Now we’ve got a bone to pick with Dubai’s habit of labelling anything with more than one DJ a ‘festival’. Elsewhere in the world a festival is something that involves sitting in a tent next to an overflowing portaloo for three days, listening to dozens of acts on various stages and trying not to get trenchfoot. When was the last time you did that in Dubai, eh? Eh? Exactly!
Anyway, the latest addition to the ‘festivals that aren’t festivals’ list, Urban Gathering Festival, is actually a little more convincing than most. Sure, it only takes place over one night, but it’ll have at least 18 acts playing in multiple rooms at Chi to replicate that multi-arena festival vibe. There’s also food, stalls and, er, tattooists (not permanent ones, we presume) to get the true festival atmosphere. All you have to do is leave your foot in the toilet until it goes all white and horrible and you’re practically there!
It’s an impressively varied line-up, too. Just take a look:
Chi Garden – Hip Hop/R&B Nation
Lisa Maffia, MC and former So Solid Crew member, will headline with a live PA set; other live acts will include K-Young, Niles and Ash Hamman. DJs will include top jock DJ Nabs – he’s worked with Ludacris and Jay-Z, it says here – and DJ She Devil.
Chi Club – Garage Nation
UK garage masters Heartless Crew – the brilliantly named MCs Bushkin and Mighty Moe, and DJ Fonti – will take prime place in this room, with support from Radio 1’s own DJ Bliss.
Chi Lounge – House Nation
Iain Thomson – he’s the editor of M8 magazine, but if he asks nicely we might let him have a job on Time Out – will be rolling out the uplifting, funky house, with a little help from AJ, who’s an old hand at the famous Miss Moneypenny’s nights.
Chi Red – Raggaeton Nation
Local talent rules here, with Bamba Selecta and DJ Mo Tiger heading up a room full of raggaeton music – think Daddy Yankee’s ‘Gasolina’.
So there you go: a festival in one night. In a city that’s obsessed with having the biggest everything, it’s nice to see someone supporting this kind of concentrated entertainment. Now, how’s about a five-minute festival?
James Wilkinson. Urban Dance Festival takes place at Chi on December 9