AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 26th September 2021
Under the banner of AlUla Moments, AlUla’s events calendar published today highlights four festivals including Winter at Tantora which is back by popular demand and celebrates heritage, AlUla Skies, AlUla Arts and AlUla’s Wellness Festival. The festivals will offer curated experiences of art, culture, music, nature, wellness, equestrian, gastronomy and astronomy. The events will include free and ticketed experiences, with tickets and information available at experiencealula.com.
The four distinct festivals will commence on 21 December and run through to 30 March against the backdrop of AlUla’s many timeless wonders. Musical performances will also be back in AlUla with Maraya taking centre stage again as the venue for regional and international acts starting from this October.
Winter at Tantora, the very first music and arts festival in the Kingdom returns – now in a six-week format. A stunning Candlelit Symphonic Concert at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra will set the tone for the festival season as the opening event. Equestrian events will include the eagerly awaited new haute couture horse fashion event, Ikmah Fashion Calvary, the return of the competitive Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Race and the oh-so-chic AlUla Desert Polo. A new Citrus Festival will celebrate AlUla produce and the Harrat Observation Deck with Back to Black restaurant will offer stunning sunrise and sunset views of AlUla from the top of the Harrat Uwayrid. Archaeology and cultural workshops will be introduced at the heritage sites, there will be live immersion shows at AlUla Old Town and in the oasis. Winter at Tantora will run from 21 December to 12 February.
From February 2021, the AlUla Arts festival will bring together exhibitions and encounters created by a diverse array of artistic talents, in celebration of AlUla’s legacy as a cultural crossroads. Championing the ‘art of our time’, an exhibition representing the cutting edge of contemporary art by some of the leading artists in the Kingdom will be hosted at the award-winning Maraya. Al Jedidiah will be a vibrant hub of art activity and performances, with the outdoor Cinema El Housh presenting arthouse Saudi filmmakers and curated art experiences populating the Oasis, and other landscapes within AlUla. The AlUla Arts festival can be experienced from February 13, with headline exhibitions running to the end of March.
It’s no secret that the fascinating geological landscapes of AlUla, from the volcanic plains to the ancient heritage sites, are best seen from the air – introducing AlUla Skies. Whether it’s floating serenely over Hegra in a hot air balloon, zooming the length of the oasis in a vintage plane or taking a helicopter over the rock formations of Madakheel, the sky will be alive with action. The new sight and sound experience, Constellations, is a high-tech take on AlUla’s popular star-gazing tour, and Symphony under the Stars will be a spine-tingling musical performance set under a million twinkling stars. It is all bookable from 27 February to 12 March.
Leaning into AlUla’s history as a place for respite and relaxation, AlUla’s cultural oasis will become a focal point for wellness from this December. A stunning new Garden of Moments experience will use the elements of the environment interacting with space, light and sound in thought-provoking installations. And as part of the new AlUla Wellness Festival in March 2022, a Five Senses Sanctuary will offer a full range of mind, body and soul experiences from expert yoga, meditation and mindfulness practitioners. For something more energetic, the Eco-Trail returns to AlUla and AlUla Oasis Fitness Infusion will offer daily doses of endorphins in the form of expert-led group classes. AlUla Wellness Festival will run from 17 March to 27 March.
Also coming back this year will be the popular sunken seating and fire pits around Elephant Rock. New adventure experiences such as mountain biking, the Via Ferrata suspension bridge, extended zipline and some challenging new hikes and canyon experiences at Madakheel.
Dining options will be extended across AlUla from new heritage site restaurants, the return of Annabel’s and the Michelin starred chef restaurant, Maraya Social, on the rooftop of Maraya.
AlUla’s calendar takes inspiration from an ancient destination where social gatherings and cultural exchanges were part of everyday life.
Main Dates to watch out for
- Winter at Tantora – 21 December to 12 February
- AlUla Arts – 13 February to 26 February
- AlUla Skies – 27 February to 12 March
- AlUla Wellness Festival – 17 March to 27 March
Facts & figures
- The 2021/22 events calendar will consist of more than 50 events over 4 four festivals.
- 8 flagship events will anchor the festivals concepts.
- 30 permanent attractions will remain in AlUla.
- 5 top regional performers and 3 major international names will perform
- 2.9bn GDP will be added to the AlUla economy
- 600 jobs created
- 6 SMEs supported
The AlUla Moments Photo
AlUla Moments is a frieze representing a moment in time of AlUla’s exciting new events program. The photo captures the creative inspiration and energy that can be experienced by enjoying time with friends and family in AlUla through the lens of arts, music, wellness, dining and adventure. Moments of interaction between experts doing what they love to represent AlUla’s four new festivals celebrating heritage, arts, skies and wellness.
Creative Agency: Leo Burnett
Production Agency: Leap Productions
The AlUla Moments Cast
Jason Atherton is one of Britain’s most prolific Chefs, he has 3 Michelin-star restaurants in London and several more around the globe. Jason is opening Maraya Social on the rooftop of the famous mirrored building in the AlUla desert this October. The restaurant will be AlUla’s first fine-dining restaurant and an exciting addition to the destination.
Just Bayan Bayan Linjawi is a Saudi entrepreneur, fashion influencer, content creator, and human development enthusiast. She is the founder of 31 Concept Store. Bayan has performed and executed marketing campaigns for global brands such as Lux, Lincoln, Hyundai. She is a regular on TV and social media platforms. Bayan has attended Milan Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week and been a guest speaker Tedx.
Heba Alqurashi – Just Bayan wears a dress by Saudi fashion designer Heba Alqurashi.
