Coronavirus: K-pop concerts, Art Dubai, Taste of Dubai postponed, Global Village closed

As the outbreak affects upcoming events in the UAE, here's a list of updated statements from entertainment organisers

A man wearing a protective mask following an outbreak of coronavirus walks at Global Village in Dubai, UAE, March 10, 2020. Picture taken March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Satish Kumar
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Organisers in the UAE are revising outlooks on upcoming concerts and events, as the coronavirus outbreak threatens large-scale events.

At least three events have been cancelled, including the AKS Colour Carnival, Yogafest Al Ain and the upcoming DJ Mag Conference on Yas Island, due to the virus. However, others, such as the Middle East Film and Comic Con and Ultra Abu Dhabi, intend to still go ahead while events such as the Dubai International Boat Show have been postponed to a later date.

Here's a list of updated statements from entertainment organisers:

Closed: Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Butterfly Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Butterfly Garden have been closed temporarily until the end of March. "This is in light of Covid-19 that is affecting the nation and has been implemented as a measure to protect visitors and workers,” said Abdel Naser Rahhal, vice chairman of Cityland Group, the developer of the two gardens.

"Within the framework of the precautionary and preventive measures against the new coronavirus emerging in Dubai, and in our attention to the health and safety of visitors and employees, Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Butterfly Garden announce their temporary closure until 31st March 2020. We wish everyone health and wellness,” he said.

Closed: Global Village 

Global Village has announced that it has closed early for the season.

In a tweet, Dubai Media Office wrote: "In line with ongoing efforts to safeguard public health, Global Village has announced the early closure of its 2019-2020 season with immediate effect."

Earlier this month, the popular family-friendly attraction has announced it will be postponing the rest of its remaining concerts for this season. Acts that were scheduled to appear include the popular Pakistani band Junoon. They were supposed to perform on Friday, March 20.

Organisers said in a tweet at the time: "We have decided to postpone our remaining concerts until Season 25. This is a preventive measure due to crowd density at these events. Normal operations are in full swing and we invite you to take advantage of our last weeks of outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment from 4pm daily until April 4."

Cancelled: Fashion Forward Dubai

This year's Fashion Forward has been cancelled. The event was supposed to take place on Thursday to Saturday, April 2 to 4 at Dubai Design District. The statement from the team reads:

"In light of regional and international preventive measures dedicated to containing the spread of Covid-19, we have come to the decision to cancel the upcoming edition of Fashion Forward Dubai planned to take place on April 2 - 4, 2020. This approach also follows the directive of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to suspend all events in the second half of March, as FFWD was scheduled to take place immediately afterward.

Details of our next event will be shared as they become available. As a platform committed to championing independent fashion talent from the Middle East and beyond, we will continue to support our creative community in as safe, innovative, and collaborative manner as possible in the meantime."

Postponed: K-pop Super Concert 

Dubai's K-pop Super Concert, which was set to take place at the Coca-Cola Arena on Friday, March 20, has been postponed until further notice. Ticket holders for the concert, which was set to feature performances from Super Junior, NCT 127, RGP, Laboum and Jun, will receive a full refund automatically. "In line with the international measures being taken to ensure the public’s health and safety, the upcoming K-Pop Super Concert show scheduled to take place at Coca-Coca Arena on Friday 20th March is being postponed," a spokesperson for the arena said. "We hope to soon be able to confirm a new date for the show."

Postponed: Cinema Space programme 

Manarat al Saadiyat's Cinema Space programme has been postponed until further notice. Organisers say the decision was taken at the direction of the venue amid the coronavirus outbreak. Screenings, including a scheduled showing of The Sound of Music on Saturday, March 14 and The Source on Monday, March 16 will be postponed until further notice. "We sincerely apologise for having to cancel the screenings on such short notice and thank you for your kind understanding. We will be updating everyone on when it may be possible to resume the screening programmes," a spokesperson for cinema space said.

Postponed: Abu Dhabi Festival 

Abu Dhabi Festival has postponed its upcoming performances as a health precaution against the coronavirus. The events, which were set to run from Tuesday, March 31, to Thursday, April 9, and organised by Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, were set to feature about a dozen concerts held at both Emirates Palace and NYU Abu Dhabi.

