First ever rave party in Saudi Arabia raising many questions on MBS’ ambitious plan to modernize the Kingdom?

First ever rave party in Saudi Arabia raising many questions on MBS' ambitious plan to modernize the Kingdom?

By Irum Saleem

The four-day electronic music festival that took place in the socially conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia raised many questions and the issue remained debatable on social media especially in Pakistan.

  Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and Tiësto were among the internationally famous DJs to perform. Bloomberg reported that women wore “skintight pants,” and the smell of marijuana wafted up from the crowd.   A four-day music festival took place in a desert in Saudi Arabia this weekend, and a Bloomberg report says it looked remarkably similar to its’ Western equivalents.

   MDLBEAST Soundstorm 2021 kicked off on December 16 on the outskirts of Riyadh, the socially conservative nation’s capital, and it featured internationally famous DJs like Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and Tiësto, the paper reports.

   The festival organizers say that 200,000 people attended on the second day alone, making it one of the best-attended music events in the world, the Saudi Gazette reported.

“Women and men danced with abandon” as electronic music blared, Bloomberg said, only for the rave to be temporarily put on pause for 15 minutes while participants responded to the Islamic call to prayer.

   The participants wore everything from “skintight pants” to “full-length robes and face veils.”

   Saudi women are required to dress modestly, per The Week, meaning that tight-fitting clothing is generally prohibited. Traditionally, women were expected to wear the abaya — a loose overgarment — in public, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman relaxed this dress code requirement in 2018.

According to Bloomberg “Inebriated men stumbled through crowds perfumed with the distinct scent of marijuana,” said Bloomberg, “alongside a limited but notable display of local queer culture.”

    Critics have accused the festival organizers of “culture-washing.” Resident Advisor journalist Joe Siltanen said it was an attempt to distract from the “authoritarian regime.”

    On social media the conduct of MBS is put under scanner with many asking he needs to make the kingdom liberal.

    In Pakistan too the hardliners are not happy what the MBS is doing. The clerics see it a step to make the kingdom on the footsteps of the West. Let’s see how much MBS succeed in it. PAK DESTINY

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