Dubai’s newest shoreline shindig is set to take off on Friday April 24. Holly Sands meets its organisers to find out what you can expect from the first festival in the series.
o sooner had Dubai’s newest beachside festival been announced did the question begin to be asked all over town – is this the new Sandance? ‘The short answer is no,’ says Greg Dufton, one half of the promotion team responsible for introducing the series of mega-gigs to Atlantis The Palm back in 2010. He’s now one third of the trio behind DXBeach, Zero Gravity’s brand-new 15-hour festival set to host 5,000 revellers at its inaugural event on Friday April 24.
‘With the uncertainty around whether there will be another Sandance – I’ll make it very clear, the Sandance brand is owned by Atlantis – obviously that has left a gap in the market for a beach event,’ Dufton continues, explaining that Zero Gravity, located next to SkyDive Dubai and overlooking JBR’s beach and Dubai Marina, is the perfect home for just such a gig.
Big commercial sounds and top local names are the musical order of the day, and the line-up reads like a who’s who of 2015’s most talked-about acts, both internationally and here in the city. Star DJ, producer and Bruno Mars collaborator Mark Ronson headlines, alongside UK chart-topper Jess Glynne, with Danny Howard, John Dahlbäck, Sneaky Sound System and Nightmares on Wax also sharing the bill. Marko Smokingroove, local favourite and winner of the Best DJ accolade at the recent Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards, will also put in a sizzling shift behind the decks, while soulful local singer and songwriter Adam Baluch (Highly Commended at the Music & Nightlife Awards) will treat the crowd to a live set. But this is only the beginning for DXBeach.
A series is promised, though a second, post-summer date will only be announced once the organisers have had time to review and refine after the first big event, according to Zero Gravity’s ambitious general manager, Peter Skudutis.
DXBeach is about more than just music. To prove the point, the day kicks off at noon with a three-hour brunch (Dhs495, including your ticket to the whole event), while SensAsia Urban Spas will be doling out free massages on the beach. There will even be watersports available for the breed of partygoer resistant to good-old-fashioned relaxation. ‘We’re even looking at doing a drumming workshop,’ Dufton adds, explaining that with ribbon dancing during the day and fire shows at night, they’re going for a ‘Goan beach vibe’. ‘Local heroes’ will provide music throughout the day, with the pace picking up as the sun slips below the horizon, with the big acts kicking off from 5pm.
The range of activities seems designed to encourage people to rock up whenever they want – and beat the notorious JBR traffic in the process. But even with a gradual filling up of the venue, when 5,000 ticket holders eventually are on the ground, how will it handle the demands on service? ‘We average around 2,500 to 3,000 visitors every Friday night, and we welcomed 4,000 on New Year’s Eve, so this is not too big a jump for us,’ Skudutis assures, noting that 5,000 isn’t actually the venue’s capacity, but what they’re choosing to cap attendance at in order to keep standards high. Nevertheless, he’s keen to highlight the fact that there will be a food and beverage village in Zero Gravity’s garden serving up everything from Asian snacks to mixed drinks to shisha, and making up part of the 80 metres of bar set to keep punters hydrated and in high spirits.
It all sounds very promising. Sure, it won’t be on the scale of a 12,000-strong Sandance, but as many partygoers can attest, that’s a model in need of a makeover. And as with every big new event, there’s plenty that could go wrong, but if Dufton, Skudutis and the rest of the team can get DXBeach right, it could very well be Dubai’s funkiest festival yet.
Dhs200 (early bird), Dhs250 (regular), Dhs500 VIP (includes access to raised VIP lounge). For table packages, contact the venue (055 500 9111). Friday April 24, noon-3am. Zero Gravity, near SkyDive Dubai, Dubai Marina, www.dxbeach.ae.
The DXBeach line-up
Sneaky Sound System
Nightmares on Wax
Last-chance al fresco gigs
The weather’s heating up, but there are still plenty of cool events demanding a spot on your calendar
Thursday April 30 to Friday May 1
Expect music from Kasabian, Kool & the Gang, Jessie Ware, Robin Thicke, Nico & Vinz and Craig David at this two-day event fusing rock, reggae, funk, disco and soul.
From Dhs395. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Tickets available from Virgin Megastores.
Saturday April 18 and Saturday May 9
The family-orientated electronic music festival returns this week with a line-up featuring My Favorite Robot, Manik, Toy Boys, Arcade 82 and Josephine de Retour. Head down in May for Patrice Baumel, JC Pinto, Miss P.M. and Aly B.
Dhs130 online, Dhs150 on the door. 1pm-10pm. Dubai Sport City, www.piknicelectronik.ae.
Nasimi Sessions featuring Example
Friday May 1
British singer, songwriter and producer Example performs at the fifth edition of Nasimi Sessions. Example has released platinum-selling albums including Playing in the Shadows, featuring the hit single ‘Changed the Way You Kiss Me’, and has worked with the likes of The Wanted, Pet Shop Boys and Sigma.
Dhs100 (early bird), Dhs150 on the door, free for ladies before 7pm. 5pm-3am. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (055 200 4321).
Anne Curtis live
Thursday May 7
Filipino singer Anne Curtis returns to Dubai with her ‘This is it Dubai!’ show. Fans will get the chance to sing live on stage with Curtis during the show, plus the chance to win a Dhs10,000 cash prize and round-trip ticket to the Philippines courtesy of Philippine Airlines.
From Dhs100. 7pm. Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (056 461 7308).
Groove on the Grass
Friday May 8 and Friday June 5
This funky dance festival sees a series of international DJs descend on the decks as the sun sets and the moon rises. But it’s not all about the music – past entertainment has ranged from hula-hooping and acroyoga to Velcro walls.
Dhs180 in advance, Dhs200 on the door. 3pm-7pm (barbecue brunch), 7pm-3am. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills, www.grooveonthegrass.com.
With the weather heating up, you don’t want to be waiting roadside to hail a taxi. Sit back and relax in the comfort of your chair and arrange reliable travel with Careem – the region’s leading car booking service. Sign up with promo code TIMEOUT to receive Dhs50 free credit. Valid until April 30 and the credit will expire 30 days after activation.