Pharrell Williams, Armin van Buuren, The Who, Rita Ora and many more
Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
After 12 months of waiting, Formula 1 weekend is back, and it’s bigger than ever. Race fans from across the world will be pouring in to join Abu Dhabi residents in a four-day long party to celebrate the end of the F1 season – and there will be as much action away from the track as there will be on it. International music stars galore are coming to perform on Yas Island, the Corniche, and at some of the city’s most high-profile venues and parties. Here's our pick of the best acts helping you make the most of these awesome upcoming days.
The Yasalam After Race concerts Formula 1 on Yas Island isn’t just about what goes down at Yas Marina Circuit, it’s about a total weekend entertainment experience, and nowhere is that more obvious than the Yasalam After Race concerts. Race ticket holders can collect a wristband at the track that guarantees entry to du Arena that evening, and with four superstar acts lined up, make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic party.
This year’s joint headliners are some of the biggest across a variety of genres. No matter what you like to shake your hips to, there will be a night at du Arena for you.
Mohammed Assaf The Yasalam After Race concerts kick off on Thursday November 20 with some of the biggest music stars in the Arabic world taking to the stage. Egyptian movie star Tamer Hosny, award-winning Lebanese musician and actress Carole Samaha, and Emirati singer Fayez Alsaeed will all perform, as will headliner Mohammed Assaf. Assaf won season two of Arab Idol, making him one of the most famous pop stars in the Arab world. Fans will be desperate to see the star take to the stage after a performance in Abu Dhabi earlier in the year had to be cancelled, making this the perfect concert to kick off a weekend of festivities in the capital.
Armin van Buuren On Friday November 21 one of the biggest DJs on the planet, Armin Van Buuren, will take to the decks in front of the massive du Arena crowd. The Dutch EDM legend has created a one-off customised show for the Yasalam After Race concerts, guaranteeing that fans in the capital will witness a once in a lifetime concert. Van Buuren was ranked as the best DJ in the world for five consecutive years and has had chart success with club anthems including recent smash, ‘This is What it Feels Like’. Dance music is a particularly well-supported genre in the UAE, global acts including DJ Sasha, John Digweed and Calvin Harris have all played in the capital in the past twelve months, even still Armin Van Buuren will be the biggest EDM act to have visited these shores. And not only will the legend himself be taking to the decks, but the UAE’s own dance music heroes Hollaphonic will also be playing a supporting set, which is sure to delight city residents. For clubbing fans, this is a concert that simply cannot be missed.
Pharrell Williams Playing the main stage on Saturday November 22 is perhaps the hottest commodity in music right now. Pharrell Williams has been around for what seems like forever, spearheading N*E*R*D and The Neptunes, but it’s only in the past year the producer and all-round music maestro has catapulted himself to the top of the solo charts. ‘Blurred Lines’ (in collaboration with Robin Thicke), ‘Get Lucky’ (in collaboration with Daft Punk) and ‘Happy’ are still three of the biggest songs on the radio months after their initial release, making 2013 and 2014 all about Pharrell – expect to hear all three chart toppers as well as a host of other hits. Pharrell is currently on his Dear G I R L tour in Europe, his du Arena gig will be his first visit to Abu Dhabi. The man of a thousand oversized Stetson hats will appeal to all the family – we wouldn’t be surprised if this was the biggest gig of the weekend.
The Who Taking to the stage on the final night of the weekend are British legends The Who. Following in the footsteps of The Rolling Stones, who played in the capital in February this year, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey will rock du Arena on the night of the F1 race. The concert will be the first date on the band’s Who Hits 50 anniversary tour.
Of course, The Who need no introduction, the group are one of the pillars of rock music history and one of the biggest musical acts still touring. Fans getting to see a band as big as The Who for free is the ultimate acknowledgement of how fantastic Yasalam is in 2014.
With legendary on stage performances spanning back 50 years (the occasion when fabled former drummer Keith Moon loaded his bass drum with explosives and blew the stage to pieces at the end of a set springs to mind), fans can expect an absolutely awesome show to close the F1 weekend.
