Thousands of young fans gathered in the Saudi capital Friday to cheer for Korean pop group BTS in its debut in the conservative Islamic country, as the opening performance of Riyadh Season, taking place between 11 October and 16 December.
The 70,000-seat King Fahd International Stadium witnessed an enthusiastic performance dance from the seven-boy band with young fans, both girls and boys, raving about the experience.
Riyadh Season is one of the kingdom’s 11 festival seasons that occur throughout the year, hosting many known pop artists, including Bruno Mars, Pitbull, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams, and Usher.
The entertainment gala will see plenty of activities in parallel to music and theatrical shows, including tens of cultural and lifestyle forums and exhibitions.
Egypt is strongly represented in the festival through an activity called Layali Al Mahrosa, "where it will feel like you are walking the streets of Egypt's ancient district, Al-Hussein, having authentic Egyptian food and enjoying a selection of Egyptian singers," as the organisers described.
Each season features a different theme to highlight different aspects of Saudi Arabia’s heritage and culture. The most recent festivals were Jeddah Season, a six-week entertainment programme that ran from 8 June to 18 July, and Al-Soudah Season, which included the Flowerman Festival.
Saudi Arabia is currently loosening decades-old restrictions on entertainment as part of a push to improve its image and attract tourists in a broader plan to diversify its economy away from oil.
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