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At the event village of Diriyah Equestrian Festival in Saudi Arabia.

PHOTO BY SUPPLIED


Art, music and food at Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Equestrian Festival

 

DUBAI – A fusion of equestrian sport and food, music and art is drawing crowds to the Diriyah Equestrian Festival in Saudi Arabia, the first open international equestrian competition in the kingdom.

The festival features an event village which houses artist booths, retailers, restaurants and even musicians. The village is just behind the arena where stallions, mares and their equestrians are showcasing their jumping skills as they vie for a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the World Cup.

The event village includes a variety of restaurants and brands of Saudi and international stores in addition to traditional symbols such as the exhibition of Arabian horse art pieces, fusing the equestrian sport with the local tradition. Other exhibitors include artists, concept stores, retailers and cafes. There is also a dedicated children’s area.

ResinArt, an incubator and platform for young Saudi artists, grabs the attention of a passing Swiss family as owner Mohammed AlMudayfer invites them to his booth and hands them an Arabian horse coaster made of wood.

“Our exhibit here in the festival focuses on projecting aspects of the Saudi identity that go hand in hand with the theme of the festival, such as engravings and statues of the Arabian stallion,” said AlMudayfer. “My main goal for this festival is displaying our identity by means of art, mainly to the international crowd present in the Diriyah Equestrian Festival,” he added.

ResinArt houses over 60 artists and provides the support they need. They then display and sell handmade artifacts, statues, painting and other forms of art made by the young artists.

Another exhibitor aptly named Objects is run by 24 year-old audiologist Lama AlThubaity, who when not treating patients and people with hearing disabilities in her main profession, runs her concept store, which started from her bedroom as a daughter-father business five years ago all the way to opening her first physical store next month. Objects is a concept store that sells products such as bracelets, jewelry and other handmade accessories which are then laser engraved with any word or symbol the customer requests.

Equestrian competition

The Diriyah Equestrian Festival will see over 150 international, regional and local riders make their way to al Duhami Farm to showcase their equestrian prowess.

In what is set to be a history making moment for the kingdom, the competition sees male and female equestrians ride side-by-side for the first time, complementing the efforts of Vision 2030 to reform the social sphere of Saudi society as it opens up to the world in ways never seen before.

The festival is part of the wider Diriyah Season, an epic month of iconic sports events such as Formula E, top-class men’s tennis and a World Heavyweight Title fight – The Clash On The Dunes. Known as the home of kings and heroes, the stunning Unesco World Heritage site Diriyah will also stage performances from some of the biggest music artists on the planet, including Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris.

About Diriyah Season

Diriyah Season is an unmissable set of international sports and entertainment events, happening at the historic city of Diriyah.

Watch the world’s top sporting events:

· A Historic Clash, known to the world as ‘Clash On The Dunes’ where Andy Ruiz Junior defends his title against Anthony Joshua for the World Heavy Weight Championship
· A Battle for Glory as 8 of the world’s top Tennis stars compete for the Diriyah Tennis Cup
· Diriyah Equestrian Festival on December 14, 19, 20 and 21, where contestants from all over the world will be one with their horses to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Getting a visa to Saudi Arabia

Entry into Saudi Arabia has changed for tourists visiting the country and the process is a simple online application.

Step one: visit www.visa.visitsaudi.com

Step two: Fill the application

Step three: Pay the visa fee

Step four: Get your online visa within 48 hours

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