Metallica are to make their debut in Saudi Arabia as they become the first hard rock band to headline Soundstorm Festival.
The rock legends will play the three-day festival in Riyadh on Thursday, December 14. The event attracted 600,000 visitors last year, with previous headliners including Bruno Mars and Post Malone. The festival, first staged in 2019, features over 100 international artists. It is part of the Riyadh Season of entertainment and arts.
Metallica’s Saudi show is part of the band’s big selling M72 World Tour, which has taken them to stadiums across Europe and North America. They made their debut in the Middle East when they played Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Park in 2011.
In a statement, Metallica said: “We’re not done with 2023 just yet, as an amazing opportunity has just come our way to perform at a major festival that we have never played in a part of the world we rarely get to visit.
“We’re proud to represent rock music hitting the stage on the first night of the festival to make things just a tad heavier!”
This year’s Soundstorm line-up also includes H.E.R., Black Eyed Peas, Calvin Harris, Pharrell & Phriends, J Balvin, Swedish House Mafia, and David Guetta.
Riyadh Season 2023 is packing a punch
The fourth edition of Riyadh Season opened in Saudi Arabia’s capital city at the end of October with the boxing bout between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou. Fury’s split decision victory was watched by current and former footballers such as Saudi Pro League players Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane, as well as Luis Figo, Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldo.
Upcoming attractions include further boxing bouts between Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua and Otto Wallin and Dmitry Bivol and Lyndon Arthur at the Kingdom Arena. The Riyadh Season Tennis Cup, featuring Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, will be held between in late December.
In September, organisers revealed they were hoping to welcome 12 million visitors across the five-month festival. Riyadh Festival first launched in 2019, bringing visitors from across the world to Saudi Arabia to experience concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and other cultural events.