Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

New Year’s Eve celebration in Saudi cancelled due to licensing issues

The outdoor event was set to feature musical performances as well as a fireworks display

Business outlook for Saudi Arabia in 2020 remains strong, according to IHS Markit report. Courtesy Bloomberg
Business outlook for Saudi Arabia in 2020 remains strong, according to IHS Markit report. Courtesy Bloomberg

A New Year’s Eve celebration planned to take place in the Saudi capital Riyadh has been cancelled, with authorities stating that the event was unlicensed.

The event was advertised for Tuesday, December 31 in Malham just north of Riyadh, and was organised by the tourism company Shamal. They had promised a New Year's Eve countdown, a firework display and music performances. The organisers had also said there would be buggy drifting and paint ball.

While at the time of publishing, tickets priced at SAR460 (Dh450) were still on sale on the Platinumlist website and advertised on Shamal's Instagram account, Saudi Arabia's General Entertainment Authority issued a statement on December 27 declaring that the event won’t go ahead and that organisers are set to face regulatory action.

“The General Authority for Entertainment would like to point out that it did not license the celebration of New Year’s Eve in Malham Centre in the province of Houraymalaa in Riyadh as was circulated recently on social media platforms,” said the statement.

“The authority asserts that the organiser has been deterred and that the region of Riyadh is summoned to take the regulative procedures against him.”

Riyadh citizens are not bereft of options, however, as the capital will see a concert by arguably the kingdom’s biggest music star, the crooner Mohammed Abdou, on New Year's Eve. The concert will start at 10pm and be at the 22,000 seat Mohammed Abdou theatre on Riyadh Boulevard. Tickets cost from 183 SAR (Dh179) to 5,250 SAR.

There will also be general festivities at newly opened hangouts the Riyadh Musical Fountain at the Riyadh Boulevard and the family park Winter Wonderland.

These New Year's Eve events are all part of the ongoing Riyadh Season: launched by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in October, the ongoing festival has featured more than 100 various events, ranging from a concert by K-pop stars BTS to a stage adaption of the classic Disney film Aladdin, and a range of pop-up restaurants by international eateries.

This month, Riyadh Season made international headlines by hosting the biggest dance music festival in the Arab world. Running from December 19-21, MDL Beast welcomed more than 150,000 people for sets by DJs David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Afrojack among many others.

More information on Riyadh Season is available on riyadhseason.sa

Updated: December 29, 2019 04:25 PM

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