Performance by the world-renowned acrobatic show is one of the largest ever by the troupe
Kingdom marks its 88th National Day on September 23 with an array of public celebrations and spectacular events, including a spectacular fireworks display and a first-of-its-kind concert by the legendary French electronic musician, Jean-Michel Jarre
RIYADH, Sept 24, 2018 (CIC) – Saudi Arabia marked its 88thNational Day on Sunday with public celebrations in the streets and at entertainment venues across the country, sweeping up Saudis in a wave of pride and patriotism.
On Sunday night, Cirque du Soleil, the world-renowned show of acrobats, wove its special magic to King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the company’s debut performance in the Kingdom. It was also one of the largest ever by the troupe and dazzled a mixed crowd of thousands of men, women and children.
The crowd was estimated at 27,000, according to Saudi Arabia’sGeneral Entertainment Authority (GEA) which brought the event organised by MBC Group.
The giant stage – 100 metres long by 40 metres wide – was designed and built specifically for the occasion, it said.
“With a cast and crew of over 300, this is one of the biggest shows we’ve ever done,” said Daniel Fortin, vice president of Creation at Cirque du Soleil.
“The story is centred around the sun and takes place from sunset to sunrise. Everything from the costumes to the stage props was created as an homage to Saudi culture, Fortin said… That’s because “
“You’ll see a lot of Bedouin influences in the staging and in the music. We drew inspiration from a variety of sources, such as traditional Bedouin tents, desert scenery, even the stadium itself.”
The public in the capital were also treated to a first-of-its-kind performance by the legendary French electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre. The Green Concert – where the instruments and lights were solar-powered – was meant to simulate the Kingdom’s future, portray the vision of the Crown Prince, underscore the country’s environmental conservation aspirations and highlight its transition to renewable energy.
A dazzling world-class 3D visual and architectural lighting display adorned the King Abdullah Financial District as a backdrop for the Jarre concert.
Other extraordinary spectacles included night-time firework displays across the nation, with which Saudi Arabia entered the Guinness World Records, according to the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), the organiser of the shows. There were 990,000 fireworks that lit up the skies in many cities in the country, including the capital, Riyadh. A number of smaller displays were also organised in different parts of the country.
One of the more unusual displays was the painting of the largest national flag in the sky using 300 drones, which won a Guinness World Records certificate for the “largest pyrotechnic image”. The flag measuring 400 metres in length and 350 metres in width displayed the sword and the Declaration of Faith.
The National Day events including concerts, plays, comedy shows, laser shows, cultural shows and drone displays were held in different cities across the country. Residents of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Najran, Tabuk, Khobar, Jazan and Madinah were especially treated to a day-long schedule of events. Loosening restrictions on public celebrations in the country and encouraging a new and vivacious patriotism reflect some of the major promises of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s roadmap to the future.
These events also celebrated the many developments the Kingdom has witnessed over the past year. Those developments include lifting the ban on women drivers, opening commercial cinemas, appointing women to important positions in various sectors, and allowing women into sport stadiums.
National Day is celebrated on September 23 each year to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The fireworks show is expected to break the Guinness World Record established by the Philippines during the New Year celebrations in 2016, when 810,000 fireworks were launched.
“This event was one of more than 80 events presented by GEA across the Kingdom, in line with its endeavour and mission to spread happiness and joy across the Kingdom, and enrich the entertainment experience,” GEA said.
“On this occasion, GEA confirmed that it is keen to present world class entertainment options to all the Kingdom’s citizens and residents, to support the development of the entertainment sector and diversify the entertainment content, thus creating a competitive environment that aims at leveraging the performance of this promising sector.”