AlUla Dates Festival ends on a sweet note


ALULA: American DJ, producer and rapper Swizz Beatz performed at AlUla on Wheels this weekend, hosting a listening party from a DJ dome overlooking the temporarily installed roller rink.

“Bravo to the Good Intentions movement in construction, my partner Noor – everyone here. We did this like two weeks. This is the Saudi way. The Saudi way is ‘tomorrow’. We have a compilation that call ‘Moya’ and we’re going to play some exclusives from that album. I have one request: if you know how to skate, get on the dance floor and skate,” Swizz Beatz told the crowd.

Good Intentions is a Saudi Arabia-based creative consultancy launched in partnership with Swizz Beatz and Noor Taher.

Over the past few weekends, an abandoned outdoor playground in AlUla has been used to educate locals and visitors young and old about the importance of movement and integrating sound into their spaces. Fittingly, the album’s name, “Moya” – which means “water” in Arabic – also has to do with flow and movement.

The space is home to disco balls, camel-shaped neon lights and a DJ dome. It attracted overseas visitors alongside local residents exploring what was on offer in their own backyards.

“I heard about this event on Snapchat, and honestly it sounds like a lot of fun,” Fayz Alqaeetiu told Arab News with a laugh. “It’s the second time I’ve come…I came last week but haven’t skated yet, I just like to support everyone. I may try skating in the future.

His friend, Swilem Al-Blwie is also from AlUla and they both attended a school not far from the place.

“AlUla is known for its culture and history and it has really changed a lot recently. Now we have festivals and events. It is the vanguard of tourism in Saudi Arabia and it is the face that represents the Arab and Islamic world. The skating rink is one of the best activities offered this season. I hope to learn to skate one day, God willing,” Al-Blwie said.

The Saudi REXCHOUK, known as Rex, was there wearing his “scream mask” to conceal his identity. The New York-trained artist, who created the mural that served as the backdrop for the rink, is well established in the Saudi art scene and his dynamic art centered on Saudi Arabia and the use of color set the mood in a humorous and locally relevant way. .

“This work is inspired by AlUla. He was skate-inspired, music-inspired, disco-inspired, Swizz Beats-inspired and the kind of music he’s going to bring here, and also the ‘Moya’ album release party. I love hip-hop, so when I heard it was going to be here, I was like, ‘Yeah, gotta be here!’ The artwork is inspired by everything we’re going to live and experience this weekend,” Rex told Arab News.

This event and the next album were created in close collaboration with the Kabsa Boys, Adel Al-Ghamdi, Terki Shalhoub and Mohammed Al-Shamsi of the popular podcast “Pass the Kabsa”.

“Moya”, which was performed for the first time in public at the ice rink, was co-produced by Saudi Arabian Nawaf Alalyan – aka Ntitled – and other Saudi artists whose names have not yet been revealed.

Swizz Beatz also served as a producer. The album is being finalized and should be released soon.

Taher was thrilled with the results of the collision of subcultures and the combination of Eastern sensibilities and Western practices that make up AlUla on Wheels.

“I was surprised that people were stepping out of their comfort zone. I have seen walls crumble. I saw a community engage. I saw a grandfather dancing to hip-hop and watching his grandson skate. I’ve seen women fall and laugh and get up. I’ve seen little girls curl around older adults. I saw the confidence in the children. I saw what it was about. It’s really about movement, freedom, wonder and music and it’s amazing that we were able to bring that to AlUla. I can’t wait to bring it to other cities,” Taher said.

“This is the first project that Good Intentions has really led, managed and organised. And I’m super proud of the impact. Skating is a love of Swizz and honestly I can’t say I shared it, but the just being here has opened my eyes,” she said. “I get it, I get it now.”

According to, AlUla on Wheels will return on October 27.


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