Saranghae KSA 2022

Jeddah Superdome is transformed into an authentic slice of South Korea for Saudi Arabia’s first K-pop festival.

A three-day extravaganza of Korean music and culture taking place inside Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Superdome, Saranghae KSA was the first ever K-pop festival in the Kingdom. An immersive experience featuring authentic Korean street food, retail and some of the biggest names in K-pop – including ATEEZ, Victon and the all-girl Everglow – the festival brought together fans from all backgrounds to celebrate their love of Korean culture. 

Like many events that have taken place over the past year since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the roots of Saranghae KSA 2022 can be traced back to well before the pandemic. “The story started in 2018,” recalled Steven Hetzer, CEO, sweetwater MEA, which produced the festival in collaboration with SELA for Jeddah Season. “It started with my good friend and one of our business partners here in KSA – HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mohammed – who is a fan of South Korean culture and had a vision for a K-pop festival.”

Hetzer explained how he listened to HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mohammed’s vision before engaging his creative team at sweetwater to develop the concept of the festival. 

“He is a highly creative person who is very close to Korean culture, so it was important to draw upon his vision to help us create and design an incredible K-pop experience and bring it to a Saudi Arabian audience.” 

Photos: sweetwater MEA