On Wednesday, American hip-hop artist, singer and songwriter Russell Vitale - aka Russ - announced that he will be performing in Saudi Arabia this summer. 

The concert is set to take place in the coastal city of Jeddah on July 12 and will be a mixed-gender event, according to the rapper's statement on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, Russ explained that getting authorities to approve the event has not been an easy task. In fact, planning and negotiating the concert has been ongoing for three years. 

But, it's finally happening and tickets will be going on sale within hours.

"All ages. Men & women."

"3 years in the making!!"

Soon after, the hashtag #Russ_In_Saudi began trending on Saudi Twitter

The "welcomes" poured in...

"I'm coming for you"

"Beautiful news"

Concerts in Saudi Arabia

As part of Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030 national transformation plan, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has pushed for greater cultural and entertainment options in the kingdom. 

Since the plan was initiated in 2016, the country has opened its doors wide to a range of new cultural activities.

Public concerts, international conferences, cinemas, and other entertainment options have been introduced, with young Saudis expressing enthusiasm for the changes.

In February 2017, Saudi Arabia held its first-ever concerts in different cities across the kingdom in years. 

These included a sold-out jazz performance that took place in Riyadh, a first for the city in 25 years, and a concert by Saudi singer Mohammed Abdo in Jeddah, a first for the city in seven years. 

In December 2017, the kingdom allowed Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji to perform solo at a women-only event for the first time in the country's history.

Mixed-gender events

Mixed-gender events have taken place in the kingdom in recent months, a few of which have sparked controversy.

In April 2017, Riyadh hosted a mixed-gender Japanese orchestra, as a female singer performed on stage. In April 2018, the country held another mixed-gender concert, headlined by Egyptian singer Nihad Fathy.

However, earlier this year, a Saudi resort was forced to shut down after hosting a mixed-gender concert. 

At the time, authorities in Saudi Arabia's Jazan governorate ordered the immediate closure of the resort after hosting a licensed concert attended by both men and women.