We have heard many different rules in Saudi Arabia that we probably wouldn’t find in other parts of the world. However, while you can still debate about the efficacies of the other rules, there is one rule that has caught even the most conservatives by surprise.
In an unprecedented move, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia prohibited dancing or swaying at music concerts. This came in at a time when people thought things are at last heading for a change in the conservative country. The move is aimed at ensuring that even when music festivals do take place, you don’t have any dancing around.
Understanding the Implications of the Announcement
It is only recently that the Prince Mohammed bin Salman has lifted age-old bans on music festivals, television, and movies. The administration cited economic potential of entertainment which could give the economy a boost which is facing a downward trend after plummeting global oil prices. It created a sense of respite among the few artists and musicians who can now hope to perform live in front of their fans.
Music Events and What It Could Have Meant for Saudi Arabia
The move to have music festivals was loved by many, especially since there was a new source of entertainment.
Music lovers were overjoyed as they could for the first time listen to stars like the renowned Greek composer Yanni and Hiba Tawaji from Lebanon. Their excitement could be seen as the audience broke spontaneously into dances irrespective of their gender. But happy times don’t seem to last and the Prince had already faced stiff opposition from hardliner Muslim religious leaders for his ease on entertainment bans.
The recent concert by Tamer Hosny, the Egyptian pop legend on March 30 at the Saudi city of Jeddah was the first place to fall under the purview of the dancing ban. Fans were shocked to see the warning on their tickets which mentioned dancing was strictly prohibited during the event. Men and women are going to have separate seating areas designated for them.
The ban was issued by the General Entertainment Authority who expressed that dancing can lead to distraction of other members of the audience and annoy them. They wanted music festivals to be held according to the national identity of the country. They further added that everyone should look to spread joy without offending the public taste.
Fans took to social media portals like Twitter to express their discontent and made a mockery of the ban. But that doesn’t change the high intolerance that the country still has towards arts mostly when it deals with controversial subjects. In March, six persons were arrested in Cairo for holding a play portraying the role of a Saudi police officer who gunned down many Israeli tourists in 1985. The authorities considered the act as a treason and held them guilty for defaming the police and the army.
The lift on bans from music festivals is surely a great step, but taking away the dancing part ruins the whole experience of enjoying music.