Secret parties - with no fixed venue and hardly any information - are the hottest concept on the Dubai nightlife scene. Time Out goes behind the scenes.
A bunch of kids invited by a mysterious benefactor to party on a secret island? It sounds like a particularly hedonistic episode of Scooby Doo, but no – this is The Secret, the beach-based alternative to Dubai’s clubbing scene. And here’s Molly Malone, the aforementioned mysterious (and distinctly pseudonymic) benefactor, to explain where the idea came from: ‘It started out just as two crazy girls on a man-hating day out. We went on a Thelma And Louise-style road trip and just stumbled across this island that we loved. Then we started to take our friends there to chill out, and every time they asked where they were going, we said, “It’s a secret!” And the rest is history.’
If you know how to appreciate good company and love super-funky music then we’d love to have you
Friends aside, there have been two public events so far, with the third lined up for this weekend. So what can the plucky first-timer to this Abu Dhabi-based island expect?
Well if previous experience is anything to go by, uplifting, sax-heavy vocal house blaring out over a temperature-controlled pool (that also features a bar), a restaurant with à la carte menu and a barbecue, not to mention miles of beach.
The first night’s music was provided by Hed Kandi, but if you want to know who’ll be playing the tunes this time around, you’ll have to wait. Why? Because it’s a (drumroll, please) secret. ‘Too many club nights in the UAE seem to rely on big names, then when they don’t have a superstar behind the decks, the crowd don’t turn up! We want people to come rock The Secret with us simply because they know they’re going to have a wicked day out. The fact that they will see famous faces behind the decks from time to time is just an added bonus.’
The last Secret party pulled in 750 beachwear-clad clubbers – with both sexes happily represented, despite the night’s ‘man-hating’ origins – and even if you don’t look like a beach bunny, Molly says that’s no reason not to go. ‘We don’t care who you are, who you know, what you look like, where you’re from or what your background is. If you know how to have a good time, appreciate good company and love super-funky music then we’d love to have you.’
You don’t even need a bulging wallet. ‘The Secret runs on an all-inclusive package so we cater for your thirst and your hunger; the rest is up to you,’ says Molly. ‘Those that do bring mountains of stuff always, always, always leave without it! Saturday morning my phone rings off the hook with, “Did you find any sunglasses?” Or, “I left my wallet and my phone…”’
The next Secret event is also the last one before Ramadan, and will run from noon-8pm on August 29.
The island’s location and the transport information will be disclosed on a need-to-know basis. ‘All the final details come about 48 hours before the event, via a Secret message sent to the email address you gave when you bought your tickets, or through Facebook,’ reveals Molly conspiratorially. ‘Whatever you do, make sure you find me on Facebook.’
Plans are afoot for another event at the start of October that aims to combine Glastonbury, the UK’s largest music festival, with dance music event The Miami Winter Music Conference. ‘I know we can tell you that,’ adds Molly, ‘because you’ll keep it a secret.’ Whoops…
The Secret is held on August 29. Tickets can be bought from www.timeouttickets.com, under the ‘Abu Dhabi’ section.