Glittery party spotlights Saudi era of ‘extreme openness’

It was billed as the Middle East's biggest party -- thousands of revellers bathed in flashing laser lights danced and…

It was billed as the Middle East’s biggest party — thousands of revellers bathed in flashing laser lights danced and swayed to blasting music in the unlikeliest of venues: Saudi Arabia.

The three-day MDL Beast last weekend was the biggest festival ever hosted by the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom — where hardliners have long branded music as sinful — as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pursues a taboo-busting modernisation drive.

Touted by some as Saudi Arabia’s Woodstock, it was not just a lineup of global DJs — from South Africa’s Black Coffee, Dutch star Martin Garrix, and France’s David Guetta — that tested the limits of the kingdom’s cultural revolution.

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