Situated on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, stands Al-Balad, Jeddah’s Old City, where culture and commerce has thrived for nearly 1,400 years. In 2014, after years of steady decline Al-Balad earned its place on UNESCO World Heritage Preservation List, securing an important piece of Saudi culture for future generations. MDLBEAST, an entertainment company anchored in the Kingdom, was looking to forge new traditions, and wanted to create a need-to-see-it-to-believe-it music and art festival in Al-Balad where the past and present would converge in perfect harmony. Designing a next-level immersive event in the middle of an active marketplace (Souq) that also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, well that took some ingenuity and a whole lot of planning.
We navigated the narrow pathways of this ancient city and got to work pulling off the impossible. Addressing a host of incredibly complicated infrastructure and logistical issues to build a breathtaking brandscape that became a canvas for digital artists. Balad Beast, a multisensory masterpiece where for 2 days, 81 artists entertained across 5 stages as motion graphics moved over doors and walls, showering this UNESCO World Heritage site with sensational stories straight out of Saudi culture. It took 22 artists from Sydney, Dubai, the UK, and Thailand, working around the clock (the equivalent of 420 days) to create the colorful content that was projection mapped onto Al-Balad’s famed exteriors. This World UNESCO Heritage site was a feast for the senses, as synchronized art and music enveloped festival attendees – captivating. To pull this off, we utilized one of the largest non-cinematic render farms in Australia to produce 72 hours of motion graphics – never repeating, transforming this landscape along with our 5 distinct stages into an otherworldly dreamscape. To elevate the experience, we built 4 VIB (very important beast) platforms where patrons could enjoy stellar sightlines of the stages from way above the crowds and we converted 8 historic houses into luxe VIB lounges that offered up refreshments and gourmet delights. To appeal to a hometown audience, we brought in 35 local artists and paired them with top-tier talent from around the globe, performing on stages ladened with architectural and cultural elements pulled from the city’s rich history. It took a team of 2,000 working on the ground to bring this ambitious project to life, able to deliver a phenomenal patron experience along with a festival that won’t be forgotten.
Not only did this immersive festival make history it delivered brilliantly for MDLBEAST generating 146 headlines including Esquire Middle East, GQ, The National, Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia, and Arab News, reaching 285M and fueling a social media frenzy that generated 277M impressions and 13.1M clicks. 56 local influencers, 32 of which were female, helped to support MDLBEAST’s marketing initiatives with a pre-event push that sent ticket sales soaring – reaching 6.3M+, delivering 8.1M+ impressions on Snapchat at Instagram. This brilliant brand activation had creativity playing out in crevasses and courtyards, helping to persevere Al-Balad’s rich traditions while forging new ones. Making what’s old new again.
Cosmopolitan Middle East: "Balad Beast kicked off one of the best events Jeddah has ever seen – We have FOMO"
Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia: "– Balad Beast: An Electrifying Experience Of Music, Dance And Live Performances"
Esquire Middle East: "Balad Beast festival lit up Jeddah for a weekend"