RIYADH: More than 2,000 people attended the boutique electronic music festival “Freaks of Nature” this weekend as the festival lit up the night sky in Riyadh.
The two-day festival, organized by Saudi creative agency Disrupt, featured two stages, an art exhibition, a camping experience and an entertainment village with pop-up food and clothes stores.
The festival took place in Ammariyah, west of Riyadh, with tickets sold on the website for SR700 ($187) for one day or SR1,200 ($320) for the party weekend package that included all access to the festival and its entertainment zones. The camping experience granted people access to a pre-pitched tent at the “Freakville” camping zone.
The organizers said the aim of the festival was to “promote new artists, empower talented creatives and change the creative culture across the country.”
With an indoor main stage and vibrant outdoor area, the festival presented a range of artists that included English four-deck DJ James Hype, the “mashup-king” WeDamnz from the Netherlands and a strong lineup of local artists, complete with strong visuals and flamboyant costumes.
“This was an epic festival,” said Yazeed Al-Hashim, chief disruption officer at Disrupt Group. “It was great to see so many creative people coming together to experience all types of music, the art exhibition and the pop-ups we had on offer. This shows what is possible for music and entertainment in Saudi as it continues to grow and evolve into a thriving industry where talent gets the chance to shine.”
Both nights featured sets from each act, spread over two stages. The main stage kicked off with Aziz.wav, Frozen, and Rash performing sets, before Frozen and Rash returned to combine their talents for an exclusive back-to-back set featuring a creative mash-up of styles.
Cosmicat and Soul carried on the good vibes by joining forces to delight the crowd with a set packed with ambient builds leading to an intense drop. The sound of Yaz and ARX was up next, letting loose with a euphoric set of festival anthems.
WeDamnz closed the show with an exceptional mash-up mix, going back and forth between styles and genres to entertain the crowd before a triumphant crescendo.
Yasir, ARX, Lesad, Mariam Arab, Dr. Shadow, and Bigg3 performed on the underground stage throughout the night, leading to Igniter bringing the festival to a triumphant end with his blend of Tech and Minimal House, going back and forth between decks to build to a fantastic close.
“Everyone brought their very best and put on an amazing show for the audience on both nights. I would also like to thank James Hype and WeDamnz for coming over, and MDL Beast for their continued support. We are all looking forward to the next event,” Al Hashim added.
The first day of the festival was interrupted by a three-hour power outage.
“Just when we were about to start, a power outage across the whole area hit us and shut down the power at the venue. But luckily we had the sound and visuals in a backup generator that pulled the crowd to the dance floor,” said Al-Hashim.
The festival also brought together local artists for a live wall painting by Big50, who created a huge mural during the festival, and art installations by Euphoria and Riyadh String Art. Gaze by Leen, Miish Art, and Aesthetic are also exhibited over the two days.
At the pop-up concept store, local clothing brands Forty7, Foshostore, and Gleamsby were promoting the very latest in festival wear throughout.