Huge speakers played Justin Bieber’s “Let me love you!” to welcome the audience. Two American magicians wowed the audience with their antics before they settled down for an evening of opera, dance, and mime. On the surface, the scene looked like it might have come from any weekend-long variety show, anywhere in the globe. Saudi Arabia is a different story. Close inspection revealed that the cast was all-male, only males and children were permitted on stage for pictures, and the female stewards were all dressed in black cloaks.
At King Abdullah Economic City’s event marquee, Riyadh university student Mohammed al-Mawla, 20, stated, “It’s a fresh experience.” King Abdullah Economic City is the site of the event. It would be great if there were more programs like this throughout the kingdom.
The government is loosening restrictions on having fun in an otherwise ultra-conservative country. As part of shock treatment to help turn around the economy, and it also intends to profit from the move. Religious police require music to be muted throughout the country, and residents normally fly to Bahrain or Dubai to see a show or a movie. The idea now is to make a business out of lifting people’s spirits.
Anmar Fathaldin says he can’t wait because he will “earn more money” and have “more things to do with his family” when the site goes live. Even yet, he doesn’t hold out much hope for things to improve.
The 28-year-old comedian and “intellectual entertainment” performer, Fathaldin, says he travels so he may “live a normal life.” “I can take my wife for a stroll without her having to cover up, go to a concert or the beach with the kids without her having to wear a cover-up.” “This is not going to happen in our community.”
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It is all a part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030, which was unveil to the public in April by the country’s strong 31-year-old deputy crown prince. A wide range of issues is address, from the role of women in working to government spending on subsidies.
Over 450 clubs are expect to offer a wide range of cultural events and activities by 2020, according to the report. “The objective is to increase household spending on leisure to 6 percent,” says Amr Madani, the head of the newly founded General Entertainment Authority. “That would be greater than what the US Labor Department reveals Americans spent on entertainment in 2015.”
The 36-year-old AlMadani described the car as an “economical vehicle”. The emphasis would be on families, with “our cultural and Islamic values” serving as the “guide principles,” according to him.
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An expansion of its operations to additional regions is plan for 2017 as well as sponsorship of events in the kingdom’s major cities during that year. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in Riyadh, for men and their children only; and an outlying Jeddah venue, 6,000 people, attended the motorsports and music performance. SEAWORLD Entertainment and parks and Six Flags have both committed to opening a theme park in Saudi Arabia shortly. Six Flags chairman James Reid-Anderson estimated the park’s price tag at $500 million.
On Nov. 15, a variety event was stage at the King Abdullah Economic City, a private enclave located about 160 miles outside Jeddah. Performers from various Got Talent competitions from across the world took the stage in a tent.
When it comes to Bahrain, the King Fahd Causeway sees heavy traffic on the weekends and holidays. According to the Kingdom’s statistics agency, the 25-kilometer bridge was traverse by almost 5 million vehicles in 2015. Those who can’t demonstrate their job at home prefer Dubai as a destination. Saudis made up the vast majority of the audience at a concert in March featuring famed Saudi vocalist Abdulmajeed Abdullah.
We have never had it so tough. Arab and local musicians’ concerts were popular in the 1980s. The Committee for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice (CPVPV) is give a greater degree of autonomy in the early 2000s. Arresting unmarried couples who were spotted in the same car or lunch together and telling servers to turn off the music were some of the tactics used by the officers.
Earlier this year, the government issued guidelines to limit the committee’s authority. Stating that religious police could no longer pursue offenders, arrest them, or ask for identification.
Organizers of Canadian stand-up comedian Russell Peters’ performance in the Saudi desert outside of Riyadh in January divided men and women. Under a white tent as they experimented with ways to put on events without angering religious authorities.
There was some protest from the crowd, who had traveled 95 kilometers outside of the city on a dark and isolated route. Marwa Yassin, a 22-year-old college student, and her pals thought the trip was well worth it.