Dubai’s big party on the sand sees a line-up set to see you partying through the decades.
Award-winning music festival Sandance has, it is fair to say, experienced incredible highs and lows in its few short years. Anybody who grooved with Nile Rodgers, rocked with The Killers or danced until late with the planet’s biggest DJs will have lasting memories. Yet the stellar reputation has been tarnished by claims of overcrowding and a shambolic New Year’s Eve gig marked by traffic chaos, social media backlash and thousands of revellers being turned away. Promises were made of discount tickets and after months of silence, Friday May 9 heralds the return of Sandance. Can the festival win back a cautious crowd? Based on the line-up, it is clear that organisers want to be remembered for the right reasons. We say get there early to claim your spot on the sand (and skip any traffic), try free face-painting, grab a bite to eat and watch the sun sink to some low-fi tunes before cranking things up a notch after dark.
Pet Shop Boys
The Guinness Book of Records lists them as the most successful duo in the history of UK music, so it’s only fitting they’re headlining. Bringing their synthpop sounds to Dubai, Brit Award winners and Grammy nominees Chris Lowe and Neil Tenant are no strangers to the global stage with chart-topping singles such as ‘Go West’ and ‘It’s a Sin’.
Hailed as Band of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine back in 1993, this laid-back American group will take to the stage with their clean, conscious yet alternative hip-hop. Best known for their upbeat infectious hits such as ‘Mr Wendal’ and ‘People Everyday’, rapper Speech and the rest of the group will play their sunshine sounds just before sunset. Not one you want to miss.
Scouting for Girls
The English indie-pop trio, best known for catchy hits ‘Elvis Ain’t Dead’ and BRIT-award winning ‘This Ain’t a Lovesong’ will take the reins just after sunset with their whimsical brand of guitar and piano pop.
Winners of the Best Dubai Act at the 2014 Time Out Dubai Nightlife Awards, this duo are raring to go after having missed out on supporting Avicii a few weeks back when he cancelled his Atlantis gig. Touted as the first electronic dance duo to be signed to a major record label in the Middle East, DJ and producer Greg Stainer and MC Olly Wood will be on stage after the headliners.
Returning to Sandance with their multiple live instrument act, the South African duo will get the crowd excited with their high-energy set, samplers and special effects. Regulars at Pacha Ibiza, and having played sold out shows across the globe, make sure you catch one of the most exiting electronica acts of the moment.
Brit DJ Norman Cook is back in Dubai after a two-year hiatus, fresh from the success of hit single ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’, which climbed to number three in the UK charts last year. A total crowd-puller, the superstar DJ’s appearance affirms that Sandance is going all out with their latest line-up.
Grabbing the late night closing slot is regional favourite Omar Basaad, Saudi’s first official electronic dance music DJ. He’s the producer of the first Arabic dubstep track, which quite fittingly for the closing set is entitled ‘Neyhatina Eh’ or ‘Our End’.
Dhs300-Dhs450. Friday May 9 3pm-3am. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (055 200 4321).
Refunds and tickets
As promised, Sandance is giving all NYE 2013 ticketholders with a confirmed refund, a 50 percent discount for the Friday May 9 gig, meaning you can grab a ticket for just Dhs150 or Dhs225 VIP.
To get the discount, you must purchase your tickets from the same retailer that supplied your NYE tickets and you can only buy the same category, and up to the same number, of tickets as were originally purchased. All Time Out Tickets customers have received an email with the code needed to redeem their discount and other authorised retailers are also sending messages to customers. The discount only applies to advanced purchases and the offer expires on Thursday May 8, so don’t turn up on the day expecting discounted entry and remember, it’s a one-time only deal. Regular advanced price tickets are Dhs300 and Dhs450 VIP.