Shaikhah Sheikha Hamad is a Saudi doctor and a licensed yoga instructor from the Arab Yoga Foundation, she holds several Yoga certifications. She is interested in raising awareness about the importance of Yoga from a medical perspective. She is also a medical sports content creator.
Yasir Al Saggaf Yasir is a well-known and experienced TV presenter, with more than 10 years of experience behind the microphone and camera. He is the presenter of The Voice on MBC1 and directed his own morning Radio show – Ca iene. Yasir has hosted hundreds of formal occasions and earned the accolade in 2014 as one the best hosts in Saudi Arabia.
Hesham – Hesham is a professional musician, composer and Saxophone player and earned the title as the first soprano Saxophone player in Saudi. Hesham also event manages and organizes concerts at MediXtor. With a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Jeddah Bachelor’s in Music Composition- Cairo Hesham has made a successful career in music.
Emma Gusti is a Saudi music composer and pianist. Eman has participated in many activities and events under the supervision of the Saudi Ministry of Culture alongside governmental and international organisations. She has a certificate from the Saudi Music Authority and is a member of the Earth Orchestra.
Faisal Sami Alaskar is a US commercial airline graduate. He owns and has a passion for pure breed Arabian Horses. He is an amateur photographer and was a flight crew member for AlUla in the Winter of Tantoura which led to the development of the Vintage Aircraft flight experience above the incredible nature of AlUla.
AlUla Moments Creative
Fahad Shamshir is an award-winning professional Saudi advertising photographer and partner in LEAP STUDIOS production house. Leap specialises in still photography in the Middle East and has earned a global reputation. With more than 10 years of experience in the field Fahad is passionate about taking beautiful pictures and has worked on many commercial campaigns to showcase the Kingdom’s beauty through his camera lens.
Sari Sami is the partner for photography and advertising studio LEAP STUDIOS. Sari and the LEAP STUDIOS team is behind hundreds of successful campaigns in Saudi and the Middle East and is one of the biggest companies in the Kingdom. His hobbies include traveling, photography, and swimming.
About AlUla Moments
- AlUla Moments is AlUla’s new home of events.
- Four new festivals will be introduced to celebrate and unlock AlUla’s stories, uncover its secrets and celebrate local and international cultures.
- With 7000 years of civilisations and home to some of the most sophisticated ancient Kingdoms of antiquity, AlUla is no stranger to social gathering and cultural celebrations.
- With a respect to the past, the future of AlUla is the bringing together of civilisations to create moments, to celebrate art, heritage and nature in the heart of AlUla.
- From religious rituals and ceremonies in the Sanctuary of Dadan; parties and political summits in the Diwan in Hegra; and the exchange of ideas, cultures and commodities along the Incense Route – AlUla has always been a place to gather.
Winter at Tantora
- Saudi Arabia’s first music and arts festival kicked off a new era for the Kingdom in 2018/19.
- Over two successful years, Winter at Tantora welcomed thousands of domestic and international visitors to appreciate the stunning landscapes and sites of AlUla through the lens of art, music and culture.
- Winter at Tantora became synonymous with AlUla and established itself as a dynamic, authentic events season for the region and for the world.
- After a brief pause in 2020, Winter at Tantora is returning to AlUla in 2021 with a new six week format.
- Over six dynamic weeks Winter at Tantora will offer a unique mix of boutique events celebrating music, culture, food and horse heritage.
- Winter at Tantora will continue to be rooted in history and heritage of Arabia with events designed around the celebration of the seasons as charted by the Tantora sundial in AlUla Old Town.
- Horse heritage is a key part of Arabia’s history, culture and desert life in AlUla, the equestrian events in AlUla celebrate this from the sport to fashion.
- As an anchor of AlUla’s history and cultural heritage, arts in AlUla has a new home with the introduction of the AlUla Arts festival
- AlUla Arts will embrace and evolve the creative endeavour and human ingenuity present in AlUla for thousands of years.
- AlUla Arts offers art with a difference, site specific, local and international artists who embrace the culture, thinking and stunning landscapes and sites of the Arabian Desert.
- AlUla has been a place of creative inspiration and cultural exchange for millennia and is now welcoming visitors who seek new experiences for creative enrichment.
- AlUla is an open living museum that inspires creativity and will become known as the place to dream – an evolving cultural crossroads for today and the future.
- AlUla Arts festival fosters artistic co-operation for the delivery of experiences that capture the imagination and communicate AlUla’s unique culture and heritage to the world.
- The new AlUla Skies festival will celebrate the extraordinary geological journey of AlUla.
- AlUla’s geological formations including monumental moonscapes, vast desert plains and stunning heritage sites are best seen from the air.
- AlUla Skies will offer memorable, boutique, adventure and nature activities for those who want to enjoy the silence, the views and monumentality of the unique landscapes, sites and formations of AlUla.
- Stargazing, vintage flights, hot air balloons, from high-tech to slow-tourism – AlUla Skies is for nature lovers with a taste for adventure.
- AlUla’s Wellness festival will offer exciting new activities for the mind, body and soul set amongst the backdrop of AlUla’s vast, silent desert landscapes.
- The AlUla Wellness Festival takes inspiration from the environment of AlUla featuring water, space, nature elements of AlUla that made it home to ancient civilisations and as the nexus of the incense route.
- Expert practitioners from the fields of yoga, mindfulness, healing will offer unique wellness experiences in the desert and the oasis, and immersive nature experiences will offer sensory highs that create lasting memories.
- AlUla Wellness will enliven all the senses surrounded by the incredible, transformational landscapes and inspired by the voices of the past from the rocks, the sand and the oasis.