The 41-day entertainment series of events, held in the coastal city of Jeddah, ended with a star-studded concert – titled Jeddah World Fest – on July 18 at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.
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With an expansive line up featuring Janet Jackson, 50 Cent and Liam Payne, the concert was one of many musical events held in Jeddah over the last month with shows by the likes of DJs Martin Garrix and Marshmellow and K-poppers Super Junior.
When The National spoke to Saudis at Jeddah World Fest, their joy was infectious. They hailed this new era of openness and insisted this only the beginning.
While big name acts already performed in both Jeddah and the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, that didn’t stop some of the friendly rivalry between both cities.
“This is world class,” says 18-year-old Ashi from Jeddah. “It is good to have some world artists coming here and visiting us to perform.”
Ali, 30, says the Jeddah World Fest line up was worth him shelling out the riyals and flying in from Riyadh.
“We have some of the big artists coming there as well,” he says. “But it is not like here in Jeddah. They get the top singers and musicians.”
Both are united in the belief that such music events were destined to come to the kingdom.
“We knew this will happen one day,” Ali says. “Since the crown prince came, he did a lot of stuff for the youth movement here.”
Ashi adds: “It is an amazing time to be young here. The development, from entertainment and culture to learning has been better.”
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