MDL Beast took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from December 19th-21st, and over 400,000 revelers attended over the course of the three days. Between unheard-of back-to-back sets, a focus on local talent, and more big-name DJs than had ever graced a Saudi lineup, it's no exaggeration to say that the debut event marked the beginning of something quite special.
Entertainment offerings were split across five stages. The largest, dubbed Big Beast, was more massive than any other festival stage constructed in 2019, and amassed crowds of up to 45,000. Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Tiësto and Sebastian Ingrosso were among the superstars who graced its monolithic DJ booth.
Three stages comprising the Underground Beast district gave electronic music fans who wanted to go deeper a separate experience from the main stage. Each one was built from shipping containers and covered in graffiti by local artists, capturing the postmodern allure of underground dance culture.
Last but not least was the chill out stage, Down Beast. Artists like Lady Lou, Dokkan, Hatoon and Usif provided serene soundscapes for any attendees seeking respite from the excitement of the rest of the event.
Something that truly set MDL Beast apart was how various forms of artwork adorned the grounds. In addition to LED installations throughout the site, light parades and illuminated drumming troupes provided an unprecedented audiovisual experience for those who found their way to The Arts Beast district. Not only that, but festivalgoers in need of retail therapy had access to world-class culinary delights and garments from renowned fashion designers.
"What the team here in Saudi have created has surpassed even my wildest dreams, turning an international vision for a world class festival and elevating it to a whole new level with every conceivable detail," said MDL Beast Creative Director John Rash. "I am honored to have been part of such an incredible landmark moment, not just in Saudi history but for international festivals going forward. Watch this space, the Beast will be back!"
The 2020 edition of MDL Beast has yet to be formally announced. More information will be made available on the event website.