The MDL Beast Festival, which tooke place 19-21 December was the largest and most groundbreaking music, arts and culture festival Saudi Arabia has ever seen, not to mention the biggest music festival in the region. The mega landmark event, which went down just outside of Riyadh in a purpose built venue, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, undoubtedly brought toegether the best in electronic music, performing arts and culinary craft.
Over 22 artistic performances and 70 international and national DJs made their way to the desert to support the Kingdom’s growing Electronic Dance Music scene. International beauties like Elsa Hosk, Stella Maxwell, Irina Shayk, Joan Smalls and Alessandra Ambrosio were able to enjoy music by local DJs and artists playing at the festival. These included Saudi’s first female DJ, Cosmicat, DJ Baloo, DJ duo DISH DASH, as well as DJ and Producer Vinyl Mode and Desert Fish. Plus, Simi Haze, the Saudi-born identical twin DJs who have been taking the fashion and music worlds by storm, opened the 45,000-person capacity ‘Big Beast’, the main stage.
Irina Shayk and Stella Maxwell
“We have a lot of artists here in Saudi Arabia. Giving them this platform to show the world what Saudis are capable of, is everything. The whole country is going through a huge change actually,” Cosmicat said in a statement.
The festival, a unique experience where visitors could enjoy so many different areas of Saudi Arabia’s culture, arts and music industries, also saw international music superstars, including David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, Martin Garrix, Black Coffee, Fuerza Bruta, Cirque Bijou and Swizz Beatz play their hearts out.
Negin Mirsalehi and Romee Strijd
“It really meant the world to me to be here in Saudi Arabia - we’re making history. I see the enthusiasm of all the youth of the country and to see this happiness in their eyes and to be part of that moment is a privilege. It’s also the first time I’ve played a back to back with Steve Aoki,” David Guetta said in a statement.
As well as Dutch bombshells Negin Mirsalehi and Romee Strijd, regional influencers like Hala Abdallah Karen Wazen Bakhazi and Nathalie Fanj, were spotted rocking to the beats.
Karen Wazen Bakhazi
As well as the electronic musical performances that underscored the skyrocketing music industry, the event featured the retail therapy district, MDL Town and Saudi Alley local food court, where visitors could sample the very best of local and international brands in food, fashion and design. Chefs from all over the world created bespoke menus and mocktails especially for the event, and designers were on site showcasing their amazing local designs to the world.
Additionally, The Arts Beast district featured a series of incredible immersive performances and visual spectacular effects, while street theatre performers roamed the grounds interacting with guests. In the MDL Beast XP area, people explored a zone designed for festivalgoers to interact and play with sound in different ways. Attendees were encouraged to go ‘Beyond the Beats’ in the dedicated exhibition space, which included an on site recording studio, demonstrating how music can be leveraged as a force for good.