Saudi Arabia Holds First Riyadh Concert Since Covid-19

Hundreds gathered Thursday for the first concert in the Saudi capital since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to watch performances by Syrian diva Assala Nasri and Kuwaiti crooner Nabeel Shuail.

“This is the first concert to take place in Saudi for a very long time,” said one spectator at the concert, held in a restaurant of a large Riyadh hotel.

“We are delighted to come from Kuwait to attend the concert,” said a Kuwaiti tourist.

Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 454,000 coronavirus infections, including 7,408 deaths.

It was not the first concert — Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang in April at the ancient Saudi city of Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Saudi Arabia has hosted international musicians — from Janet Jackson to 50 Cent and K-pop mega-group BTS — for concerts as part of its drive to boost its tourism sector.

The pandemic put a brake on the country’s ambitious push to draw tourists, but it is slowly reopening.

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