Saudi Arabia is ending the year on a high, as the Kingdom made history by hosting the first electronic car-racing event in the Middle East. Why is this important? We're so glad you asked...
Firstly, women were involved in the Ad Diriyah Formula E Festival, and secondly, the environmentally friendly event shows Saudi is looking to the future and supporting sustainability.
Here's everything that happened in the historic town of Ad Diriyah, outside the capital of Riyadh, while 22 drivers from around the world battled it out on the track...
The force of the female
Emirati racing driver Amna Al Qubaisi became the first Arab woman to take part in a Formula E test, and she was in good company. Eight other female drivers were also on track throughout the day, the highest number of female drivers to ever take part in such a testing session. Keep up the good work, girls.
Shut up! A-List stars perform
International chart-toppers The Black Eyed Peas brought the love to the Kingdom as they worked their way through hits including Let’s Get It Started, Pump It and Where Is The Love. Arab music legend Amr Diab, OneRepublic, David Guetta and Jason Derulo also took to the stage. Jason revealed, “To be a small part of history tonight is an unbelievable thing as an artist and a performer. My dream is to perform for people all around the world, just being together is amazing thing... People were crying and I was super-emotional too.”
London's calling... for shopping
A first of its kind in Saudi, renowned shopping destination Harvey Nichols created five unique pop-up stores at Ad Diriyah for race-goers. One store featured the work of local designers and evening wear, another contemporary clothes and designer collections, a third for children’s wear, another for men’s wear and lastly a pop-up cosmetics store. Very cool.
Grazia highly approves of any festival that takes time to shout about its cultural heritage. During the event there was an opportuity to experience Saudi's history in the Cultural Zone (think learning about the Kingdom’s traditional dress, getting to grips with how Arabic coffee is made and signing up for a hand henna). It was a chance to discover Saudi Arabia’s hidden cultural jewels and it went down a treat.
Festivals and music events often go hand-in-hand with basic burgers and lukewarm lemonade. Not in Saudi. Renowned Japanese cuisine, via London, came to Ad Diriyah. The award-winning Nozomi restaurant brought a unique pop-up dining experience to the Kingdom all the way from Knightsbridge. Yes, really. Meanwhile, legendary Italian venue Cipriani Riyadh opened an innovative new branch, created especially for the event. We feel spoiled.
Photos: Supplied and Instagram @amnalqubaisi_official