Saudi launches probe into ‘halal’ nightclub

A nightclub brand was closed down in Saudi Arabia on opening night pending an investigation. The ‘halal’ disco, which allowed men and women to dance in the same venue, was temporarily shut down on June 13.

According to Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA), the venue – referred to as Project X – did not receive the necessary licence to operate. Online videos of the venue’s performances the previous day was also brought to the attention of the GEA. 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 370 to 500 Saudi riyals.

On its official Twitter account, the GEA said: “According to information provided, the event was in violation of the legal procedure and regulations, and was not authorised by the body. The GEA had originally issued a license for another event. Its contractor then took advantage of an extension of that license to commit these serious and unacceptable violations”.

The US-based performer Ne-Yo was scheduled to headline the club’s grand opening during the waterfront festival in Jeddah.

“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,” wrote Ne-Yo on his Instagram account.

Concert-goers said they waited for four hours at the venue before they were turned away.