Until 2018, men and women were forbidden from attending music concerts – or any type of public entertainment together in Saudi Arabia. When the ban was lifted, people were looking to express themselves through dance, music, and art fueling a rising storm. MDLBEAST, an entertainment company anchored in the Kingdom, wanted to harness that energy to create a multi-genre music festival – powered by people. An event so deeply rooted in music, entertainment, innovation, and community, that it would shatter stereotypes and become a cultural catalyst for Saudi youth.
Fueled by a rising storm, we got to work building – well – a small city in the desert of Banban, 40km outside of Riyadh. Then, we filled the 5.3 sq km boldly designed festival site with over-the-top immersive entertainment, stunning works of art, and heart-pounding experiences – showcasing the very best of Saudi arts and culture. The doors opened on something truly ground-shaking. 200 artists. 7 spectacular stages and 2 lounges. 3 days of music. Where joy was amplified, and live energy unleashed. The jaw-dropping Big Beast broke records in pyrotechnics as international A-list artists including Bruno Mars, Post Malone, DJ Khaled, and Saudi’s first female DJ, Cosmicat, dazzled from center stage, as over 1000 aerial drones danced in the night sky. 4 Underground clubs featuring the work of 15 graffiti artists were a visual feast for the senses with fire, lasers, and lighting bisecting bold geometric forms to create a truly electric atmosphere. Attendees’ energy was turned into art as roving performers ignited the crowds. Newfound friendships were forged under preserved palm trees that swayed in cool greenspaces, where people powered up under the warm glow of sustainable solar lighting. Guests got their glam on, tested their skills with carnival-styled games, tuned into sports action, and found the latest streetwear styles in MDLTOWN. 24 premium sponsorship activations that included Porsche, Ray-Ban, Pepsi, Benefit Cosmetics, and Adidas offered patrons a plethora of interactive possibilities. This need-to-see-it-to-believe-it event required us to up the ante, designing an elevated VIP experience that literally had these very special guests hovering way above the crowds on a network of interconnected walkways that crisscrossed the festival grounds, providing access to luxe lounges, acrobats, magicians, and ultra-premium viewing boxes.
Soundstorm was a sold-out music festival like no other – unparalleled in every way.
An activation so powerful the world took notice, capturing headlines in VICE, Forbes, Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia, Marie Claire Arabia, Cosmopolitan Middle East, and The National, it generated over 580 articles helping it to reach a global audience of 457 million. MDLBEAST’s social shined bright with a 42.3M audience reach, 917K engagements, and delivering 29.7K new followers. Billboard, CNN Arabic, Almadin, and Asharq News all pushed out dynamic social content that fanned FOMO feelings and fueled the rising storm. Not only did Soundstorm herald in the next generation of live branded experiences, it solidified MDLBEAST's reputation as an entertainment powerhouse and dominant force on the world stage.
Daily Mail: “The energy was so wild’: More than 600,000 people attend star-studded MDLBEAST Soundstorm festival in Saudi Arabia”
CNN: “Why the birthplace of Islam is hosting one of the world’s biggest raves”
Marie Claire: “We are witnessing a radical and positive change in the artistic and music scene”
WSJ: ‘EYE ON THE UNEXPECTED A Music Festival to Inspire the World”
Most importantly, this high-octane, barrier-breaking, immersive music festival helped to drive change in Saudi Arabia and shattered global perceptions through music.
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