January 29, 2023

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Arab women find a voice at MDLBeast’s SoundStorm Music Festival

Emerging from their third year in Saudi Arabia, MDLBeast’s SoundStorm Music Festival has grown into the first event of its kind in the country, and it says it is the “loudest in the region”. With a whopping 800,000 visitors, it’s also now the largest music festival in the world, eclipsing world-famous events like Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival and Belgium’s Tomorrowland. With larger attendances and a broader international appeal, the festival is arguably more important to Saudi Arabia than Woodstock was to America in the 1960s. This is an important moment, especially for women in the Middle East. For the first time in centuries, Arab women are expressing themselves through dance, but this is just the beginning. You can also help throw the party as a member of production or operations. You can even DJ on one of SoundStorm’s seven stages. For young Arab girls, this may be the first time they see such inspiring heroines and role models.

Credit: PD

In conversations with several of these female powerhouses, Your EDM set out to learn more about the voice that women in Saudi Arabia are discovering through the festival. We also wanted to learn a little bit about how this voice is being received both domestically and internationally.

What they had to say shook our perception of the Arab world and encouraged us (in the West) to keep an eye on the event as it continues to influence culture there. If the words of the women below are any indication, we could be witnessing a truly historic moment for the Saudis.

To hear it in their own words, read on!

Arab women find a voice at MDLBeast’s SoundStorm Music FestivalPhoto by Fille Roelants Photography

“I love how everyone was there for their favorite musician and that included a lot of women like my friends Dorar, Kayan and Biirdperson and my personal favorite Eli & Fur. Our Saudi ladies got to show the world they can rock the crowd better than anyone else and they had men and women supporting them and cheering them on in the audience.”

– Cosmicat, headlining at SoundStorm

Photo by Julien Duval

“The truth is that while much of the industry around the world is led by men, women are increasingly taking leadership roles in the industry, both internationally and regionally. I have personally witnessed incredible growth and development of a very confident and ambitious local female workforce who have risen to key positions.”

– Angela Selkirk, Director of Core Planning; Incident Control, Health & Safety and Security

Photo by Julien Duval

“The love and connection [young Arab women] Sharing with us also after the festival is something beautiful to experience and to be a part of it… I feel fortunate and fortunate to witness such historical moments and to be part of the celebration together. [It’s like] everything I ever dreamed of as an artist, I can now achieve.”

– KAYAN, headlining on SoundStorm

Photo by Julien Duval

“The music industry in the Kingdom is undergoing a historic transformation and women will be at the forefront of this empowering development. The number of women I’m seeing entering the Saudi music business is something we’ve never seen before – and this is just the beginning. It is important to note that these opportunities do not exist everywhere in the world, but they do exist here and we women fully embrace them. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

– Nada al-Helabi, Strategy Director at MDLBeast / Program Director at XP Music Feature