On Thursday October 27, PopCon will open its doors. The three-day festival, which will be the first PopCon event held in Dubai, will take place inside the Dubai Outlet Mall. The first event was held in Manila in the Philippines last year, under the moniker AsiaPop Comicon, and with plans to travel the globe, the Dubai version promises to be the biggest festival of its kind in the world. Here’s what to expect.
1 It’s a celebration of all things popular culture, so expect more than movies While there are similar events going on in the UAE throughout the year, such as the Middle East Film and Comic Con, Games Middle East and ANI:ME, PopCon will be far less niche. It was first announced back in July this year, and instead of focusing on just one thing, PopCon will celebrate every aspect of popular culture imaginable – movies, television, comics, music, beauty, fashion, gaming, health, food and more. Movies will be well represented (expect some exclusive teaser trailer releases), thanks to PopCon’s collaboration with a number of film studios including Marvel, Disney and Sanrio – the home of everyone’s favourite cartoon cat, Hello Kitty.
2 There will be music, too
The centrepiece of PopCon will be a Halloween-themed concert, Fiesta De Los Muertos, on Friday October 28. The gig will see a mix of local and international acts taking to the stage, including All Saints, the ’90s girl band best known for their hit Pure Shores, who reformed earlier this year. Joining them on stage at the Autism Rocks Arena will be dance act Major Lazer, the group behind the tracks Lean On and Cold Water. Also on the bill will be US pop rock band DNCE. There’ll also be performances from Moldovan band Carla’s Dreams, Dubai-based DJ duo Hollaphonic, who were the first electronic music act to be signed to a major label in the Middle East, and The Mariachis, the band who perform traditional Mariachi versions of classic pop songs.
3 Celebrities will be in attendance At the inaugural AsiaPop Comicon event in Manila last year, some of the celebrity guests in attendance included Captain America: Civil War star Paul Bettany and Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones. There will be celebrities from both the big and small screens at the Dubai event, too. Names are expected to be announced soon.
4 One of them will be Giuliana Rancic
The Italian-American television presenter, designer and author will be in town to host PopCon and attend some of the panels. Talking with Time Out Dubai, Rancic said, “I’ll be hosting, interviewing people on stage as well as sitting on panels about fashion – which I’m used to, being on Fashion Police. I’ll also be doing a panel on breast cancer, social media and music.” While here, as part of her PopCon duties, Rancic will be chatting to some of the Fiesta De Los Muertos performers, too. “I’ll be doing some interviews with DNCE, All Saints and the other musical talents who will be in town for the weekend and I love music! It has been a big part of our household since I was a little girl, so PopCon is going to be really fun.”
5 She’ll also be involved with Beautyfest
Set to be one of the largest sections of PopCon, Beautyfest will give you the chance to learn from some of the world’s top beauty experts and make-up artists. Sharing some tips will be LA-based make-up artist Etienne Ortega, who has worked with celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Eva Longoria. Joining him will be Chrisspy Makeup, famous for her YouTube beauty tutorials and Fouz Al Fahad, also known as The Real Fouz, a Middle Eastern beauty expert. Both have attracted millions of followers across social media. Workshops will cost from Dhs2,000 for gold seats (including a goody bag) or Dhs4,000 for platinum, which includes a meet and greet, make-up and VIP seating for the workshops, plus a goody bag.
6 You are encouraged to dress up
Anyone who attends is encouraged to dress up for the event and for the Fiesta De Los Muertos concert – it’s the weekend before Halloween, after all. The theme is “heroes and villains”, so you’re free to turn up as anyone, from Voldemort to Iron Man. There’ll also be a cosplay competition, The CAGE – Cosplay Authority Global Challenge. The winner will go home with Dhs25,000, so start working on your home-made Batman suits now. Register online at www.cosplayauthority.com if you fancy your chances of winning. There will also be the Gundam model-building competition and Magic The Gathering Tabletop Gaming competition, a card game tournament, for participants to enter.
7 You’ll get to see some works of art PopCon’s Walk of Fame will feature comic book artists from all over the world displaying their work. Those taking part include Whilce Portacio, Jason Palmer, David Yardin and Agnes Garbowska, who have worked on everything from Batman and X-Men to Star Wars and My Little Pony comics. Dubai Outlet Mall’s comic book shop, Comicave, will also be relaunching at PopCon after being completely remodelled, and will be selling limited-edition comics and collectibles.
8 Everyone is welcome PopCon will be open to all ages, so you can turn up with the whole family (or on your own if you can’t persuade anyone else to go along with you) and attend the workshops, talks and meet and greets that will be happening over the weekend. Best of all, it’s completely free to get in. It’s only the first PopCon in Dubai, but hopefully there’ll be many more to come. Free entry to PopCon; Dhs350-995 for tickets to the Fiesta De Los Muertos concert. Oct 27-29, noon-10pm. Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Al-Ain Road, www.popcon.com.
In Numbers: All about PopCon
0 The amount it will cost you to get into PopCon – entry to the event is completely free.
3 The total number of days that the pop culture festival will take place in Dubai.
17m The number of albums DNCE frontman Joe Jonas sold worldwide with his former band the Jonas Brothers.
25k The grand prize total in the CAGE cosplay competition. The winner will walk home with Dhs25,000.