39 great events to look forward to in Dubai in the New Year
Time Out Dubai staff
January Dubai Shopping Festival Like Dubai, shopping discounts and festivals? We have a feeling you could go for this in a big way. Especially if you like face-painting too. Mon Dec 26 to Sat Jan 28. Various shopping malls across Dubai, www.visitdubai.com.
Ballet Grand Gala Paris Opera National Ballet dancers have been pulling on tights and standing on toe tips for centuries and are performing world-famous works on the Madinat Jumeirah stage. From Dhs280. Fri Jan 6, 2pm, 8pm; Sat Jan 7, 6pm. Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.800tickets.com (04 366 6546).
Feel good festival A new year always brings the need to look back on all the good things past. If you’re feeling a little nostalgic, this festival, which promises a trip down memory lane, could be just the ticket for you. The show will feature the best acts of the ’90s and ’00s, and the dress code is strictly yesteryear. Keep an eye on www.timeoutdubai.com for line-up announcements, dust off those Converse and get ready to be taken back in time. Ticket prices to be announced. Fri Jan 13, 6pm. Nasimi Beach, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (055 200 4321).
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary show has been seen by millions on Broadway and in the West End, and the feline is that it will be a smash in Dubai, too… From Dhs275. Jan16-28, times vary. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888). Elton John and his band The Autism Rocks Arena will host Sir Elton John and his band as part of the legendary artist’s Wonderful Crazy Night tour. Sir John’s career spans more than five decades and the artist has won five Grammy Awards. His hits include Sacrifice, Candle In The Wind and Rocket Man. The gig will take place on January Friday 20, postponed from its December date due to the singer being in ill health. Tickets already purchased are still valid for the new date. From Dhs295. Fri Jan 20, 5pm. Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Al-Ain Road, www.117live.com (04 423 7980). Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Elite athletes and thousands of enthusiasts will once again lace up their trainers and pound the streets as part of Dubai’s best-known road race. Dhs441 (42km Marathon), 6.30am; Dhs275 (10km Road Race), 9am; Dhs184 (4km Fun Run), 11.00am; free to spectate. Fri Jan 20. Starts on Umm Suqeim Road, www.dubaimarathon.org (04 433 5669). Wasla Festival We’re excited by this all-new Arab alternative music festival, featuring folk singer-songwriter Souad Massi, rock band Mashrou’ Leila and Abri & the Funk Radius, among the regional acts signed up to play. From Dhs235. Fri Jan 20. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.waslafestival.com.
McLaren Cup The world’s finest polo players descend on Dubai’s fields. If you’ve never witnessed the glamour of the global polo set, don't miss it. Picnic spots from Dhs150. Fri Jan 20 to Fri Feb 3, times vary. Al Habtoor Polo Resort, off Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.dubaipologoldcup.com (056 373 2999).
Inmotion & Special Elements Nobody knows they want to see a yo-yo show until they see a yo-yo show. We’ve checked out the highlights on YouTube and it is as mind-boggling as you’d expect from the masters. An incredible dance troupe is on the agenda, too. Dhs60. Fri Jan 27, 8.30pm. Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.madinattheatre.com (04 366 6546). Ironman 70.3 Registration is full but if you want to see the city's superhumans cycle, run and swim further than you ever could then notice is served. Registration closed, free to spectate. Fri Jan 27, 5am. Jumeirah Public Beach, www.ironman.com.
February Dubai Show Jumping championships Arabian horses are known as being among the best in the world and the region has a proud equestrian heritage. And while it’s the Dubai World Cup that usually grabs the biggest headlines in the annual horse riding events calendar, the Show Jumping Championships is a fun, family-friendly show. Plus, we just love ponies, so any excuse to catch these events is a joy. Free. Wed Feb 1-4. Emirates Equestrian Centre, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.emiratesequestriancentre.com (050 553 7986).
Dubai Desert Classic We once had a dream about lifting the trophy after a chipping into the green on the 18th hole of Emirates Golf Club, where this tournament is held. Ever since, we’ve been in love with this annual attraction, which pulls in the sport’s biggest names and best players. From Dhs75. Feb 1-5, 7.30am. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Living, www.dubaidesertclassic.com (04 380 2112).
