JEDDAH: Ahead of the arrival of musical event Balad Beast, Ramadan Alharatani, CEO of MDLBEAST, received local and regional media for an exclusive press preview, including a tour of Jeddah Old Town’s famous districts on Wednesday.
The pre-event promotion was organized in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Culture.
MDLBEAST is taking place over two days on Dec. 9 and 10 with more than 70 local, regional and international artists performing in the neighborhood alongside the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s epic surroundings.
Alharatani explained the inspiration behind Balad Beast and detailed how the site will be preserved during the event. Speaking to Arab News, he said: “After months of behind-the-scenes preparations, we are delighted that the time has finally come for Jeddah’s Old Town to take center stage and host the first-ever Balad Beast.
“Since a historical area like Al-Balad requires extra caution, various extensive sound testing across the past two weeks has been performed to measure the effect of the sound vibrations and waves on the area’s buildings and ensure the volume is at a safe limit.”
Alharatani added that the Balad Beast is a boutique festival organized for a reduced capacity with about 12,000-15,000 people in attendance each day.
“We aim to provide the full experience to the music lovers in Jeddah similar to what other festivals of multi-stages and multi-genres have along with an ability to move from one place to another, enabling visitors to enjoy the music at every corner,” he said.
“The crowd in Jeddah has always been demanding for MDLBEAST. Although we have been here before by executing the Formula One concerts in March and November, this is the first time we are bringing the MDLBEAST through Balad Beast in historic Jeddah,” he added.
The event will bring renowned headliners, emerging talent and cutting-edge features together in a historic, culturally significant site fusing the past with the present and thrusting the spotlight on both Jeddah’s history and vast potential to become a thriving local and regional hub for music.
During the conference, Alharatani said that extra steps had been taken to prevent harassment of any kind at the event. “We work to promote fun and consensual music experiences. Therefore, we have launched an anti-harassment campaign called ‘Respect & Reset’ aimed at education, prevention and support resources,” he said.
Alharatani warned that anyone who violates the policy will be immediately removed from the festival site without a refund and will be referred to the authorities for legal recourse, adding that offenders will be banned from all future events.
MDLBEAST is expanding into multiple events and diversifying its portfolio under MDLBEAST Records to feature more artists representing different genres. It is also expanding into venues to provide creative spaces and cultural hubs for aspiring artists to gather, create and be part of the community.
Balad Beast announced that US rapper Busta Rhymes is making his way to Saudi Arabia for the festival, while era-defining DJ Carl Cox will also be part of the action-packed bill. Italian duo Tale of Us will also take part, along with Lupe Fiasco, Salvatore Ganacci, as well as local artists including Dorar, Dana Hourani, Biirdperson and many others.
Tickets for Balad Beast are available now across two tiers: General Admission, which offers access to all five stages of the event, and VIB, which will give ticket holders the privilege of accessing historic building lounges, entrances from a separate VIB gate and complimentary gourmet food.