Jeddah World Fest a 'turning point' for Saudi youth culture, says organiser

Jeddah World Fest event organisers said concert featuring Janet Jackson and 50 Cent was "overwhelmingly successful"

Nicki Minaj was replaced by Janet Jackson and 50 Cent and organisers have hailed the event a great success
Arabian Business
Nicki Minaj was replaced by Janet Jackson and 50 Cent and organisers have hailed the event a great success

The recent Jeddah World Fest, which included musical stars Janet Jackson, 50 Cent and Liam Payne was “overwhelmingly successful” and marks a “turning point for all youth culturally” in Saudi Arabia, according to the organisers behind last month’s event.

The event garnered global headlines when it was announced controversial singer Nicki Minaj would headline the event at the Red Sea city. Minaj, who is known for her profanity-laced lyrics and raunchy music videos, announced a few days later that “after careful reflection” she was cancelling her performance, sister title Arabian Business reported.

She was replaced by Janet Jackson and 50 Cent and organisers have hailed the event a great success.

The event was organised by Irish production company Roqu Media International and the firm’s president Robert Quirke told The Sunday Times this week that while he was disappointed that Minaj had decided to pull out the event was “overwhelmingly successful [though] extremely challenging given the local circumstances”.

He added that the event, the first of its kind in the kingdom, was a “turning point for all youth culturally” in Saudi Arabia and that the high profile performers “had nothing but positive feedback for the production standard and deeper meaning behind the project”.

$64bn investment
Saudi Arabia is looking to expand its entertainment and the country's General Entertainment Authority said it plans to spend $64 billion on the entertainment sector over the next decade.

“There is a stereotype of the kingdom all over the world, and today it is disappearing. In its place is a new picture of the kingdom, that accepts everyone,” Raed Abuzinada, chief of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority and director general of Jeddah Season, was quoted as saying by Arab News, ahead of the event last month.

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