The annual pop festival returns with Chris Brown and Demi Lovato as headline acts. The Veronicas, Mike Posner and a number of other names are signed up. Expect big beats, light shows and youthful exuberance. From Dhs395. Thu Feb 2-3. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.redfestdxb.com. Tagfest Popular Filipino radio station Tag 91.1FM brings music sensations Ebe Dancel, Gloc 9, Marion Aunor and Sandwich to the Media City stage. Expect pop ballads and hip-hop from some of the biggest recording artists in the Philippines. From Dhs95. Fri Feb 10. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.tagfest.ae.
West Side Story It has been called the undisputed number one of American musical theatre, the film version picked up ten Academy Awards and it has some of the most recognisable and finger-snapping songs. This is going to be massive. From Dhs250. Feb 14-18, 3pm, 8pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888). Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
The organisers have promised a “Grand Slam-like field” for the 2017 edition, with Stan Wawrinka and Sara Errani set to defend their titles. To the victor, the spoils – and around Dhs1.8 million in prize money. From Dhs75. Sun Feb 19 to Sat Mar 4, times vary. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com (04 417 2415).
Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival
Enrique Iglesias, Mariah Carey and Tom Jones have been unveiled as the 2017 Jazz Festival’s headline acts. Jones takes the stage on Wednesday February 22, Carey on Thursday 23 and Iglesias on Friday 24. Needless to say, each is set to be an incredible show. From Dhs335. Wed Feb 22-24. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.dubaijazzfest.com (04 391 1196).
Michael Legrand A triple Oscar-winning composer known for his work on hundreds of films and TV shows brings a jazz-tinged evening of classics. From Dhs250. Thu Feb 23, 8pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888). Dubai Food Festival
Elasticated-waist trousers at the ready for a couple of weeks of intense dining and a citywide celebration of culinary genius. Expect more pop-ups than a jack-in-a-box factory, a smattering of celebrity chefs and, hopefully, the return of the incredible Beach Canteen. Prices and times vary. Thu Feb 23 to Sat Mar 11. Various locations, www.dubaifoodfestival.com.
Dubai International Boat Show We’re still dreaming of buying a yacht and sailing off into the sunset. Until then, we’re happy to nose around the super-yachts at this luxury boat fair. Prices to be announced. Tue Feb 28 to Sat Mar 4. Dubai International Marine Club, Dubai Marina, www.boatshowdubai.com (04 308 6430).
March Madame Butterfly Puccini's legendary opera is exactly the sort of production this gorgeous venue was built to host. Literally. The East meets West tragedy will bring an iconic score and gorgeous visuals to the Dubai stage. From Dhs300. Thu Mar 2 to Sat Mar 4, 8pm, 3pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888). Guns N’ Roses
Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan will be on stage together in Dubai. Reunited this year for the first time since 1993, this is the kind of show entire generations of rockers from around the world dream about. From Dhs400. Fri Mar 3, 4pm. Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.117live.com (04 423 7980). Emirates airline festival of Literature Authors, poets, TV personalities and more will be in town to talk about books and writing. British actor and comedian turned writer Ben Miller, British gardener, writer and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh and Kuwaiti writer Bothayna Wail Al Essa are all on the bill. We’re clearing a space in our diaries in preparation. Tickets on sale from January. Times vary. Mar 3-11. InterContinental Dubai Festival City, www.emirateslitfest.com (04 355 9844).
Picasso & MIRÓ Exhibition
The works of legendary Spanish artists Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso will be on display at a special exhibition at the foot of the world’s tallest building. Prices to be announced. Tue Mar 7 to Wed May 31, noon-11pm. The Annex, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, www.picassomiro.com.
La bohème Puccini’s opera is one of the greatest love stories committed to music. The Italian composer’s work about a Parisian romance, performed by the Welsh National Opera on stage in Dubai, will be a spectacular performance you won’t want to miss. From Dhs300. Thu Mar 9 to Sat Mar 11, 8pm, 3pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888).