In announcing its decision on its social media channels, the festival's organisers said they are in discussions to reschedule the even, with sold tickets to be refunded. “In line with the local and international measures taken to ensure the health and safety of the public, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation announces the postponement of the 2020 Abu Dhabi Festival’s headline programme,” the announcement said. “We are working closely with our partners to reschedule this year’s exciting performances. All pre-sold tickets to the postponed events will be refunded.”

Some of the artists that were to perform include US jazz star Gregory Porter, Chinese-American cellist Yo Yo Ma, two performances by the acclaimed American Ballet Theatre, as well as a classical concert by the celebrated Cleveland Orchestra

Cancelled: IPAF Awards Ceremony

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Ipaf) has cancelled its 2020 awards ceremony, which was due to take place in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, April 14 on the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

The Department of Culture and Tourism said the “precautionary measure stems from international recommendations for the preservation of public health.” While the organisers haven't confirmed the details, it's likely the prize will still be awarded, just not at the ceremony.

The shortlist for the 2020 Ipaf was announced last month. The list features six works by authors hailing from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Each shortlisted author will collect $10,000 (Dh36,725) and the winner will receive an additional prize of $50,000 (Dh183,654) – one of the highest prizes in ­fiction. The cost of translating the winning work into English is also covered by the prize organisers, so that the book can reach a wider audience.

See who is on the shortlist this year here.

Postponed (new date unknown): Sharjah Children's Reading Festival 2020

The Sharjah Children's Reading Festival 2020 (SCRF) was due to take place from Wednesday to Saturday, April 8 to 18, at Expo Centre Sharjah. However, organisers, the Sharjah Book Authority, have announced that the festival will be postponed "until further notice" as a "precaution measure to preserve the wellbeing of children as well as the UAE community at large."

Postponed (until December): VidCon Abu Dhabi

VidCon Abu Dhabi, which was due to take place from Wednesday, March 25 to Saturday, March 28, has been postponed until December. Organisers made the announcement via the event’s website over the weekend, stating that all ticket holders would receive a free companion ticket for the new December date, although those wanting a refund can claim one online. “Our first priority is the safety and health of our attendees, sponsors, speakers, creators, and staff,” the statement reads. “We are dedicated to creating the best possible event in December.” The event will now take place between December 16 and 19.

Postponed (new date unknown): Mother of the Nation 

Abu Dhabi's Mother of the Nation festival, which was scheduled to open on Thursday, March 26, has been postponed. Organisers made the announcement on their website on Thursday, March 5, stating that all ticket holders will be fully refunded via The festival is now set to take place later this year, with no specific dates announced.

Postponed (until April): Tough Mudder RAK 

The fitness event was due to take place on Friday, March 6 at Mina Al Arab: all tickets for the event will be valid for the new date, Friday, April 10, but those who wish to receive a refund will be fully reimbursed and should contact

Postponed (until November): Giorgio Armani Cruise Show 

Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani, due to hold its first ever Dubai Cruise show in April this year, has just announced it is being postponed, due to the Covid 19 outbreak. It has been re-scheduled for November.

This follow's the brand's unprecedented step of holding its recent Milan autumn/winter 2020 show behind closed doors, choosing to live stream the event instead. Known for its quietly elegant aesthetic, the now defunct April runway show would have been the debut regional show for the house, following in the footsteps of Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Christian Dior, who have all staged fully fledged collections in Dubai.

Cancelled: Culture Summit 

The 2020 Culture Summit was set to take place from April 5 to 9, but has been cancelled. "We hope and expect our collective investment will find realisation next year," organisers said.

Postponed: Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi has postponed the 30th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

The event was was scheduled to take place from April 15 to 21, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. It will now take place from May 23 to 29.

"The move is a precautionary measure to protect public health," a statement said.

Postponed (but Dubai-focused event still running): Art Dubai

The 14th year of the international art fair has been postponed. However, an event focused on the local art community will be staged on the same dates, March 25 to 28.

This means that galleries from around the world will no longer fly in to present at Art Dubai, but local galleries and art institutions will still put on events.

