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Updated 25 November 2021

The birthplace and spiritual home of Islam, Saudi Arabia, is synonymous with pilgrimages, rich attractions and stirring symbolism. In 2019, as Saudi Arabia opened its doors to international travellers for the grand celebratory festival of the Saudi Seasons, it re-established itself from what was once a tourist’s final frontier into a hotspot.

Of the 11 Seasons, one of the most popular seasons is set in Riyadh, the showpiece of modern Saudi Arabia, aptly called the Riyadh Season (موسم الرياض). The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has announced that the much-awaited festival will be celebrated this year bringing art, theatre, food and action to the capital of Saudi.

If you, like everyone else, are dying to know more about this year’s Riyadh Season, keep reading.

What is the Riyadh Season?

Scenes from Riyadh Season 2019

Spanning over 5 months, the Riyadh Season is primarily a city-wide celebration of the city in itself and in the larger context, Saudi Arabia and its people. It is one of the many initiatives taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to boost economic and tourist activity, with a focus on non-religious tourism.

The initiative falls in line with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030, as Saudi Arabia moves towards a progressive future. International travellers can now easily visit Saudi as the kingdom has aimed to boost tourism through the quick and simple process of procuring an e-visa.

Over 100 events, concerts and adventures are brought all over Riyadh in celebration of the entire nation under a unifying theme.

In the first season held in 2019, 12 zones were set up for the festivities and multiple events, from a BTS K-Pop concert, WWE Crown Jewel, Cirque du Soleil to Comic-Con took place in efforts to appeal to a large and diverse global audience.

When is Riyadh Season 2021?

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of General Authority for Entertainment (GEA) has announced the launching of the Riyadh Season 2021 from October 20. This year’s event is expected to run from October 2021 to March 2022 under the slogan #Imagine_More.

What events can we expect for Riyadh Season 2?

This year’s Riyadh Season, also dubbed the Riyadh Season 2 was announced to commence from 20 October 2021 and to compensate for the COVID-19 induced shut down of last year’s events, the Saudi Government has decided to go bigger than ever; around 20 million people are projected to attend the festival.

Scenes from Riyadh Season 2019

Based on the announcements made by the head of the General Authority for Entertainment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Counselor Turki Al-Sheikh, Riyadh Season 2 is scheduled to be held in an area of ​​5 million and 400,000 square meters, in 14 zones, and the season as a whole will include the establishment of an astounding 7,500 events.

Boulevard Riyadh City will be presenting a food and family hub; other noteworthy districts include Winter Wonderland and Via Riyadh, providing a family leisure area, hotels, cinemas, retail shops and more. For more entertainment, you can head over to the desert dunes of Riyadh Oasis and the cultural hub of Khalooha.

The Avalanche located at the Boulevard Riyadh City zone has already attained two international certificates by the Guinness Book of Records. Avalanche is the tallest fun slide, holding the record of having the most lanes on a fun slide.

The apparent highlight of this year is 70 Arab concerts, in addition to 6 international concerts, along with the establishment of the WWE Crown Jewel match that took place on 21 October at Mohammed Abdu Arena. For the culinary program, 200 restaurants and 70 cafés have signed up to join.

The Riyadh Season parade will feature various shows and parade floats. This event will be held at Boulevard Riyadh City, broadcasting popular music artists like David Guetta and rapper Pitbull as part of the Riyadh Season Opening Parade.

One of the biggest musical festivals in the city – Soundstorm, will make a comeback on 16 December at Jax in Riyadh’s art district. Regional and international artists including Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, DJ Snake, and Jeff Mills will be part of the initial line-up.

Riyadh Front Zone will be hosting around nine international shows for different age groups. Three festivals have already been held at Riyadh Front, including the Jewelry Salon – featuring the most expensive mask globally, the Rush Gaming Festival and the Riyadh Toy festival, where children met their favourite TV characters.

Theatre lovers can satiate their love for drama and poetry by engaging themselves in 350 theatre shows, 18 Arab plays, 6 international plays and a poetry festival. The Egyptian Orchestra will also be putting on a grand musical on 28 November.

A tournament has been announced, involving two international football matches featuring the star-studded Paris Saint-Germain side alongside local clubs Al Hilal and Al Nassr.

It is also noteworthy to mention that 100 interactive experiences and 10 international exhibitions will be held.

 

Riyadh Season tickets

Each year, the Riyadh Season begins in October. The target audience is wide-ranging. In addition to a home crowd, it also aims to attract up to 100,000 international visitors. It puts on a huge range of entertainment, cultural events, and investment opportunities events. Most of the events are offered free of charge while some require tickets, and will be listed on the Riyadh Season website.

Add Riyadh Season tickets to the Tawakkalna app

The Tawakkalna app has launched a new feature that allows Riyadh season patrons to add their tickets to the app. The initiative has been taken by the government to offer safe and protected activities for all.

There are two ways you can add your Riyadh season tickets to the Tawakkalna App:

  • After purchasing the ticket online, click on share it with Tawakkalna App.
  • Your ticket will then show up in the ‘Events’ section of the Tawakkalna App.

Alternatively: 

  • While purchasing your tickets online you will be asked to enter a Tawakkalna passcode.
  • Go to Tawakkalna App > Passcode > Tawakkalna Passcode
  • Click on ‘Generate Passcode’
  • Enter the Passcode
  • Your ticket will then show up in the ‘Events’ section of the Tawakkalna App.

 

COVID-19 related safety measures

Seventeen months after the country started to recover from the pandemic with an accelerated vaccination campaign and strict health protocols in public spaces, Saudi Arabia is ready to start its entertainment seasons again for a society to quench its thirst for entertainment.

With low new cases and some 54 percent of the population having been fully immunized, Saudi Arabia considers it to be safe for conducting this public festival. It is also noteworthy that the Kingdom has started receiving vaccinated foreign tourists since August and allowed citizens to travel abroad from last May, in a clear indication that the health crisis is managed well in the country with low rates of infections.

This page will be constantly updated as and when new developments unfold.