‘My Generation’, ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, ‘Who are you?’... expect to hear all The Who’s classics on November 23.
All Yasalam After-Race concerts are free. Access only for race ticket holders, concert passes must be collected from Yas Marina Circuit on the day of the concert. Du Arena, Yas Island. For race ticket information visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com.
Beats on the Beach One of the city’s favourite music events, Beats on the Beach is back again in 2014, and this year it's bigger than ever. An awesome line-up of superstar artists from across the globe will take to the stage on the Corniche to perform to thousands over the course of the three-day festival. Once you’ve checked out who will be there you’ll be making sure you’re there as well. Thursday November 20 Charice Charmaine Pempengco, also known as Charice, is a Filipina singer born in the province of Laguna. Charice gained international recognition when Ellen DeGeneres watched her videos on YouTube and brought Pempengco to The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2007 and is currently on a world tour after also appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also a cast member of US TV smash Glee and is a judge on the Philippine version of The X Factor.
Juicy J Academy Award-winning Juicy J is an American rapper, songwriter and record producer, who is also a founding member of hip hop group Three 6 Mafia, formed in 1991. As well as recording hits in his own right, Juicy J has collaborated with Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Whiz Khalifa and most recently on Katy Perry’s smash hit ‘Dark Horse’. He will be sure to bring his own distinct lyrical style to The Corniche on F1 weekend’s Thursday evening.
Shatha Hassoun Winner of the 4th series of television talent show Star Academy Arab World, with Moroccan and Iraqi heritage, Shatha Hassoun is one of the most popular singers in the Middle East and Maghreb region. Known as the, ‘Daughter of Mesopotamia’, award-winning Shatha has a unique Iraqi-Arab dialect, and is famous for her stunning live performances. She performs in many languages, including Arabic, English and French.
Two Tone Moroccan hip hop artist Two Tone is a UAE resident who will be playing Yasalam for the first time. He is a big name in the Dubai music industry who has worked with many of the UAE’s home-grown music talent.
Friday November 21 Miguel On Friday night US singer and producer Miguel will make his UAE debut at Beats on the Beach. Bringing a Californian flair to the night, Miguel will perform hits including ‘Sure Thing’, ‘Do You’ and ‘Adorn’.
Jason Derulo US RnB superstar Jason Derulo will headline Friday night’s show. The singer will be bringing his back catalogue of hits to the Corniche, including ‘Whatcha Say’, ‘In My Head’, ‘Ridin’ Solo’, ‘Talk Dirty’, and ‘Wiggle’. With more than five million records sold, he is one of the most recognisable voices on the radio, and is well-known for being a great live entertainer when on stage in front of big crowds.
Hard Kaur Taran Kaur Dhillon, known by her stage name Hard Kaur, is a British-Indian rapper and hip hop singer. From Birmingham to Bombay, she has taken the Asian music industry by storm with her own unique brand of hip-hop. Hard Kaur is one of the most successful solo British-Asian entertainers across the globe. The Indian media have hailed her as the saviour of the music scene in the country, and the UAE is sure to welcome her with equally open arms and ears.
Ruwaida Al Mahrooqi Ruwaida Al Mahrooqi's singing career took off after she won the silver medal in 1996’s series of popular music programme Studio Al Fan. Her stunning renditions of classical numbers earned her the title of, ‘Fairuz Al Khaleej’ or, ‘Fairuz of the Gulf’. Returning to her hometown, Abu Dhabi, to perform at Yasalam, Ruwaida is sure to go down well with the crowd on the Corniche.
Saturday November 22 Rita Ora Rita Ora has risen sensationally to the top of the UK music industry in under three years. Concert goers on Saturday are bound to hear Rita’s three number one singles from 2012 ‘How We Do (Party)’, ‘R.I.P’ and ‘Hot Right Now’ as well as 2014 smash hit ‘I Will Never Let You Down’ and possibly other tracks from her upcoming second album. Who knows, we might even get a couple of bars of ‘Black Widow’, the Izzy Azalea song that has been dominating the charts for months, as Rita is featured on the track. Expect an energetic performance – for many this will be the highlight of the Yasalam festival.
