The Dubai International Kite Fest will bring a stunning display of colour to our shores. Benita Adesuyan speaks to Eassa Hashim of ATG Solutions, the company organising the event, to find out what we can expect from the spectacle.
The Dubai International Kite Fest started out as a small-scale community event with a few dozen families and hobbyist kite flyers catching the wind over Kite Beach. Now in its second year, the event, which takes place from Thursday January 29 to Saturday 31, has gone global. Top-class performers will show off all kinds of kites from land and sea, and the organisers have high hopes for this year’s festival. Eassa Hashim, Business Development Manager at tech company ATG Solutions, which is organising the event, explains what’s in store.
Tell us a little bit about The Dubai International Kite Fest
We held the event on a smaller scale many years back. It wasn’t an international festival then, but now, thanks to Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment, which it is being hosted in association with as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival, we have 25 countries participating. The festival is part of an ending ceremony for DSF. We want to change people’s perception of kite flying. There are lots of activities that make up this sport. It’s not just about holding a rope and trying to catch some wind.
What kinds of activities will be taking place at the festival?
There will be kiteboarding, kitesurfing, kite buggying, synchronised, and 3D kite flying – where a trail of lights are put onto kites so they can be seen in the night sky. We will also have performers coming in from around the world to show off the diversity of the sport.
How many people do you expect to attend?
There’s normally about 8,000 people on Kite Beach at any given weekend, so with our event, we think that could be increased to about 25,000. It’s a three-day event so we hope there will be around 75,000 people getting involved or spectating.
What’s new this year that the community can get involved with?
We have consulted Guinness World Records this year and on Saturday January 31, we are hosting a world record attempt for the largest number of kites in the sky in 15 different locations. We’re aiming for 15,000 people to take part and the locations will be schools. We’ve been targeting years eight to 12 and a minimum of 1,000 students per school. The record to break is 11,000 people flying kites in eight locations. The world record attempt is also open to the wider public.
How can people get involved with the record attempt?
People and schools should register online if they’d like to take part. Guinness World Records will then send those who have registered a certificate and lanyard, as well as various goodies. It costs Dhs150 to participate.
Do those taking part need to have their own kites?
No, we will also provide kites.
The festival has grown each year. What’s your plan for the future?
Our first Kite Fest was just about people coming and flying kites, but with this year’s event, we want people to experience different kinds of kite-related activities. We also plan to start a competition that could potentially see Dubai bid for a kite world cup event.
What are you most looking forward to at the festival?
The one thing I’m excited about is the night kite flying event – if you’ve seen the videos online, you’ll be excited too. It’s mind-blowing because it’s synchronised. And with the LEDs illuminating the tails of the kites they actually look like shooting stars.
Dhs150 to take part in the world record attempt, free to spectate. January 29 3pm-9pm; January 30 11am-9pm; January 31 world record attempt starts at 3pm. Kite Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.ikfdubai.com (04 336 0782).