RIYADH: A high velocity wind blowing at the speed of 31 kilometre per hour whipped the sand in Saudi desert forcing the organisers to cancel fully sold out K-pop Stray Kids and Chungha concert on Friday.
The cancellation comes barely a week after Saudi Arabian government ordered a probe into a semi-nude dance performance in Jazan province.
Arab News reported moderate wind and heavy rain in Riyadh on Friday caused many outdoor events to close for public safety as part of Riyadh Season.
At sunset rain began to pour across the city, with winds of 31 km/h whipping up sand.
Turki Al-Sheikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority and chairman of Riyadh Season, tweeted that due to the weather conditions in Riyadh, events had to be postponed.
One of the quickly cancelled celebrations was the completely sold out K-pop Stray Kids and Chungha concert that was set to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Event organizers asked fans to evacuate the outdoor arena as “quickly and quietly as possible,” citing circumstances out of their control, with the high winds not allowing the concert to go ahead.
Riyadh Season tweeted out shortly after: “For everyone’s safety, Stray Kids & Chungha’s concert has been postponed until further notice due to weather conditions.”
Organizers were not able to say whether the K-pop concert would be postponed or cancelled completely.
At 1 p.m. the National Center for Meteorology reported that there will be medium to heavy rain and expected sandstorms in the area. Many Riyadh Season visitors were prepared and equipped with umbrellas and raincoats for the festivities.
During the day, Riyadh Season sent a thread of tweets announcing the closure of all outdoor events and zones for public safety.
Winter Wonderland closed as well due to the heavy rains in the northern region, with many of its rides unable to operate.
Among the outdoor events closed in Riyadh were Combat Field, Riyadh Safari, and Nabd Al-Riyadh.
As per the Riyadh Season official Twitter page, many of the events will return as normal on Saturday following the passing of the rain.
The Saudi Press Agency reported earlier that along with Riyadh, it will rain in Makkah, Madinah, Hail, Qassim, and Alkhobar region.
The cancellation set social media on fire with some relating it to obscenity promoted by Prince Mohammad bin Salman. “Wrath,” commented one user on Facebook.
Last week, a semi-nude dance performance on Jazan streets has prompted the Saudi Arabian government to order a probe.
Women dancers, some considered too scantily clad, performed Samba during Jazan Winter Festival. They wore colored feathers emblematic of the Brazilian tradition with their legs, arms, and bellies uncovered. State-run El-Ekhbariya TV aired footage of the festival but blurred images of the women.