Tinashe The 21-year-old singer, songwriter, and performer Tinashe is coming to Abu Dhabi with a distinct and dynamic vision of her individual sound. A mix of RnB punctuated by hip-hop attitude, pop flavour, rock swagger, and electronica spark, the set will go down well with the crowd on the beach.
Sabine She’s been named as a ‘Best Rising Star’ by Universal Studios, following in the footsteps of names such as Rihanna and Mariah Carey, so big things are expected for Lebanese-born singer and dancer, Sabine. She has a gifted vocal range and uses her talents to recreate Arab romance and dance music, which will be popular with UAE residents.
Ragheb Alama Lebanese superstar, Ragheb Alama, is probably the most famous and popular singer and composer in the Arab world, with several chart-topping hits and a platinum album, Baa’sha’ak. Alama is also the head judge on Arab Idol. His set is sure to be well-received by UAE residents and visitors to the city.
Juliana Down Juliana Down is perhaps the most well-known UAE produced, home-grown rock band. Dia Hassan (vocals/guitar) and Sari Ramadan (guitar) have now established themselves as an international act who is paving the way for more local talent from the UAE to follow.
Having already played with Muse, Guns N’ Roses and Maroon 5, the guys are no strangers to the main stage. Expect a rocking set from start to finish, the passion and energy of the band is sure to resonate with the Beats on the Beach crowd. November 20-22. Live on the Corniche. activities have moved from East Plaza to West Plaza and Lagoon Beach, Abu Dhabi Corniche. For more details visit www.yasalam.ae.
The After Parties With so many visitors, high rollers and celebrities in town for Formula 1 weekend, it isn’t surprising that there are so many events companies also hosting big events to satisfy their appetite to party. All over the city bottles will be popping to either salute or commiserate with the F1 drivers who are sure to be out and about in the city themselves, and yet more international performers will be there too to keep the party going until the early hours. Here are our favourite picks of the acts you have to see over the weekend.
O1NE Yas Island Twelve months ago O1NE Yas Island announced itself on the UAE party scene by opening on Formula 1 weekend. One year later, and the superclub has solidified its reputation as one of top two or three, if not the number one nightlife destination in Abu Dhabi. LCD walls and an illuminated catwalk dance floor are the standout feature of the club’s iconic décor, and partygoers can rely on fantastic resident and international guest DJs to keep the party rocking until the early hours of the morning.
The line-up of acts that played over Formula 1 weekend in 2013 was impressive, but O1NE has taken things up a notch this time, with an outstanding programme of live acts set to wow in 2014.
Thursday night will see US RnB superstar Jason Derulo take to the stage. Fans can expect to hear worldwide hits including ‘Whatcha Say’, ‘Ridin’ Solo’ and ‘Wiggle’ during what will prove to be an extremely popular set.
Mega DJ Armin Van Buuren is playing at du Arena on Friday November 21, but once he’s done on the main stage he will be heading straight over to O1NE Yas Island to keep the party going. Expect fireworks and celebrations when one of the biggest EDM heroes on the planet gets on the decks at O1NE Yas Island’s iconic venue.
When you thought things couldn’t get any better, it does, because Grammy Award-winner T-Pain will be in the house on Saturday, playing thumping hip-hop classics such as ‘I’m in Luv’, ‘Buy You a Drank’ and ‘Low’. The weekend’s final evening will be highlighted by a set from Solomun, one of the most respected DJs on the European underground and Ibiza club circuits.
With four very different, but equally impressive acts, if you want to party during F1 then head to O1NE Yas Island. Table prices available upon request. For more information visit www.o1neyasisland.com (052 788 8111).
Amber Lounge One of the most exclusive parties on the Formula 1 circuit, Amber Lounge is returning to Yas Marina for another year of decadence and high glamour partying.
Located at the heart of Yas Marina, Amber Lounge Abu Dhabi 2014 looks sets to be its biggest event in the capital to date. High fashion, stunning décor and a luxury atmosphere is the reputation Amber Lounge has garnered through hosting super-luxe parties in Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, its final event of the Formula 1 season promises to be one of its biggest to date.
