Saudi Arabia’s Journey from Banning Music to Organising Rave Concerts Reveals MBS’ Bigger Ambitions

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The world welcomes every new year with festivities, pomp and joy. Parties, music, dance and drinks make up some essential components of a new year celebration.

Does everyone celebrate this way? Not really. Take Saudi Arabia for example. The mere idea of celebrating a new year would invite offences in the kingdom a decade ago.

However, Saudi Arabia is changing. It is changing fast, and the change is being headed by one man – Mohammed Bin Salman. He’s the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, and his father King Salman now plays a mere nominal role.

The day-to-day aspects of Saudi governance are now handled by MBS, and he is the man leading the mission to modernise Saudi society.

In Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah, a crowd of 25,000 people – mostly youngsters raved to electronic music, flashed glow sticks and unapologetically flashed their not-so-traditional attire just days ago.

The recent musical festival in Jeddah’s Al-Balad neighbourhood saw the streets turning into an open-air concert.

The festival, called Balad Beast featured some musicians from abroad including the American rapper Busta Rhymes. But the focus was on local talent. Rappers enthralled the audience with performances in Arabic.

The festival has stoked a vigorous debate across Saudi Arabia. Is the kingdom opening up too much, too fast?

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Saudi Arabia’s Journey from Banning Music to Organising Rave Concerts Reveals MBS’ Bigger Ambitions
Saudi Arabia’s Journey from Banning Music to Organising Rave Concerts Reveals MBS’ Bigger Ambitions
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