Pablo del Val, a co-director of Art Dubai, says, “Our goal now is to support the Dubai art community,” adding that the fair has received strong support from local institutions who could potentially host events. The decision took many by surprise, and has been met with divided reactions.

“We totally understand and respect the decision made,” says Charles Pocock, an adviser to the Barjeel Art Collection and managing partner of Meem Gallery, which was due to show at the fair. “In the present global climate, it makes sense. Art Dubai has managed the situation well and shown a great understanding of the grave situation we are all facing as global citizens.”

"We have made the decision to stage a programme tailored to the local cultural community instead, including existing fair programme contributors and thought-leaders," organisers said, adding that "the goals and ambitions for this re-configured programme maintain our objective to deliver commercial, institutional and critical engagement with Dubai’s art ecosystem – a commitment of support to our local community that we felt an imperative to uphold."

They said further details of the programme will be announced soon.

Postponed (until December): Taste of Dubai

The outdoor event held at the Media City Amphitheatre, which typically signifies the end of Dubai Food Festival, has been pushed back from March 12-14 to December. It will also be extended from three days to four at the time. Taste of Dubai brings together dozens of pop-up restaurants and food trucks serving sample-size bites at subsidised rates, plus entertainment acts, cooking classes and competitions, and demonstrations and meet-and-greets by local and international chefs.

A statement released by the organisers reads: “Due to the continued global developments regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and following precautionary measures being implemented by the UAE government, this year’s Taste of Dubai 2020 at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre has been postponed … and will be extended for an additional day and take place December 9 to 12, 2020.

"All purchased tickets can be rescheduled to our new dates, or refunds maybe requested by contacting: or 04 457 3212."

The various other activities that are part of Dubai Food Festival – such as Dubai Restaurant Week and Etisalat Beach Canteen – are going ahead as per usual as of now.

Postponed (until November): Madness 

UK ska band Madness were due to perform at Dubai's Irish Village on Thursday, March 5, but the performance has been postponed until Thursday, November 12.

"Due to the current situation worldwide the Madness Concert is postponed to a later date. Tickets will be refunded or valid for the new date: to be announced soon," organisers tweeted.

Postponed (new date unknown): Ultra Abu Dhabi

“In line with our commitment to deliver the ultimate Ultra experience to our festival goers and as part of the local and international measures taken to ensure the health and safety of the public, Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 will be postponed,” a spokesperson has said of the three-day music festival featuring more than a dozen of the world's biggest DJs. Around 20,000 people were expected to attend.

“The decision has been taken due to the travel restrictions imposed by some countries and airlines for individuals and groups.

The new date hasn't yet been announced: “we look forward to sharing the new dates in the near future.”

AfroJack, Eric Prydz and Seth Troxler were some of the headline acts due to perform across three stages at Du Arena on March 5 and 6.

Postponed (new date unknown): ‘Music Bank’ at Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena

The Coca-Cola Arena was due to host two mega K-Pop events at the end of this month: the K-Pop Super Concert on Friday, March 20, and the Music Bank show on Saturday, March 21. However, the Music Bank concert has been postponed by promoters.

Due to perform at KBS's Music Bank are Twice, Seventeen, Monsta X and Jus2, as well as Exo’s Baekhyun.

"The South Korea-based organisers of Music Bank in Dubai have unfortunately taken the decision to postpone the event due to take place at Coca-Cola Arena on March 21. We're eagerly anticipating the event to return to the market in the future. Ticket holders will automatically receive a full refund from their point of purchase," a spokesperson for the Coca-Cola Arena told The National.

K-pop boy band Seventeen are set to return to Dubai as part of the 'Music Bank' world tour in March. Courtesy Pledis Entertainment
K-pop boy band Seventeen are set to return to Dubai as part of the 'Music Bank' world tour in March. Courtesy Pledis Entertainment

Music Bank is a KBS show that began in 1998 and airs performances by artists in various locations around the world. Popular groups perform their biggest hits as the hosts countdown the top songs of the week.

Postponed (until November): Russ at Coca-Cola Arena 

American rapper Russ had been due to perform at Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena on  Friday, March 27. However, he has tweeted that the show will be postponed until Friday, November 27 this year.