As well as having a luxury yacht stationed in the harbour for VIPs and celebrities, Amber Lounge will be hosting their fashionable parties on Saturday and Sunday evening over Formula 1 weekend. International DJs will be providing the tunes throughout the night, and Grammy Award-winning artist Estelle will perform live on both evenings.
On Saturday evening Amber Lounge will host its legendary ‘Girls Night Out’ party, hosted and attended by the F1 models. Sunday night’s Formula 1 race after party will see drivers and celebrities flock to the marina to celebrate the end of the F1 season – past guests at Amber Lounge Abu Dhabi include Kylie Minogue, Hugh Grant and Nicole Scherzinger as well as a host of F1 drivers, so guests can expect to rub shoulders with the stars in a superb setting. Parties Sat-Sun 11pm-6am. 2nd Floor, Building One, Yas Marina. Packages available for each night individually, as well as VIP, table and individual pass packages for both evenings. For all bookings contact email@example.com, www.amber-lounge.com (+377 97 77 16 34, +1 91 79 72 63 82).
The Podium Lounge From Thursday to Sunday of the Formula 1 weekend, Yas Viceroy’s open-air bar and nightclub spot (normally named as Skylite and Latitude & Longitude) will be run by The Podium Lounge, one of the most recognisable events companies on the F1 circuit.
Guest hosted by Freddie Hunt, son of Formula 1 legend James Hunt, and 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, The Podium Lounge returns to Abu Dhabi promising to be the biggest party the F1-based events company has held here.
The rooftop of the Yas Viceroy will be transformed into an ultra-glamorous lounge venue that will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 people. In addition to high-end style and sophistication, parties at The Podium Lounge are famous for providing top of the range entertainment to its guests. Seb Fontaine and Hollaphonic were just some of the acts that played at The Podium Lounge Abu Dhabi in 2013 – guests can expect an equally impressive line-up this year.
Things will kick off on Thursday night, with sets from Smokingroove and Patrick Oliver to welcome the weekend in style. Friday night will be dominated by Sister Bliss, a founding member of British iconic dance music pioneers Faithless. On the eve of the big race itself Grammy Award-winning duo Dirty Vegas will take to the decks, and in what will be perhaps the most riotous race after party, UK drum and bass outfit Rudimental will headline Sunday evening. The group have played twice in Dubai to much acclaim in the past twelve months, and so are one of the most anticipated acts coming for F1 weekend. With songs such as, ‘Waiting All Night’, ‘Not Giving In’ and ‘Feel the Love’, all expected to bring the house down, this is one concert music fans won’t want to miss out on. Thu-Sun 10pm-5am. General admission ranges from Dhs350 on Thu to Dhs850 on Sun. VIP tables range from Dhs1,500 (four people) to Dhs49,000 (20 people) VVIP tables (which include meet and greets with performers and celebrities in attendance on the night). Marine wing rooftop, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island. For more information or bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.podiumlounge.com/ae (055 309 5495).
Alternative nights Don't fancy Formula 1 frippery? There's plenty of other fantastic events going on this weekend Polo at The Palace The glam inaugural Coutts Polo at the Emirates Palace takes place from November 23-24 to raise money for HIV/AIDS. Entry is limited to 1,000 people and a Stella McCartney fashion show rounds off the event in style. General admission starts at Dhs250. www.citypoloseries.com or Rachel@cityevents.uk.com for VIP tickets.
Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival Named in honour of the UAE's founding father, this event celebrates the country's cultural inheritance. Soak up the rich diversity of Emirati tradition with workshops showcasing the desert, oasis, mountains and sea. From Nov20 to Dec 12 at Alwathbah. www.zayedfestival.com. Abu Dhabi Classics Travel through music with the world premiere of Spanish conductor Jordi Savall's latest masterpiece. The show is dedicated to the famous Arabic traveller Ibn Battura and features a range of exotic instruments such as the kanun, rebab, oud and percussions. Tickets on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae.