Untold Dubai to return next year as Psy ends the festival in Gangnam style

Expo City Dubai played host to the four-day event featuring musical stars from around the world

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Untold Dubai will return to Dubai next year, festival co-founder Edy Chereji has confirmed to The National.

The inaugural four-day music event at Expo City Dubai was attended by more than 100,000 people, Chereji said. It also marked the first global expansion of the Romanian dance event.

“This was really one of the goals when we first discussed bringing Untold almost two years ago,” said Chereji.

“As well as creating the kind of event that can attract music lovers and families to travel to the UAE, we wanted this event to really act as a showcase for the Expo City Dubai itself.

“We showed event organisers and various entertainment industries, from film to fashion, what this site can really offer. We also look forward to coming back with even more great music acts next year.”

While Untold Dubai's line-up was dominated by popular DJs, it was the vocalists that underscored the event’s potential appeal.

While seasoned spinners such as Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto – who performed on Thursday and Friday respectively – showed why they are still on top of their game nearly three decades on, it was the singers who really brought the crowds together to the main stage.

These were highlighted by fine sets by UK pop star Ellie Goulding on Thursday and Indian rapper and singer Badshah on Friday.

South Korea’s Psy’s received a similar uproarious reaction on Sunday.

His storming set on the closing day of Untold Dubai was simply glorious in its simplicity and sheer physicality.

Backed by about two dozen dancers and backing visuals with translated English lyrics, Psy was truly committed to the cause as he rapped and sang before breaking into one of many explosive dance routines.

Tracks such as I Luv It, with its darting synths and heavy basslines, sounded even better on a powerful sound system.

Gentleman was also a treat with its chanting chorus and another delirious dance routine.

With so much energy being expelled, it’s no wonder Psy required a few minutes between each song to catch his breath.

These moments often had him waxing lyrical about the universal power of music or instructing the technical crew to fix lighting issues.

However, once the opening synths arrived, such as in Daddy and That, Psy’s energy was restored as the set hurtled towards a deeply satisfying take of Gangnam Style.

Nigerian singer Asake also made some new fans on Sunday.

Having sold out London's 02 Arena, he brought that performance know-how to Untold Dubai. Backed by a large band, songs from new album, Work of Art, sounded more vibrant live than the recording, particularly on the muscular takes of club hits Yoga and 2.30.

With Jamaican-American saxophonist Masego and Swedish EDM star Sebastian Ingrosso taking the crowd to midnight, Sunday was the kind of international music celebration Untold Dubai is capable of.

Updated: February 19, 2024, 8:45 AM