DUBAI: US pop legend Lionel Richie is set to perform at Saudi Arabia’s Winter at Tantora cultural festival in Al-Ula.
The news was announced on Winter at Tantora’s Twitter page and fans of the “All Night Long” singer were quick to catch on and share their excitement online.
— Winter At Tantora شتاء طنطورة (@WinterAtTantora) September 24, 2019
The festival is set to run from Dec. 19-March 7, with sources telling Arab News that Richie will likely perform on Feb. 28.
Sources also told Arab News that music fans can expect a line-up that includes Greek composer Yanni and Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli, who will both return for the second year.
Rumors have been circulating that Mexican-American guitarist and songwriter Carlos Santana will also put on a rhythmic show at the festival, although there has been no official confirmation as of yet.
The Winter at Tantora Festival – which is held at UNESCO World Heritage Site the old town of Al-Ula – was launched in December 2018 with performances by such greats as Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli and Greek musician Yanni.
Yanni in particular was captivated by performing against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s heritage jewel. “This is the place where dreams begin, and I find it quite inspiring,” he said.
He gave the first complete live performance of “When Dreams Come True,” a piece composed in parts over 60 shows in 60 cities, and which he dedicated to the people of Saudi Arabia
Al-Ula is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important historically preserved sites for culture and heritage.
The festival runs for several weeks – attracting thousands of music lovers.
It derives its name, Tantora, from a sundial in AlUla that has been a marker for the changing of the seasons. The site is home to historic monuments spanning generations and civilizations.
Other international artists who appeared at last year’s event also included Lebanese vocalist Majida El-Roumi, French violinist Renaud Capuçon, and multiple award-winning Egyptian composer Omar Khairat.
The festival marks the Kingdom’s ongoing project to modernize, which includes the reintroduction of live music in front of non-segregated audiences.