Saudi Arabia’s MDLBEAST Soundstorm Is the Region’s Answer to Tomorrowland

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The region's largest music festival, SOUNDSTORM, opened its doors to attendees on Thursday, as the first curtain of "Riyadh's Most Noisy Week," XP Music Conference.

Music aficionados from across the world came to the capital of Saudi Arabia for the second edition of the MDL BEAST SOUNDSTORM for a four-day exciting music performance in the desert by over 200 local, regional, and worldwide musicians.

On the first day, more than 180,000 individuals took part. According to Ramadan Al-Haratani, CEO of MDLBEAST, the event is projected to draw more than 500,000 visitors in four days, surpassing Tomorrowland and Coachella, making it the world's largest music festival.

Saudi Arabia’s MDLBEAST Soundstorm
Saudi Arabia’s MDLBEAST Soundstorm

Festival Goers in bandanas travelled in from all around the world to experience a fantastic and diverse array of acts. Local musicians performed with famous DJs such as Afrojack, Benny Bennassi, and Tiesto; Arab superstars such as Wael Kfoury, Nancy Ajram, and Elissa; and regional acts such as Dish Dash, Cosmicat, and Saud.

Following a pandemic-induced postponement in 2020, MDL Beast demonstrated its intention to make amends by making this year's event larger and better than the initial SOUNDSTORM festival in 2019.

The venue has a variety of restaurants, including Albaik and Shawarma, as well as carnival games like arcade basketball and pyramid smash, as well as local apparel boutiques including MDL BEAST's own BANI BEAST, the kingdom's first handcrafted festival wear brand.

“The venue blew my mind on how big and amazing it was,” said Prince Saud Al-Saud, 25, from Jeddah, who attended the event with his sister, Deema. “I also felt like I was out of Saudi Arabia. It really feels like it can rival Tomorrowland,” he added.
“The music was incredible and it was amazing to see so many people having a lot of fun. The only negative was the amount of walking we had to do to reach the venue. In addition, I’d like to point out the behavior of some of the attendees. It was appalling and shameful to see.”

This year, the festival launched "Respect & Reset," an anti-harassment effort aimed at creating a safe and respected atmosphere for all participants and making it simpler for people to report incidences of abuse and harassment.

On the first day, several festival goers were left stranded in the midst of the Banban desert as shuttle buses designed to take guests to and from the site stopped working.
However, organizers made certain that ticket holders were adequately compensated by boosting parking and substituting park-and-ride transportation with on-site parking for all ticket categories for the following three days, assuring a smooth experience.

Only a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable in the Kingdom. The second edition of MDL Beast's SOUNDSTORM demonstrates the success of Vision 2030's quick cultural reforms. Saudi music fans will no longer have to board an overseas flight to see their favorite singers play live.