22 December, 2019

North West Saudi Arabia opens up for the second "Winter at Tantora" Festival in AlUla

The second Winter at Tantora Festival in AlUla in North West Saudi Arabia has started!    This is a sensational a three-month celebration that will showcase the very best in international music, art and culture connecting East and West as the AlUla county has done for thousands of years. 

This festival is starting just months after Saudi Arabia introduced tourist visas to citizens from 49 countries making the Kingdom more accessible than ever with the UNESCO World Heritage site at Hegra in AlUla among those featured in a global marketing campaign.

The festival is part of the Cultural Manifesto that was launched by the festival organisers, the Royal Commission for AlUla, in Paris in October as part of a long-term strategy to transform the region and open the region as a global living museum and place of culture, heritage and the arts.

Winter at Tantora will cover 12 weekends from 19th December and host a wide range of events from the world-famous Dakar Rally; international ballooning festival; the world’s second-longest endurance horse race; the world’s first desert polo tournament and welcome pop-up restaurants from globally renowned restaurants.

The spectacular mirrored wall Maraya Theatre with its 500-seat capacity and operatic sound quality will be home throughout the festival to some of the world’s leading performers who range from Omar Khairat to Andrea Bocelli.

Festival visitors will also be able to meet and engage with young members of the AlUla community who are benefitting from a diverse range of training programmes in hospitality; culture; nature and the environment and studying overseas including 24 men and women at the FERRANDI Paris culinary institute in Paris.

These young chefs will work alongside Michelin-starred experts during the festival creating world-class cuisine that will incorporate local ingredients from the fertile AlUla valley and blending traditional recipes with modern cuisine.

RCU CEO Amr AlMadani says: “Festival visitors will be given a unique opportunity to visit and experience one of the world’s undiscovered places and its spectacular heritage sites before we reopen them to the world in October 2020.

“They will get a tantalising glimpse of a place that been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years and the chance to see it from the serenity of a hot air balloon; the adrenaline of soaring over the desert and mountains in an open seater biplane or exploring hidden canyons in traditional vintage Land Rovers.”

The Royal Commission for AlUla has also completed major infrastructure work at AlUla airport – increasing capacity fourfold to 400,000 visitors a year and upgrading local mountain resorts to enhance the visitor experience.

AlUla will be a worldwide destination for those seeking a unique experience of the full meaning and context of landscape – an experience that integrates the natural and cultural heritage as one living environment. By safeguarding our precious landscapes and cultural heritage this open-air museum will be the Kingdom’s gift to the world creating remarkable and lasting memories.

‘Authentic AlUla’, the opening weekend, is a celebration rooted in AlUla, to mark the start of the winter planting season at the iconic Tantora sundial from which the festival is named. It is the first of 12 specially themed weekends.

Performances in Maraya

World-renowned performers entertain festival crowds in the shiny new Maraya concert hall, a feat of modern engineering and acoustics.

Balloon Festival

More than 60 hot air balloons take festivalgoers to the skies and offer sweeping aerial views of AlUla’s stunning landscape and rich heritage sites.

Fursan Horse Race

The best riders in the world navigate ALUla’s magnificent mountains for the third-largest price in endurance racing: 20m SAR.

Culture Farm Experience
Discover 26 type of dates & meet fascinating farm animals at Hujrat Nora.

Vintage Aircraft Experience
Fly over iconic city attractions in a vintage aircraft.

Enjoy a unique dining experience with a 6-course menu prepared by a Michelin-star chef.

Winter Park Experience
Treat your tastebuds to delicious street food from around the world.

Living Immersion - Hegra
Get a glimpse of the lives of AlUla's most famous ancient inhabitants.

Wadi Al Qura Market Experience
Shop local handmade products and sample local delicacies

Farm Experience
Experience fun activities such as fruit-picking and enjoy fresh fruit smoothies.

Some of the top performers include:

Josรฉ Carreras
10 January 2020

Il Divo 
17 January 2020

Jamiroquai and Nile Rodgers ft. CHIC
24 January 2020

Andrea Bocelli
31 January 2020

7 February 2020

Enrique Iglesias and Gipsy Kings
21 February 2020

Kool & the Gang and Sister Sledge
27 February 2020

Lionel Richie and Craig David
28 February 2020

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