Jeddah Season 2022: Saudi city’s festival of culture and entertainment set to return with promise of “lovely days”
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is gearing up for two months of art, entertainment and culture with the launch of the second edition of Jeddah Season.
Under the slogan “Our lovely days,” the National Events Center unveiled preparations for Jeddah Season 2022 on Saturday night.
Running from May to June, the season will offer a packed schedule of 2,800 events reflecting Jeddah’s rich culture and heritage, as well as its growing status as a major regional tourist destination.
The season returns following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the Kingdom to suspend public events in the interests of public safety.
Jeddah Season will be made up of nine zones designated to host various events: Jeddah’s Superdome, Al-Jawhara Stadium, Jeddah Jungle, Jeddah Yacht Club, Jeddah Art Promenade, Jeddah Pier, Prince Majid Park, City Walk and Al-Balad.
Highlights will include nightly fireworks displays on Jeddah’s promenade, K-pop performances, a science festival, and a performance by Cirque du Soleil Fuzion created especially for Jeddah Season.
“We’ve partnered with the company and they have come up with a show specifically for the event,” Nawaf Kumsani, general manager of Jeddah Season, told a press conference at Jeddah Yacht Club late on Saturday.
“The show will be a month long. Tickets will be available soon.”
Jeddah Jungle zone will feature the Kingdom’s biggest zoo, while the City Walk zone will host a major comic-con event for anime lovers. A range of new restaurants and cafes, amusement parks, and concerts and plays performed by Arab and international theater companies are also planned.
“Jeddah Season 2022 will provide many job opportunities for those who want to participate,” Kumsani added.
Among its schedule of world-class entertainment, the season will feature performances by international artists. If 2019’s lineup is anything to go by, visitors are sure to have a memorable time.
“My friends and I were obsessed with the Backstreet Boys in high school,” Zaina, 38, from Dammam, told Arab News. “So you could imagine the excitement when in 2019 my friends and I heard they were coming to Jeddah.
“I packed my bags, bid farewell to the husband, took the children and dropped them off at my mother’s, and went with a girl gang of 14 to the concert. It was the time of our lives, and we’ll do it again,” she said.
“Hopefully this season will be just as exciting.”
The return of Jeddah Season comes on the back of an extremely successful five-month run of Riyadh Season, which recorded 15 million visits to a host of cultural and recreational activities in the Saudi capital.
“Different from Riyadh Season and other areas, we focus more on sustainability, and we want to export all these entertainment and cultural activities from Jeddah to the world,” Kaswara Al-Khatib, chairman of the NEC, told the press conference in response to a question from Arab News.
“At the conclusion of the 2019 season and by the end of that year, we looked closely at how we could include sustainability in how we organize and select the events and activities for the next season,” he added.
The festival will provide the backdrop to the official opening of the Jeddah Yacht Club over the Eid holiday and Prince Majid Park, which will hold weekly bazaars, art exhibits and a fair.
Al-Khatib said that Jeddah Season will add to the city’s already growing reputation as a global destination for major sporting and cultural events.
“We just concluded the F1 races and before that the International Red Sea Film Festival, so there are many events that go with the season’s theme,” he said.
“As a city, it will bear witness to all kinds of sports, cultural, and entertainment events activated throughout the year.”
Jeddah Season is part of a national strategic initiative called Saudi Seasons, launched to enrich public life in the Kingdom and set the stage for the country’s emergence as a major tourism destination.
The NEC has been tasked with achieving the Saudi Vision 2030 goal of expanding the events calendar, and diversifying the Kingdom’s economy into the entertainment, sports, tourism and cultural industries.
In doing so, Saudi Arabia aims to improve the overall quality of life, create a dynamic modern economy, broaden the horizons and career opportunities for young Saudis, and become a world leader in culture and entertainment.