Could you possibly imagine a scenario where people could be imprisoned for having a Twitter account? The editor of Ears To The House would be doing porridge alongside his colleagues and huge swathes of the dance music community. And yet this is exactly what happened in Saudi Arabia earlier this week.
On Tuesday, a 34-year old mother of two called Salma al-Shehab was jailed by the state for the crime of holding “assisting those who seek to cause public unrest and destabilise civil and national security by following their Twitter accounts”. Quite remarkable – The Guardian have a more detailed report online.
So why are we bringing this up? Well, this is MDL Beast territory, pure and simple. This is the country where their Soundstorm festival will be taking place from December 1st for three days. And although the lineup isn’t yet public knowledge, Ears To The House understands at least one person who appeared last year and received $125,000 will return – for an extra $25,000 – nice money if you can get it.
And the Saudi Arabian government backed festival which is used to bring lots of tourists into the country does have a lot of money to spend, which DJs certainly seem to be aware of. They are, however, a lot less aware of the country who they wilfully play as propaganda pawns for – perhaps deliberately so.
The full lineup is unlikely to be released for quite some time to come. For example, MDL Beast Soundstorm 2021 took place from December 16th-19th and the complete list was revealed on November 27th. We’re especially curious to see whether Jeff Mills will appear again after the roasting he received from his own fans following his pathetic defence of his attendance.
We’re also going to be noting whose rhetoric matches up with their actions – and perhaps more crucially, those to whom it doesn’t. Because as anyone who reads this site will already know, some DJs in the higher echelons only consider it hypocrisy when someone else does it…