Saudi rooftop event Fowg takes Riyadh nightlife to new heights

MDLBeast’s rooftop music event Fowg features local and international musicians and is one of the popular nightlife spots at Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District. (Instagram/mdlbeast)
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MDLBeast’s rooftop music event Fowg features local and international musicians and is one of the popular nightlife spots at Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District. (Instagram/mdlbeast)
Saudi rooftop event Fowg takes Riyadh nightlife to new heights
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MDLBeast’s rooftop music event Fowg features local and international musicians and is one of the popular nightlife spots at Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District. (Instagram/mdlbeast)
Saudi rooftop event Fowg takes Riyadh nightlife to new heights
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Crowds rolled into a sold out show at a scenic rooftop this weekend in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), boasting lights, dance, and music headlined by Italian DJ Laher. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 December 2023
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Saudi rooftop event Fowg takes Riyadh nightlife to new heights

Saudi rooftop event Fowg takes Riyadh nightlife to new heights
  • Music fans dance the night away at rooftop event featuring Italian DJ Lehar
  • Saudi music events company helps build loyal community

RIYADH: At the weekend in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District, a rooftop event featuring dancing and music with Italian DJ Lehar at the forefront attracted a packed house.

A handful of years ago, a scene like this was only a distant possibility in Saudi Arabia, but today MDLBeast and local creatives have left no stone unturned to make it a reality.

“It’s something beautiful when you have this impact … It was a dream, and now we see it on the rooftops,” Ayman Al-Zurayer told Arab News. He is the founder of the local music events company Desert Sound Entertainment, which brought the festivities to life.




Italian DJ Lehar headlined at Fowg during his third visit to Saudi Arabia. (Instagram/leharmusic)

Lehar, the well-known Italian DJ and producer who grew up in Venice and has performed at events like Tomorrowland, debuted some new tracks as well as ones from his labels. Having performed in Jeddah and Riyadh during his third visit to Saudi Arabia, Lehar said that even Europeans can learn from the booming music scene in the Kingdom.

“In just three years, I have to tell you I see things changing, especially the electronic music scene. It’s become one of the top capitals in the Middle East,” Lehar told Arab News. “The crowd understands everything; they can’t wait to dance. It’s a fantastic crowd.”

For the past few months, MDLBeast, the region’s music and entertainment platform, has made Thursdays a staple for weekly nights out at a unique location overlooking skyscrapers and eye-catching architecture through its first small venue activation Fowg, the Arabic word for “up” or “above.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Fowg music venue by MDLBeast is a unique location overlooking skyscrapers.

• For event updates check the Instagram @desertsound.co and @mdlbeast.

Rayan Al-Rasheed, senior artist booking and operations manager at MDLBeast, told Arab News: “We’re really trying to show that there’s a nightlife here in Riyadh … it’s been amazing. We collaborated with a lot of local brands to make this happen. We really wanted to integrate rather than compete with small businesses that are already on the ground and have communities.

“Desert Sound’s reputation (precedes them) — the amount of activations, the quality, the standard that they deliver. It just made sense to have them as the closing of this edition of Fowg.”

While MDLBeast has been pushing the envelope in the region to host international names, such as headlining its flagship annual music festival Soundstorm, this event sheds light on the locals, Al-Rasheed said.




Rayan Al-Rasheed, MDLBeast senior artist booking and operations manager

Desert Sound champions the same goal through smaller venues that host various artists within the EDM (electronic dance music) genre.

Unlucky partygoers were turned away at the gate of the sold-out show due to the enormous turnout, despite the event only being announced five days previously.

But it was not by accident that the house filled up. The majority of participants are ardent fans of Desert Sound, which distinguished itself by refusing to limit itself to a single-sound brand.

We really wanted to integrate rather than compete with small businesses that are already on the ground and have communities.

Rayan Al-Rasheed, MDLBeast senior artist booking and operations manager

Al-Zurayer added: “Since day one we’ve been trying to provide different experiences for people to trust the brand itself. No matter what we bring, where we go they will follow, and come because they know they’re going to have fun.”

Inaugural event Mars Escape headlined Dutch artist Satori and transported around 1,000 attendees to another dimension made distinct by live art, festival makeup and fire performances within a valley in Riyadh.

Reema Al-Saud, the brand’s co-founder, told Arab News:  “We started small (with) whatever we could handle in order to make people safe, so we could control and see the community and make girls and guys feel safe. You can’t do that with a big number so we started there and slowly evolved until we reached 2,500 — and it’s not going to stop there.”

