2009 was an eventful year for Dubai. 2010 is going to be bigger and better. Don't believe us? Read on
January The year swoops into action with the Capitala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi until January 2, when the world’s top players will volley away for the top prize (Rafael Nadal aced it last year). The strangely recognisable US funnyman Jon Lovitz should make his gig this time, rescheduled for January 14 at the Madinat Arena. The Freestylers play Alpha on January 15, while Blood Brothers, one of the most successful musicals of all time (even this early in the year, it’s already all about the superlatives) will be coming to The First Group Theatre for two weeks from the 25th. On the same date, the MahMovies! Music for the Eyes free film series is back for a five-week run, bringing in acts such as the Canadian swing/jazz/’80s fusion band The Lost Fingers (www.thelostfingers.com). Elsewhere, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is being held on January 21-24 (expect big boys like Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia, but perhaps no Tiger). Finally, you won’t be able to avoid the delights of the Dubai Shopping Festival, running for a month from January 28.
February Golf sees us into February, with the Dubai Desert Classic on February 2-7 (again, we’re not expecting the Woods). In stranger ‘sporting’ news, a monster truck rally will be held at Festival City during the month. Attracting a similar crowd, the Gulf Bike Festival is on February 4-6, with Nickelback and Status Quo providing an unlikely line-up. Remaining on a musical bent, Brit singer-songwriter James Morrison will headline this year’s Jazz Fest – running from February 10-19 – along with Californian folk singer Brett Dennen; Bloc Party’s Kele will finally make it over to play a DJ set on February 19; Reverend and The Makers – they supported Oasis on tour last year – will perform in Alpha (date TBC); and Sunidhi Chauhan plays the Madinat Arena on February 18. In non-music news, Bloomingdale’s is slated to open in The Dubai Mall this month, the rest of the stations on the metro red line should be completed and the winner of the Booker Prize for Arabic Fiction will be announced. Of course, we mustn’t forget the Dubai Tennis Championships from February 14-27, which this year will include a ladies’ day, fashion parade, the unveiling of its first-ever mascot and a junior tournament, served up two weeks ahead of the main contests. Finally, will your favourite bar, club or DJ win at our second ever Nightlife Awards? You’ll need to get to www.timeoutdubai.com and start voting!
March Rather exciting news, this: Emirates Airline is launching a new Football Sevens event from March 11-13, featuring 300 international and local sides. Annual events Taste of Dubai (date TBC) and Art Dubai (March 17-20) are back. Highlights of the latter will include the return of the Global Art Forum and the second annual Abraaj Capital Art Prize. Sticking in the arty vein, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival runs from March 20 until April 7, showcasing the world’s best ballet, classical music, art and all sorts. Yachty types will get excited about the Dubai International Boat Show 2010 from March 9-13, while we predict that the city will go Meydan-mad when the first Dubai World Cup is held at the new multi-million-dirham venue on March 27 (with race season having started on January 28). Start planning your outfit now. April The month screams into life with Zee Dubai Mega Mela, the city’s biggest ever Indian lifestyle festival, including food, fashion, music and Bollywood hotties, from April 1-3 at Dubai Media City. Next, look out for crazy brides at every turn as the biggest Dubai Bride Show hosts events all over the city from April 7-10. All eyes then look to Abu Dhabi as Grammy-nominated sitar player Anoushka Shankar (yes, she’s Ravi’s daughter) plays the music and arts festival on the 8th, the Red Bull Air Race fills the air on the 17th, Womad festival returns from Thursday 22-Saturday 24 and a Sounds of Arabia concert (with artists TBA) is scheduled for Thursday 29.
May Hmm, thus far we can’t predict much for May apart from rising temperatures and the Hotel Show from May 18-20, which, seeing as we live in the world’s hotel capital, is bound to be a big deal. Christie’s will be back auctioning Arab art and jewels at Emirates Towers (date TBC) if you have a few million dirhams to spend.
June Now we’re talking. Football fever takes over this month, with the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa from June 11. Keep a lookout for info on World Cup parties in Dubai during the run-up to the event. A few big completions are scheduled: the metro green line and Al Maktoum International Airport. As the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub, the airport will be 10 times larger than Dubai Airport and Dubai Cargo Village combined. Local artists can flaunt their talents at Reform, the Traffic design competition volume 2, and everyone will sigh – either through despair or delirium – at the sight of Modhesh as Dubai Summer Surprises kicks off its 10-week run. July It’s hard to plan this far ahead (hence our diary looking a little sparse), but we’re guessing it’s going to be hot. We’ll still be here to supply you with canny survival tips (such as Dubai’s 100 favourite films and why you should see them all, inside, in an air-conditioned room!).
August & September Expect more of those glorious 50°C days. Ramadan is predicted to begin on August 11, meaning the Eid al-Fitr celebrations (think fireworks and much fanfare) will hit the city a month later.
October It’s GITEX’s 30th birthday! Taking place from October 17-21, we’re hoping the technology exhibition will celebrate by managing to reduce congestion around Trade Centre roundabout (the jams during the 2009 event were legendary). And you won’t miss the Diwali lights all over town.
November F1, Rugby Sevens and the Dubai World Championship horse racing – we’ve reached the height of the UAE’s sporting calendar. Fingers crossed the season will bring some stellar musical visitors, and SoundCity 2, too.
December The 10th FINA World Swimming Championships is expected to make a splash from December 15-19, with the venue TBC (we’re guessing it’s a swimming pool?). Other than that, we’re hoping Dubai International Film Festival returns with an even more eclectic mix of films than this year (plus a couple of invites to its opening party). Burj watch At the time of going to press, we were a bit confused about when the Burj Dubai might be opening. Although its ‘inauguration’ is most certainly pencilled in for January 4, we’ve been told this doesn’t mean the tower is actually opening. Curious. Fingers crossed we can get in there by the end of February.
Rumours The Royal Ballet is coming to Sharjah at the end of January. The new cast of musical Calendar Girls, including Jerry Hall, will perform in Dubai next March. But do the venues know about the play’s subject matter? The top floor of the World Trade Centre is being turned into an events space that can be rented out to promoters and businesses. It’ll have 360-degree views and should be open in March. Hard Rock Café will move to Festival City, where Leonard Cohen will also play. The drummer from Kaiser Chiefs is coming to do a DJ set. And, finally, we have to say that U2 are coming to town. It’s a tradition!
Set to open in 2010 The five-star Taj Exotica. Modelled on the palaces of Rajasthan, it will have 232 rooms and apparently ‘the largest spa in the Middle East’. Some hotels are due to open on the Palm, including the Royal Amwaj and Ottoman Palace, and construction on some of The World islands is due to start. Also look out for The Conrad Hotel Dubai, and a second Ritz-Carlton business hotel in DIFC. The Palazzo Versace Resort may open in 2010, although some are saying 2011, and also on the cards is Tiger Woods’ Al Ruwaya resort, a 30-minute drive from Dubai International Airport. Rumours that it will host women’s classes in self defence using golf clubs are unconfirmed.
And five things that won’t happen… 1 Snow in Dubai. Yes, it would be surreal, but for the future of the planet we really hope it doesn’t happen.
2 Dubailand is completed.
3 Ras Al Khaimah builds that rumoured outdoor ski slope in the Hajar mountains.
4 The Rolling Thunder trailer about Dubai in 2010 actually comes true.
5 The proposed 80-storey ‘world’s first building in motion’ is built.