What to expect at Mother of the Nation 2021: Craig David to perform

The event takes place until December 18 at the Abu Dhabi Corniche

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A dessert museum, an Instagrammable cafe and performances by Egyptian superstar Sherine Abdel Wahab and British singer-songwriter Craig David are among the things to look forward to at the Mother of the Nation (MOTN) festival.

The annual event, now in its fifth year, is organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. It is taking place until December 18 at the Corniche, transforming the city’s coastline into a vibrant cultural and entertainment destination.

The event promises to provide plenty of photo opportunities, family fun and live performances across its six themed zones, which include Inspire Space, Thrill Zone, Food Hub, Music Arena, Shopping District and Amusement Park.

Inspire Space

One of the key highlights of the festival will be the Inspire Space.

It will feature a series of picturesque rooms designed by various artists living in the UAE. The rooms trace the country’s 50-year journey since its foundation.

The zone will also feature the Dessert Museum, dedicated to sweets and confectionaries; the MOTN Funhouse, a special section celebrating manga and cosplayers; and Glow Sushi Bar by Bompas & Parr in collaboration with Akiba Dori.

Music Arena

MOTN’s Music Arena will welcome globally and regionally renowned stars to its main stage, with an exhilarating line-up all set for the opening weekend. Headlining the festival is the Egyptian superstar Sherine, who will be performing on Friday, December 10.

British singer Craig David and Jordanian TikTok sensation Issam Alnajjar will perform on Friday and Saturday to close out the event.

Australian rapper The Kid Laroi, who was set to perform during the closing weekend, will no longer appear.

Kuwaiti boy band Miami Band will also perform live on Thursday, December 9, with Iraqi Qalb Qalb singer Mohamed Alsalim as the opening act.

Iraqi pop star Mahmoud Al Turky will also take to the stage on Saturday, December 18, alongside ‘Haba Haba’ artist Khaled Fouad.

Tickets for the concerts are now on sale, with prices starting from Dh75.

Amusement Park

This zone will host the World of Nickelodeon, which includes characters from the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and more.

The eye-catching zone houses a series of fun activities such as Diggers Lab, a children’s play park, exciting carnival rides and other games.

Food Hub

Find globally recognised outlets such as Burger & Beyond and Matcha Mama from Tulum here.

South African artist Daniel Popper is also curating a one-of-a-kind installation in this zone. The larger-than-life art piece is titled Nurture, and symbolises the importance of self-nurturing and the human relationship with Mother Earth. Popper is known for his figurative sculptures and magnificent public art installations, which have grabbed attention around the world, including at the Burning Man and Tulum festivals.

Visitors will also be treated to tunes from local entertainers including Alaa Wardi, Aleksandra Krstic, Carl & The Reda Mafia, DJ Bliss and DJ Keza.

Shopping District

Here, Beach Market will feature local favourites, while Bo-tik is a pavilion for luxury brands. The zone will feature items from several recognisable brands, including Rula Galayini, Sarah’s Bag and sustainable fashion from Riot, with pre-loved pieces by Balmain, Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, among others.

The Shopping District will also feature EL&N London, reputed to be the world’s most Instagrammable cafe, in the UAE for the first time.

Thrill Zone

This zone will feature the famous Rick & Morty Laser Tag, a skate and parkour park, the Smash Room, a horror escape room, a gaming hub and more.

Covid-19 safety rules

The festival will run in line with the Go Safe Certification, a programme launched by DCT Abu Dhabi that enforces global standards of safety and cleanliness at hotels, events, attractions and venues across the emirate.

Where to find tickets

Tickets to the festival are available for purchase online and start at Dh25 for general admission. Concert tickets start at Dh75 for the Miami Band with opening act Mohamed Alsalim and Dh125 for a silver pass for the Sherine performance. Tickets will cost more if visitors buy them at the door.

Updated: December 14, 2021, 12:17 PM