Al-Zurayer added: “Music is education. It connects people from different languages, different cultures, and here in Saudi Arabia developing our culture in this way … that’s such an amazing way to use music.”

Desert Sound’s next event will take place on Jan. 5 in yet another distinct location. The company champions bringing new names, whether local or international, to the stage through the platform it has created.

Al-Saud said: “We want to orchestrate every preference … Every day someone new comes up but they don’t get the chance because they’re not famous enough, or whatever. But when you give them the opportunity, they exceed in every way.”

Artist and DJ Joj was looking for a medium a year ago to focus on and she eventually found her calling to music. At Desert Sound’s milestone Fowg event, she opened up the night.

“I was going through a tough time and I needed this thing (music) to keep me going ... Tonight, I loved that there were a lot of women on the dance floor who gave me the push to go further,” she told Arab News.

Her set preceded musicians ANT. and Misha Saied, who played back to back before handing gears over to Lehar.

Desert Sound brings the underground scene to the public. It built its brand by hosting acclaimed international names, who are also part of the change to leverage the local scene.

Al-Zurayer said: “This is one of the keys to unlocking internationals to seeing Saudi Arabia as a country that has love and peace. We’ve been a secret country for many years, but now is the time to show them this love. Come and discover us.”

While Fowg has just concluded its gleaming nightlife series, Al-Rasheed said that other experiences will soon surface, including one to be held in the abandoned Irqah Hospital.

To keep up with updates and upcoming events, check the Instagram @desertsound.co.


Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety

Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety
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Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety

Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Interior Abdulaziz bin Abdulaziz received the Korean Minister of Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min in Riyadh on Monday.

The ministers discussed ways to enhance existing security cooperation between the nations, in addition to addressing a number of issues of common interest.


Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians
Updated 6 min 25 sec ago
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Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

RIYADH: Shura Council's Foreign Affairs Committee met with a delegation from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee at the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament in Riyadh on Monday.

The committee was chaired by council member Wael Al-Idrisi and the British delegation was headed by select committee chairman Alicia Kearns.

During the meeting, Al-Idrisi reviewed the historical relations between the Kingdom and the UK and stressed the importance of strengthening relations in all fields to achieve common interests.


Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
Updated 04 March 2024
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Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
  • Bookworms’ efforts over three days concluded with pledge to plant over 2,500 trees in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco

DHAHRAN: A reading marathon to promote library culture and environmental awareness was recently organized in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, with over a quarter of a million pages read.

The Arab libraries that participated in the three-day event were King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt and the National Library of Morocco.

The goal of the marathon was to plant one tree for every 100 pages read, which Ithra estimates would take an average reader one hour. The center said that 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

The printing of physical books consumes a large percentage of trees, so the planting of new ones directly arrests some of that loss.

Upon arrival at the designated library during operating hours, participants registered at the reception and received a QR code which they used throughout the experience. They were gifted a bookmark and a notebook to log their details. Upon completing their reading for the day, they returned to the reception area to declare the number of pages they read, which were then logged.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to Ithra, 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

• Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia.

• A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

In an effort to encourage reading in public spaces, all had to read books in-person in order for it to count, participating on one, two or all three days depending on availability.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

At Ithra, a large screen updated the number of pages completed in real time, as well as showing the updated numbers from Morocco and Egypt.

“This is the largest reading marathon in Arab libraries, held for three days from Feb. 29 to March 2. It seeks to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life,” an official statement by Ithra said.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani was one of the participants at Ithra. An avid reader, he drove a short distance to the center to join in the fun after coming across a post about it on social media. With his cup of black coffee situated on a small round table, he found a comfortable spot in a plush seat in the middle of the plaza and was immediately immersed in a book written by the late, great Egyptian author Taha Hussein.

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Qahtani said: “I have a ritual of reading every afternoon during the weekend, but this time, it’s with an even greater purpose. Normally, people read for their own personal pleasure or growth but this was an opportunity to do what I already do — and the world would also benefit.

Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense.

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani, Reading marathon participant, Ithra

“Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense. I’m happy to do my part.”

Talking about the experience, he added: “Usually, I read on my own at various places with the sounds of laughter swirling around me. Here, I’m amongst other readers. Ithra did a great job in making this a suitable environment for reading. Instead of reading 100 pages, you’ll read 200.

