Saudi Arabia had to close down a ‘halal’ nightclub on its opening night after videos of inside the venue were circulated online. R&B singer Ne-Yo was set to perform at the venue.
Based on the videos circulating online, the KSA authorities said that the Jeddah-based venue was ‘in violation of the legal procedures and regulations in force’. The ‘Play Hard‘ singer was also informed of the venue’s closure while he was en-route to perform.
Authorities in the coastal city of Jeddah closed the mixed dance-floor, citing that an investigation was pending against it.
Gulf News reports that the ‘halal’ disco allowed men and women to dance at the same venue. The nightclub in question was temporarily shut down on June 13th.
This was the pre-launch promotion video of the nightclub in question:
— Saji Assi (@assi_saji) June 12, 2019
اللهم لا تؤاخذنا بما فعل السفهاء منا pic.twitter.com/4YFsrvjMHM
— تركي الشلهوب (@TurkiShalhoub) June 14, 2019
Saudi Authorities Respond
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) addressed the issue in a tweet.
They announced that an investigation was opened into the ‘halal’ disco, following the circulation of videos online that apparently showed the inside of the venue.
“According to information provided to the GEA, the event (Project X) is in violation of the legal procedures and regulations in force, and has not been authorized by the body,”
الهيئة العامة للترفيه تفتح تحقيقاً فورياً في مقاطع فيديو تم تداولها لإحدى الفعاليات في مدينة جدة لم يتم ترخيصها من قبل الهيئة pic.twitter.com/MAIKTCM2EZ
— الهيئة العامة للترفيه (@GEA_SA) June 13, 2019
Ne-Yo Concert Canceled
American singer Ne-Yo was scheduled to headline the nightclub’s grand opening during the waterfront festival (also known as Jeddah festival). The venue is reportedly a branch of the White brand.
The White brand also has nightclubs in Dubai and Beirut. The opening of the world’s first ‘halal’ nightclub was announced using the Arabic-language hashtag #JeddahDisco.
CEO of the venue, Tony Habre told news website Arabian Business that the club was a high-end cafe and lounge.
“The Saudi market will be great, because the local community goes out a lot. You have people in the country who go out a lot.”
Like any standard nightclub, White brand’s ‘halal’ nightclub would not allow entry to people under 18 years of age. Based on media reports, the club would only serve non-alcoholic cocktails and allow men and women to dance in the same venue.
Several reports stated that photography would be strictly prohibited inside the venue.