Grammy Award Winning Producer Swizz Beatz tells us about “AlJadidah Time Machine”, AlUla On Wheels’ 2024 edition
Are you ready for AlUla On Wheels II? It’s at the heart of Saudi’s most exciting destination, AlUla, that the roller rink experience will open its second edition, this January 25th . Launched as a pop-up last year for AlUla Wellness Season, the 2024 edition promises to be next-level. Entitled “AlJadidah Time Machine”, this year’s experience has been conceptualized and curated by cultural agency Good Intentions and is presented by The Royal Commission of AlUla and Grammy Award Winning Producer Swizz Beatz, along with his partner, Noor Taher.
JDEED spoke to Swizz Beatz to know more about this exciting 3-year long new residency.
By Cynthia Jreige
Hi Swizz! Can you tell us more about when and how your involvement in the creative expansion of Saudi started happening? Why was it important for you to take part in it?
Swizz Beatz (SB): I’ve been visiting Saudi Arabia for years and am grateful to now have long-standing relationships there. I started my Riyadh-based creative agency called Good Intentions in 2021 with my partner Noor Taher with a commitment to foster cultural exchange through experiences, arts and the full creative spectrum. At Good Intentions, we are all about creating innovative experiences that push the boundaries of art, entertainment and culture, and we aim to be a gathering hub of world-class creative talent. We had phenomenal success with our first project which was the Jeddah Art Promenade in 2021, which brought a dozen site-specific art installations to the area during Saudi’s first Formula One car race.
Additionally, I actually own a camel racing team called Saudi Bronx. We’ve been very successful winning races and this year we will be at the Camel Cup in AlUla on April 20-25th. We’ve won over 20 domestic and regional awards and we hope to win this year. I aim to bring worldwide attention to camel racing which is a large part of Saudi’s history and tradition. Although I grew up in the Bronx in the U.S. I have a real love of Saudi culture.
How would you define the incredible growth that the country is seeing, on all fronts, but mostly culturally and creatively? How does it inspire you?
SB: The Kingdom is moving at an unprecedented speed. Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars in tourism, cultural and arts projects. The population under 35 is around 66%. There is no place in the world I’ve seen that has this canvas allowing the youth to have an opportunity to shape the future. Good Intentions has always been committed to risk-taking and doing ground-breaking projects that find solutions and make a huge impact to shape meaningful connections and provide an exchange of knowledge in fresh, new ways.
AlUla is a top travel destination in Saudi Arabia, and a hub of culture and history – it’s been incredible to see it welcome incredibly cool initiatives such as AlUla On Wheels. Can you tell us more about how this project started for you and how will this year’s edition be different from the previous one?
SB: Roller skating has been happening culturally as a way for all generations to enjoy themselves with movement and music. Last year, we were part of the AlUla Wellness Festival as a pop-up, and it proved to be such a hit that it’s back this year, better and bigger than ever, and now it has a permanent residency.
This year, we worked with the creative team at Key Concept to design an immersive bubble tunnel that will walk visitors through the history of Aljadidah, from the golden era of skate to the year 2030 and beyond. We’ve also stretched the boundaries of music and art to prove that creativity flows seamlessly around the world. We’ll have arcade games and the music will feature three epochs of time through skate and music from the 70s to the 90s. It’s a curated destination featuring lights, colors and design that you have to see to believe.
“This year, we worked with the creative team at Key Concept to design an immersive bubble tunnel that will walk visitors through the history of Aljadidah (…) It’s a curated destination (…) that you have to see to believe.”
Where do you see AlUla and Saudi in five years from now, creatively speaking?
SB: The evolution of AlUla on Wheels proves what a remarkable and inventive culture that is developing in Saudi. The Kingdom is curating events and experiences that aren’t happening anywhere else. We hope that by doing events that bring the entire community together, it will foster a sense of engagement and that the culture will move forward, with AlUla firmly positioned as the prime location for distinctive experiences in Saudi and a must-see must-do for any international traveler as well as local residents.
AlUla On Wheels II “AlJadidah Time Machine” opens this January 25th. Skating sessions to last 45 minutes. Tickets can be booked online for SAR 40 and skates are available on-site or visitors can bring their own. Visit this link to know more