Saudi Arabia closes down 'halal' nightclub ahead of Ne-Yo performance

Published: June 17, 2019


Authorities in the coastal city of Jeddah have closed a mixed dance-floor on the opening night of the city’s controversial ‘halal’ nightclub brand, pending investigation.

The ‘halal’ disco, which allowed men and women to dance in the same venue, was temporarily shut down on June 13, reported Gulf News.

In a statement posted on its official Twitter account, the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced the opening of an immediate investigation into videos circulating online that were seemingly showing the inside of the venue.

“According to information provided to the GEA, the event (Project X) is in violation of the legal procedures and regulations in force, and has not been authorised by the body,” the statement said.

Online videos of the venue’s performances the previous day were also brought to the GEA’s attention. The videos showed men and women dancing in public. Another video had a woman explaining the set-up of the club, with a ‘halal bar’ and shisha that ranged from SR 370-500 Saudi riyals.

The instance occurred just before US-based performer Ne-Yo was schedule to headline the club’s grand opening during the waterfront festival. The venue was reportedly a branch of the White brand, which also has clubs in Dubai and Beirut.

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@neyo #jeddah #whitejeddah #whitedubai

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“Was excited to perform for you and en route to the venue I was told it had been shut down. Guess we’ll try this again another time fellas. Much love to the fans. Sorry guys,” the Let Me Love You star wrote on his Instagram account.

Twitter was set ablaze when Saudi Arabia announced the opening of the club, which only served non-alcoholic cocktails and used the Arabic-language hashtag #JeddahDisco.

The reported opening drew a wide range of reactions on social media, with some users applauding it as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform plan to modernise the conservative kingdom.

Others had scoffed at the idea of a “halal nightclub”, calling it an oxymoron. Several reports had said that photography would be strictly prohibited inside the venue, as well as revelers under the age of 18.

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