The Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal

A Saudi rave sparks debate over kingdom’s cultural transformation

By Donna Abdulaziz

31 Dec 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

A recent music festival in Jeddah drew an audience of around 25,000 young ravers. It also added fuel to a debate about whether Saudi Arabia is changing too much, too soon, the Journal reports

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia—Pulsating purple lights played across the traditional coral stone- and-wood facades of buildings in the center of this ancient Saudi port city on the Red Sea while electronic music boomed and young men and women in jeans and glittery tops danced with glow sticks.

The recent music festival in Jeddah’s Al-Balad neighborhood drew an audience of around 25,000 celebrating young people. It also stirred criticism of a rapid cultural shift in the kingdom being pushed by its day-to-day ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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