Glittery party spotlights Saudi era of ‘extreme openness’

IT was billed as the Middle East’s biggest party – thousands of revellers bathed in flashing laser lights danced and swayed to blasting music in the unlikeliest of venues: Saudi Arabia.

The three-day MDL Beast last weekend was the biggest festival ever hosted by the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom – where hardliners have long branded music as sinful – as Crown Prince Mohammed Salman pursues a taboo-busting modernisation drive.