Jeddah's historic old town will light up with the sights and sounds of hip-hop and electronic music when a new multi-genre music and arts festival kicks off this Friday.
Balad Beast, a two-day event at the heart of Jeddah's Unesco World Heritage Site Al Balad, is set to feature top headliners including hip-hop royalty Busta Rhymes, fellow US rapper Lupe Fiasco, English DJ Carl Cox, Italian duo Tale Of Us and Tomorrowland veteran Salvatore Ganacci.
The international artists will be joined by regional musicians including Dorar, Dana Hourani, Biirdperson and Kayan, who will perform across five stages. A total of 70 artists will perform during the festival, which will also feature a one-of-a-kind light show with vibrant visuals projected on the walls of the old town's historic buildings and surroundings.
Balad Beast is organised by MDLBEAST, the company behind the annual Soundstorm festival in Riyadh, which has brought everyone from EDM stars Armin van Buuren, Tiesto and Martin Garrix to rapper and singer Post Malone among others to Saudi Arabia.
“After months of behind-the-scenes preparations, we are delighted that the time has finally come for Jeddah’s Old Town to take centre stage and host the first-ever Balad Beast. A boutique event bringing renowned headliners, emerging talent and cutting-edge features together in a historic, culturally significant site, we are proud to fuse the past with the present and thrust the spotlight on both Jeddah’s history and vast potential to become a thriving local and regional hub for music," said Ramadan Alharatani, chief executive of MDLBEAST.
To honour the historical surroundings, Balad Beast will limit daily capacity to 12,000 visitors, and extensive sound testing has been conducted to measure the effect of the sound vibrations and waves on the area’s buildings to ensure it is capped at a safe limit, Alharatani said.
Founded in the seventh century, Al Balad was once the beating heart of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's second-largest city. The town was formed as an ancient trading port and acted as the primary gateway to Makkah. Today, it is famous for its traditional buildings, which were constructed with coral stone and decorated with intricate latticed windows.
Tickets for Balad Beast, starting at 599 Saudi riyals for two-day access, are available at mdlbeast.com/events/balad-beast-2022
Scroll through the gallery below for more pictures from MDLBEAST's Soundstorm 2022