From music to art and food, discover these 7 must-try festivals in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is brimming with creativity and culture, and there are few better ways to experience it than by attending a local festival. Whether you want to pay homage to the country’s eclectic arts scene, dance all day in the desert to electronic music, or be able to say you attended the world’s largest date festival, there will be a festival for you. Participate in traditional rituals, embrace the local way of life, and celebrate the best of Saudi Arabia at one of these seven festivals that take place across the country throughout the year.

Soundstorm Electronic Music Festival

From DJs to live performances and light shows, MDL Beast’s Soundstorm Festival is a must-try

(visiting Saudi Arabia)

Every year, the Saudi desert turns into the ultimate dance-filled festival at the famous Soundstorm Festival at MDL BEAST, which takes place on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh. Dance two steps your way through four fantastic days of the hottest electronic music in the industry in December, with a creative line-up of nearly 200 regional and international artists, delivering the best of electronic dance music. Last year’s festival hosted over 700,000 participants, and this year looks like it will be even bigger. A truly unforgettable experience.

Red Sea International Film Festival

Learn about the Saudi film scene at the Red Sea International Film Festival in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old City of Jeddah, the definitive festival for filmmakers and the global film industry. The event is one of the largest of its kind in the country, bringing together movie fans and movie stars and giving them a glimpse into what’s happening across the industry. It’s also a great way to get a first look at some of the biggest blockbusters before they hit the big screen.

AlUla Arts Festival

This seven-week festival is a celebration of all art forms, from cutting-edge contemporary works to ancient art that has been preserved for thousands of years. Previous festivals have seen epic large-scale installations by local and international artists, interactive painting shows, immersive vocal dance performances, and even a one-man band playing to the sounds of the ticking of clocks and the chime of coins. The event is a celebration of all things creative and honors the amazing theater art scene prominent across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Eid Food Festival

(visiting Saudi Arabia)

Learn about local gastronomy, ingredients and food heritage at the Saudi Food Festival in the country’s historic district of Jeddah. The festival, organized by the Saudi Culinary Arts Authority, is a place where Saudi chefs can showcase their culinary creativity and skills in an educational and entertaining environment. The event consists of interactive and informative workshops and experiences as well as talks alongside experts in the Saudi food scene. There is also a dedicated dining area where you can sample over 35 different traditional dishes for a true dining adventure.

Janadriyah Festival

If you are looking to sink your teeth into Arab history and culture, then the Janadriyah Festival outside of Riyadh is the place for you. Held since 1985, the event is a celebration of all things Saudi, from camel racing and falconry to Arabic cuisine and traditional arts and crafts. The event lasts for two weeks and attracts more than one million visitors from all over the world each year. Immerse yourself in the Saudi lifestyle and sip on classic cardamom tea while enjoying great performances from folklore bands and dancers.

Historic Jeddah Festival

Historic Jeddah Festival is an annual festival held in the western historical district of Al-Balad in Jeddah, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The festival brings an exciting energy to the beautiful old quarter and celebrates the rich culture and heritage of Jeddah and its people. The festival, which takes place on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, aims to encourage visitors to explore this wonderful corner of Saudi Arabia as well as its ancient architecture and tourist attractions.

Buraidah Dates Festival

Enjoy a food adventure at Buraidah Dates Festival, where you can try thousands of date dishes

(visiting Saudi Arabia)

The annual Buraidah Dates Festival is held in the heart of Saudi agricultural land in the Qassim region of Buraidah, and is a celebration of one of its most important natural resources. Wherever you are in Saudi Arabia, one thing is for sure: dates will never be short. They are in every store and in every way – soaked in molasses, stuffed with nuts and even covered in chocolate, and the palm trees they grow are scattered all over the country. The festival is the largest of its kind in the world with more than 1,000 merchants present for sale displaying their unique shapes of the fruit.

From its diverse terrain to its thriving arts and music scene, delicious food and natural wonders to travel for, Saudi Arabia is ready and waiting for you to discover it. For more amazing and uncommon ideas of places to see, experiences to try, and places to stay, check out Visit Saudi Arabia