Jay Z, Chris Rock, David Beckham, Phantom of the Opera, NBA and a bull run are all coming to Saudi Arabia soon
The kingdom has announced a large variety of events – from comedy and circuses to sports and musicals, there will be more than 50 things happening
Last year, Saudi Arabia screened Marvel's Black Panther and hosted gigs by David Guetta, The Black Eyed Peas and Enrique Iglesias – and it looks like they are set to really amp things up this year.
Turki Al Sheikh, the director of the Saudi Entertainment Authority, has announced that the kingdom wants to be one of the world's top 10 entertainment destinations in the near future.
In an important development, the government announced that they would offer licences for live performances in smaller venues, like cafes and restaurants, which will help to create a homegrown, indie entertainment scene. “From now on, issuing licences to organise live events, music performances, acrobatic shows, stand-up comedies in restaurants and coffee shops in the kingdom, will be allowed," Mr Al Sheikh announced. "Saudi nationals will have priority to receive the licence.”
On Tuesday, the Saudi Entertainment Authority announced a variety of new shows, gigs, events and more, all of which are reportedly planned to hit the kingdom soon.
While location and timing details of many of the events aren't yet confirmed, here is what Twitter account @SaudiProject revealed, or reminded us of, last night:
DJ Khaled, Jay Z and Amr Diab are all slated to perform live, but the exact dates have yet to be announced.
There will be a lot of comedy: Gabriel Iglesias, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Seth Rogen and Trevor Noah have all been announced to perform stand up gigs.
Eight gaming tournaments
The Kingdom will host tournaments in online fantasy game DOTA 2, Fifa, League of Legends, Fortnite and Overwatch, among others.
There will be a show by the famous Russian circus Nikulin as well as the American circus 1903.
Cirque du Soleil
The famous Montreal show will come to town in 2019 (remember, there will be a performance in Abu Dhabi in March too).
The musicals, many of them Broadway and West End productions, coming to Saudi Arabia include Peter Pan, Cavalia, Jersey Boys, Thriller Live, The Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin and The Lion King.
Saudi Arabia has announced that the world's most famous illusionists will fly in, including Dynamo, David Copperfield, David Blane, Penn and Teller and The Illusionists.
The Strongest Man
The popular display of brute force will add Saudi Arabia to its tour.
They will apparently put on a version of Running with the Bulls, the famous Spanish event which has origins dating back to the 14th century.
The kingdom announced a new partnership to bring NBA games to Saudi: how many and which teams we don't yet know.
David Beckham and Zidane
Big football stars, including the two legends, will apparently fly in for some friendly matches.
The monster truck festival will come to the country.
After Umm Kulthum performs at Al Ula this weekend, there will be hologram shows created for the music of the late Talal Madah and Abu Bakr Salem.
The famous wax museum will open in Saudi, according to the announcement.
The Colour Run
There will be a colour-filled fun run, held some time this year, or perhaps early next year.
A golf tournament
The Saudi International golf tournament will feature Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka. It will take place from January 31 to February 3 in King Abdullah Economic City.
A Vox Cinema
A Vox cinema hall will open on Monday, January 28.
Quran recitation festival
The prizes for this, which will take place during Ramadan, will exceed Dh7.8 million. There will also be a competition for the most beautiful athaan voice. The latter will be held in Madinah, and participants will include Muslims from all over the world.
The Omar ibn al-Khattab competition
This youth-focused competition will involve singing, shooting and horse riding.
The Hijra competition
This will involve a trek from Makkah to Madinah - following in the steps of the Prophet Mohammed. The route is around 500 kilometres long.
There will a permanent drifting area built, where motorists can practice their swerving skills.
Takeshi's Castle & The Crystal Maze
The Voice and Arab's Got Talent
Both singing competition TV shows will get their own, Saudi-specific versions.
Ultimate Soldiers Challenge
This obstacle course TV show will start to be filmed in Saudi.
Marvel stage shows
The Disney franchise will bring superhero shows to KSA: we don't have much more detail on what the shows will involve.
Frozen stage show
Sticking with Disney, the musical Broadway version of the fan favourite will come to the stage.
Jurassic Park live show
You can expect animatronic dinosaurs at this one.
Harry Potter in concert
This is a favourite at Dubai Opera (it's returning there soon), and it will come to Saudi this year.
Transformers live show
This will be full of large-scale Transformers models.
This food festival will tour the country, and be held in more than one city.
They've also announced that they will erect large tents in 20 cities that will feature restaurants, cafes and large movie screens that will play football games and movies. There will also be open air cinemas.
The moving clown show will have a Saudi run.
This will be a treetop adventure park.
So, clearly, there is a lot happening: we will keep you updated as more details become available.
Updated: January 23, 2019 03:27 PM