MDL Beast Soundstorm (read Middle Beast) is an electronic music festival launched in 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though an edition took place in 2021, the 2022 edition definitely showed a comeback of both artists and festival-goers.
Having been recognized by the organizers as an electronic music festival fan (this year alone, I had the opportunity to attend EDC Las Vegas (USA), Ultra Europe in Split (Croatia) and Tomorrowland in Boom (Belgium), they invited me to come experience the MDL Beast in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to share it with our numerous readers.
For transparency: the invitation included 2 tickets for 3 days of the festival which offered access to the different “Premium” sections of the Festival, including the Premium parking. No other expenses were covered by MDL Beast (airfare, hotel, etc.). For information on how we put together our itinerary, check out my introduction to this trip!
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - History
MDL Beast is a music entertainment company looking to grow the regional scene, created after the success of the first Soundstorm festival in 2019.
Soundstorm is organized in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the largest musical, artistic and cultural festival in the region, bringing together world stars and regional talents.
To give you an order of magnitude: more than 600,000 people attended the 3 days of the festival in 2022! These figures are similar to those of the biggest world festivals of the genre, such as EDC Las Vegas or Tomorrowland.
And world records have even been broken, giving you an idea of the gigantism of Soundstorm like :
- The highest stage (temporary) with more than 41 meters high
- The most LED lights displayed on a single stage: 60 million
- The largest area of LED lights displayed on the Big Beast stage: 4,000 square meters (and this stage is over 200 meters wide)
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - The scenes
During the three nights of the festival (4pm to 3am), 200 artists performed on 7 stages:
- Big Beast
- Down Beast
- Dance Beast
- 4 Underground scenes
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Big Beast
Big Beast is the main stage. The one that holds multiple world records.
Considering the visual effects, the fireworks (and the loudness of the speakers), I advise you to take a step back. You will appreciate the show much better!
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Dance Beast
Dance Beast is a gigantic tent transformed into a nightclub.
The visual effects are also incredible and the sound quality is remarkable.
And we had no trouble being on the front lines!
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Down Beast
Down Beast is a scene where we didn’t spend much time: the music played was more Rap than Electronic Music.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Underground
The Underground area is broken down into 4 stages where well known artists of the Electro House scene like Carl Cox and other artists worth to be known.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Scenery
On the Soundstorm site, circus artists perform for the enjoyment of festival-goers.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Artists
Most of the best Electronic Music artists were present at this edition of Soundstorm 2022 such as :
- Swedish House Mafia
- David Guetta
- DJ Snake
- Timmy Trumpet
- Lost Frequencies
- And many more
There were even stars outside of electronic music like Bruno Mars.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Media Room
Thanks to our media invitations, we had access to the Press Room.
We got to see in press conference David Guetta and Morten about Future Rave.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - The Organization
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Installations
Soundstorm is massive. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other.
For members who have purchased premium tickets, fly over walkways over the crowd allows for faster travel. Here at the very beginning of the evening:
In the Premium section, on the side of the Big Beast stage, several levels are available (rice field type) where you can find sofas, poufs, tables. Confortably ensconced to see the light effects of this incredible scene:
Bars – with non-alcoholic cocktails – are also available:
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Food and Beverages
In the alleys of the Soundstorm 2022 festival, more than 100 food and drink stands were available.
Being used to festivals, I have to say that Soundstorm has set the bar very high in terms of the quality of the food available, equaling (if not exceeding) what can be found at Tomorrowland (renowned in this field).
And what was especially nice at Soundstorm: almost no waiting for food and drink. Both in the General and Premium sections.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Payment on site
It has become the norm for most electronic music festivals: only electronic payments by credit card are allowed at Soundstorm.
I had no trouble using my Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card registered on Apple Pay to pay for my various drinks at the Soundstorm festival.
This credit card has no conversion fee into foreign currency, which avoids the 2.5% fee charged by most other credit cards in Canada.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Sponsors
Porsche, Pepsi, Adidas: many sponsors had booths throughout the Soundstorm Festival. With prizes to be won and goodies offered.
Here, Soundstorm takes example on Tomorrowland (where a BMW stand was present).
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Fireworks
Those who have attended EDC Las Vegas know: the fireworks at the end of the evening are extraordinary.
Well, the Soundstorm ones are on the same level! At the end of the evening, fireworks set the sky on fire from the main stage Big Beast, but also from the other stages at the same time.
Long minutes of explosion in the sky accompanying the main tracks of the artists present (respectively DJ Snake, Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta on the 3 nights).
Check out my story on Instagram to relive the event.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Access and Parking
Contrary to other festivals that have set up Bus Shuttles (Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas), here Soundstorm made the bet of the all-car.
Parking lots are simply gigantic (and included with the festival ticket).
It takes about 45 minutes to reach the site (or to leave it) from downtown Riyadh.
MDL Beast Soundstorm 2022 - Security
Another strong point of the organization: security. Not having attended the previous editions, it is difficult for me to compare.
Soundstorm ran a campaign called“Respect & Reset“, dedicated to improving this aspect that could be lacking in the first few editions.
During Soundstorm 2022, I didn’t see any overflow: security guards sent by the organization were numerous and very visible on all the stages. Some even dancing with the festival-goers. And offering free bottled water to the front row!
The atmosphere was good-natured. And it must be mentionned that the absence of alcohol (or other substances…) helps to avoid some of the excesses that we see elsewhere.
Conjugating Saudi Arabia with an Electronic Music Festival may seem strange at first. But I was VERY pleasantly surprised by Soundstorm:
- A world-class organization
- Quality artists
- Incredible scenes
It remains now to convince the female gender to attend the event. In the Premium section, a certain parity was visually achieved, but the General section was almost exclusively composed of young men.
But that’s part of the game, especially for a country that is opening up more and more to foreign tourists from the region (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon) and internationally.
The next edition of Soundstorm will take place on December 7, 8 and 9, 2023. If you want to participate, you can already buy your tickets here.
- General Admission: 149 SAR (approximately $55)
- Premium admission: 1,129 AR (about $410)
- VIB Admission: SAR 3,349 (approximately $1,220)
Personally, to fully enjoy the Soundstorm festival, I suggest getting the Premium version.