“This is my first time participating and it has been such a great experience. I brought my own book but once I’m done, I’ll browse the books available here and I’m sure I’ll read pages from those, too,” he concluded.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

While many of the books on the shelves at Ithra were in Arabic, readers were encouraged to read any book in any language. They could bring their own, like Al-Qahtani, or borrow some from the shelves. The pages could also be from the same book or from multiple books.

The space directly beneath the iconic Ithra library also had seats for people to sit and read on. Ithra added temporary booths with books in the middle of the plaza for easy access.

Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf at a later date, in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia. The other participating countries will also plant trees in their local communities.

 


Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
Updated 04 March 2024
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Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

RIYADH: A collaboration between Saudi creative hub Burble and anonymous artist Mo Lazim Tearef has brought a personality-themed art exhibition to Riyadh.

“Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition” is at Huna Takhassusi until March 7. It features seven blue and red paintings created with acrylics, along with a bare space representing unfinished works. Together, the works tell MLT’s story (whose name translates as “You don’t need to know”) as he confronts two traits that annoy him about his own character — haste and excuses.

Mohammed Al-Kabeer, curator and founder of the exhibition, said this was the third and final episode of MLT’s story, following on from “Grandpa’s Kid” and “My friend is a vampire.”

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“MLT created this exhibition (by) rushing everything with an incomplete vision, which showcases how hasty he is,” he said.

The artist has created square characters to symbolize his excuses. The blue one is “the father of excuses” while the red ones are the small ones who follow.

Al-Kabeer said: “Father of excuses is a character that resides within each of us. He constantly rationalizes our actions, providing excuses that enable us to persist and persuade ourselves of the righteousness of our deeds regardless of their merit. He holds excuses in high regard, treating them as his own offspring.

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“The persona takes inspiration from the (purple) dot on the Burble logo. MLT opted for blue and red (because the) amalgamation results in the color Burble (purple).”     

The exhibition walks viewers through MLT’s perception of excuses in every action he performs, touching their hearts along the way. The abandoned paints, brushes and mop in one corner represent his unfinished work.

“We have collaborated with more than 30 artists, but MLT is the only (one we have) adopted and who we have a lifetime contract with,” Al-Kabeer added.

Burble is a multidisciplinary creative hub that focuses on exhibitions, talks, courses and pop-ups.

 

 


Who’s Who: Majed Fuad Al-Sinan, regional director of KFB Holding Group

Majed Fuad Al-Sinan
Majed Fuad Al-Sinan
Updated 04 March 2024
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Who’s Who: Majed Fuad Al-Sinan, regional director of KFB Holding Group

Majed Fuad Al-Sinan

Majed Fuad Al-Sinan has served as regional director of KFB Holding Group since September 2021.

The group brings the latest technologies to Saudi Arabia, and adapts products for local conditions, aligning with the community development ambitions of the Kingdom.

In his role, Al-Sinan is responsible for creating and exploring new markets to develop projects and increase the company’s market share. He also focuses on maintaining and strengthening relationships with existing customers, as well as a network of public and private partners.

In addition to his role at KFB Holding Group, Al-Sinan has worked as general manager at the MEMF Electrical Industries Co. solar and modular solutions business unit since December 2023. Since April 2022, he has served on the board of B&R Gulf LLC.

Before his role at KFB, Al-Sinan held a range of corporate roles, reflecting his extensive professional experience.

From June 2019 to May 2021, he worked as business development manager for Saudi Arabia at Lefebvre Engineering FZC in the UAE. In this role, he was responsible for creating and exploring new markets, maintaining customer relationships, and supporting the development and implementation of sales strategies.

From May 2015 to April 2019, Al-Sinan served as power division head at APTC Trading Co. Ltd. in Saudi Arabia. In this position, he managed the sales, services and projects departments. He developed business plans and sales strategies for the division, provided timely feedback and reports to senior management, and controlled expenses to meet budget guidelines.

From December 2012 to April 2015, Al-Sinan worked as proposal manager at Dar Al-Riyadh Holding Co. Ltd. Dar Masdar. His responsibilities included managing all proposal functions, optimizing the gross margin of the value chain and ensuring proactive contribution to competitive biddings.

In 2012, Al-Sinan worked as an inside sales engineer at Cooper Industries, which was acquired by Eaton the same year. In this role, he provided cost estimates and prepared quotations, determined customer requirements, recommended specific products and solutions, processed purchase orders, and educated customers about product features and benefits.

He began his career in August 2008 at Mohammad Al-Mojil Group, working in various project sites before being transferred to the contracts department in the head office. He left the company in January 2012.

Al-Sinan holds a bachelor’s degree in applied electrical engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran.