SOUNDSTORM 2023: Empowering the Resilient MENA Music Landscape

SOUNDSTORM Festival, by MDLBEAST has been praised by global superstars as being a crucial part of “witnessing history in the motion” in Saudi Arabia. They are growing the music scene and providing a platform for local artists from the region to perform on the
big stage. The global superstars were the headline BIG BEAST acts to help bring the curtain down on an incredible event that saw revellers enjoy 260 hours of live music from hundreds of artists across eight stages under the Banban desert skies. It was a weekend that provided memories to last a lifetime. But fear not, Saudi Arabia. The beast is coming back – and soon. Because while the lights may be going out in Riyadh, they are being switched fully on in Jeddah for BALAD BEAST in January, a stunning spectacle in the traditional courtyards of the city on the Red Sea.

Thursday night saw the likes of Tiësto, Metallica, R3HAB, Calvin Harris, and more than 60 other artists flock to the Saudi desert for the fourth edition of the festival. Where the opening night was filled with elite performances across all eight stages.

Friday was filled with a wide range of different music styles from EDM superstars like Martin Garrix and Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa. Along with local talent such as Hakeem, Hamid El Shari and Fulana.

The Saturday of Soundstorm 2023 witnessed an extraordinary assault of musical brilliance on BIG Beast, headlined by the legendary DJ Steve Aoki, international sensation David Guetta, and the iconic Swedish Trio, Swedish House Mafia. Adding to the star-studded lineup was the presence of American rap 50 Cent, who brought an electrifying energy to the festival’s closing day.

Afrojack, Alan Walker, Armin van Buuren, J Balvin, and local talents like Sound of Yaz and Dalia Mubark contributed to transforming the last day of Soundstorm into a magical and unforgettable experience on secondary stages. Their unique sounds and captivating performances resonated with the audience, creating an atmosphere that will be etched in the memories of attendees until the next edition of the festival.

The festival, now in its fourth year has gone from strength to strength and is only continuing that trajectory. It has laid down a marker of quality and consistency that the rest of the MENA region can follow while building and encouraging the music industry around it. International DJ Superstar Steve Aoki had the following to say when he sat down for a press conference with international journalists during the festival. “ I love coming here, I love the crowd and watching the culture here grow and expand. It’s been amazing to see it from day one when things first started to open up. I’ve really gotten to experience it all first hand. When I think about coming here it’s not just about playing a show. It’s about laying a footprint and being part of this amazing growth at this early stage”.

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