the crowd were exhausted after being at the venue for seven hours, their energy was refueled as Aoki hyped them up with his high-octane performance with songs like “Rave” forcing the crowd to jump in unison.

Aoki created a brand new track with Saudi singer Dalia Mubarak especially for the concert just 24 hours before he arrived on stage. The song had a mixture of Egyptian and Gulf undertones, and while Mubarak’s strong vocals carried through the air, Aoki danced by her side.

“I’m very grateful to be here, I have a feeling I have a lot of fans here in Saudi Arabia,” he told the beaming crowd who had waited until the early hours of the morning to see him.

The international DJ addressed all segments of the audience, playing two of his tracks featuring K-pop artists like Monsta X and BTS. He made sure to return the love he felt from the Saudis by remixing two special new tracks for the Jeddah World Festival, including a mix of Egypt’s beloved singer Abdel Halim Hafez and his BTS mix with MIC DROP.

The festival allowed attendees to not only enjoy the performers they were anticipating but also discover new music. Khan did not know Steve Aoki until Friday. She said: “He was amazing, it was the first time we heard his music and instantly I loved it! He hyped up the crowd with his powerful music. He should have been one of the first performers because by the time he came up people were so tired, but he still made everyone dance.”

Some of the audience struggled with the heat. Sara Manzar, who was attending with her younger brother, said: “The festival was good, I enjoyed 50 Cent and Steve Aoki the most but it would have been better if there were fans or air conditioners around the area because the weather was too hot.”

Dina Ajjaj, 18, who was attending the show with her mother, said: “I really enjoyed the festival despite the weather. The stars that came made this night perfect. I loved Steve Aoki the most, it was the best part of the night! I’m looking forward to attending next year.”

Raneem Has Ibrahim, 30, thought that the event was organized smoothly. “The stadium was close to everyone, and the gates were very well-organized. The assistants were very helpful and in good spirits despite the pressure. It was comforting to see security and ambulances around if people needed them,” she told Arab News.

“The concert itself was fire,” Ibrahim added. “It exceeded expectations and I’m so happy that we’re attending international concerts like this in Jeddah.”

Jeddah Season is part of the Saudi Season project to showcase and promote the Kingdom’s cities as major tourist destinations, and to encourage partnerships with local businesses. 

The 41-day festival included over 150 events and activities featuring local, regional and international acts.


Saudi efforts for promotion of human rights lauded

Updated 3 min 56 sec ago

Saudi efforts for promotion of human rights lauded

  • Saudi Arabia has spent more than $86 billion in over 81 countries between 1996 and 2018

RIYADH: Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Kingdom’s Human Rights Commission, said on Tuesday Saudi Arabia is keen to play a constructive role to maintain international peace and security, prevent conflicts and promote a culture of tolerance.
He said this during a meeting with Marielle de Sarnez, who is a member of the French National Assembly, in Riyadh.
They reviewed Saudi efforts in supporting human rights and the ongoing reforms in the Kingdom with a particular reference to the protection of human rights.
The French politician praised the developments taking place in the Kingdom in all sectors particularly human rights and women’s empowerment.

Saudi assistance
On the occasion of Human Rights Day, which is observed globally on Dec. 10, Al-Awwad said: “(Protection of) human rights is an issue of great international concern especially in the light of the rise in wars, intolerance, terrorism, hatred and racism.”
Highlighting the Kingdom’s role in humanitarian causes, the rights chief said that Saudi Arabia has spent more than $86 billion in over 81 countries between 1996 and 2018.
Commenting on the Kingdom’s keenness to preserve global and regional peace, he cited the Riyadh agreement between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council as an example.
He reiterated the Kingdom’s historical stance on the Palestinian issue.

Symposium
The Human Rights Commission organized on Tuesday a symposium titled “Human Rights, A Vision for the Future” in Riyadh.
Professionals in the field of human rights from inside and outside the Kingdom participated in this symposium, which was attended by a number of diplomats.
The symposium highlighted the Kingdom’s role in protecting and promoting human rights in accordance with its national and international commitments in this field. It also shed light on the Kingdom’s cooperation with various human rights organizations and reviewed the importance it attaches to the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, safeguarding the rights of subjects of law, and respecting the course of justice.
The symposium discussed the most prominent developments in human rights during the reign of King Salman, safeguarding the privacy and rights of children in light of the digital age, and providing protection to the elderly as well as the challenges facing providing them with a suitable environment.
Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Khayyal, vice president of the Human Rights Commission, emphasized in a speech he delivered on behalf of the commission’s president, Dr. Al-Awwad, that Saudi Arabia, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has made strides in the field of human rights.
“Saudi Arabia works continuously to achieve sustainable development through Vision 2030, in which the youth actively participate and play a major role in positive social change to contribute to more development achievements,” he said.
UN Resident Coordinator Nathalie Fustier stressed in her speech that the Kingdom has made many achievements in the field of human rights and that these efforts deserve to be saluted.
She added that the youth account for 25 percent of the Kingdom’s population and are the heart of society as they create the future of the next generations.
Fustier pointed out that at a global level, all development goals stipulate the protection of rights, including the rights of young people as they deserve many advantages and must be provided with the maximum benefits and more than the well-being and rights they have.