Bryan Adams As well as having a record that stayed on the top of the UK charts for 16 weeks, the Canadian rocker has been number one in more than 40 countries and sold 65 million records. Expect one truly rocking show. From Dhs295. Thu Mar 9, 4pm. Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.117live.com (04 423 7980). Taste of Dubai The al fresco food fair offers the chance to eat at many of the city’s finest restaurants in a single taste bud-tantalising tour de force. Pop-up restaurants and food stalls will take over the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre and there’s likely to be live music and bean bags, so expect beats and comfy seats with your eats. Prices to be announced. Thu Mar 9, 4pm-midnight, Fri Mar 10, noon-midnight, Sat Mar 11 noon-11pm. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.tasteofdubaifestival.com (050 669 2097).
Sikka Art fair
Falling under the umbrella event of Art Dubai is this cultural fair in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Wander the beautifully-lit district down by the Creek at night to enjoy music performances, visual arts and a chilled community vibes. Free. Mar 11-21, times vary. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, www.dubaiculture.gov.ae (04 384 2000).
Design Days Dubai
The parade of objects of desire at this contemporary collectables fair makes us want to have more things. We fell in love with a sleek coffee table and an office chair that was beautiful at the last event, and we’re sure we’ll find plenty more to love at the fair in 2017. Prices and times vary. Mar 14-17. Dubai Design District, www.designdaysdubai.ae (04 563 1408). Art Dubai The annual celebration of all things artistic in Dubai reaches its 11th year in 2017. Some 90 galleries will be showcasing film, sculpture and contemporary artworks, as well as some challenging pieces to scratch your chin in front of and ponder. Prices and times vary. Mar 15-18. Various locations, www.artdubai.ae (04 563 1400).
BBC Proms This classical music institution has been performed for more than a hundred years, primarily at London’s Royal Albert Hall. For just the second time ever, it will be performed outside of the UK and Dubai Opera is the chosen location. The show will feature a variety classical performances new and old. From Dhs50. Mar 21-24, times vary. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888).
Sharbatly Fruit Big Stinker This Urban Ultra event is being called the toughest solo foot-race in the UAE. And we’re not surprised, since the challenging circuit includes a 45km trek up and down the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah. Register online to attend. Fri Mar 24, 7.30am. Ras Al Khaimah, www.premieronline.com.
Dubai World Cup
The world’s richest horse race remains one of the biggest highlights of the UAE social calendar. Expect a stellar concert to follow a day of horse racing and plenty of extravagant hats. From Dhs25. Sat Mar 25. Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba, www.dubaiworldcup.com (04 327 2110). White Nights This new international music festival has curated a critically acclaimed line-up of artists to perform in Dubai, including opera stars Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins, violinist David Garrett, tenor Jonas Kaufmann, soprano Angela Gheorghiu and jazz and pop singer Jamie Cullum. From Dhs550. Thu Mar 30 to Sat Apr 8, 8pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888).
April Middle East Film & Comic Con There is going to be Spandex. And make-up. Probably masks, capes and plastic lightsabers, too. All things geek culture will be celebrated and idolised by mega-fans and celebrities will be on hand for autographs. Price to be announced. Apr 7-9. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.mefcc.com. Sean Lock We always look forward to the annual big-stage stand-up events each year. Following on from the likes of Kevin Hart, Michael McIntyre, Jack Dee, Russell Peters, Jason Manford and Omid Djalili comes 8 out of 10 Cats funnyman Sean Lock. It will be the British comedian’s first performance in Dubai, and we’re ready to laugh very hard indeed. From Dhs295. Thu Apr 27, 7pm. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.doneevents.com (04 439 0900). May Justin Bieber After much confusion – Dubai dates were listed on Justin Bieber’s website and then pulled down shortly afterwards – it has been confirmed that the Canadian superstar will indeed stop off in Dubai as part of his Purpose World Tour. Catch the pop sensation at the Autism Rocks Arena on Saturday May 6. Register for tickets online. Sat May 6. Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.117live.com.
Mary Poppins They will deny it, but we’re sure we spotted at least two Time Outers break into spontaneous song and twirl an imaginary umbrella when this family-friendly musical adaptation was announced. They won't be quite so happy when they have to spell-check Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. From Dhs250. May 1-6; May 8-13; May 15-18, 3pm, 7.45pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888).
November Dubai Airshow
People in suits keep telling us this is more of a trade show than a consumer affair, but we still love the amazing fly-bys and stunt performances over the city each year. Free. Nov 12-16. Dubai World Central, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, www.dubaiairshow.aero (04 603 3300).