"I have to postpone the Dubai show due to the coronavirus," Russ wrote on his official Twitter account. "I know, wild lol but outta my control ... but your tickets will all be valid for the new date which will be November 27 this year."

The concert's date has been updated on the Coca-Cola Arena website.

Cancelled: AKS Colour Carnival 2020

Dubbed "the ultimate Holi experience in the UAE," AKS Colour Carnival 2020 was set to take place in Dubai Sport City on Friday, March 6 but has been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Organisers of the event said in a statement, “Due to circumstances outside of our control and our moral obligation towards the well-being of our guests, their families and in particular our excited little young ones, we are compelled to announce this year’s edition of the carnival cancelled.”

The organisers expressed their deepest regret as this cancellation comes at such a late stage; and also expressed gratitude for the public’s continuous support and interest in the event.

They also requested ticket holders to get in touch with Platinum List for refunds on tickets and tables purchased online. The entire team behind the event wished the community members best health to celebrate a happy, safe and colorful Holi this year.

Postponed (until November): Dubai International Boat Show

The Dubai International Boat Show has been postponed to November due to the coronavirus outbreak. The four-day event was due to start on Tuesday, March 10, running until Saturday, March 14.

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , February 26 – 2019 :- Visitors looking boats and yachts at the Dubai International Boat Show held in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For News/Instagram/Big Picture. Story by Nick Webster
Visitors at the 2019 Dubai International Boat Show. Pawan Singh / The National

But a statement shared on the official website says, “Whilst the UAE remains completely safe for travel, and has deployed the strictest medical and hygiene protocols, we fully recognise that for some specific shows, we have a high majority of key participants significant to the event’s programme that are unable to travel due to restrictions in their home country. As such, we have been working closely to assure that our clients’ needs are most effectively addressed, and the delivery of strong international participation considered, in these extraordinary times.

“Bearing this context, the Dubai International Boat Show, the MENA’s largest leisure boating event and one of the world’s most influential gatherings for the global yachting community, is being postponed from 10-14 March to 24-28 November 2020 and will be located at its new home — Dubai Harbour, the region’s largest luxury marina and most advanced cruise terminal.”

The show was due to offer the first glimpse into the new Dubai Harbour. The show will now take place from November 24 to 28, coinciding with Expo 2020.

Cancelled: DJ Mag Conference

The DJ Mag Conference, which was viewed as the run up to Ultra Abu Dhabi, has been cancelled due to its Yas Island venue being quarantined.

Scheduled to run on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3 and 4 at the W Hotel Abu Dhabi, the inaugural event was set to feature over 100 attendees from across the electronic dance music scene.

In a statement, conference organisers said the event had to be scrapped due to the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island being in a “temporary lockdown”. Ticket holders would be contacted for refunds, the statement said.

The move to cancel the event comes after the final stages of the UAE Tour was discontinued over the weekend after two Italian staff members were tested positive for coronavirus.

As a result, the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi quarantined two hotels on Yas Island, where cyclists and crew had been staying, to test anyone that may have come into contact with the patients.

Cancelled: Yogafest Al Ain

The Al Ain instalment of the UAE’s popular Yogafest has been cancelled amid coronavirus fears. The festival, which was due to take place at Al Jahili Park on Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6, has been postponed following advice from the UAE government, organisers said on Sunday.

“It is with so much regret that we have to inform you we have decided to postpone Yogafest Al Ain this coming weekend,” a statement posted to the event’s Facebook page said. “Given the recent advice from the government against attending outdoor events to reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus, it seemed the right decision to make – yet a very difficult one indeed. We will update you about any future events and thank you for all your incredible support.”

Yogafest is usually held in Dubai, and was due to come to Al Ain for the first time. Courtesy Yogafest
Yogafest is usually held in Dubai, and was due to come to Al Ain for the first time. Courtesy Yogafest

Postponed (new date unknown): Ideas Abu Dhabi

Global forum Ideas Abu Dhabi has announced that its event has been cancelled until later this year. It was due to be take place on Wednesday and Thursday, March 18 to 19. No new date has been announced.

"We apologise for the inconvenience, however our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our speakers, participants, attendees, and staff," organisers said in a statement.

Cancelled: EVRT Dubai 2020

EVRT Dubai 2020, the Electric Vehicle Road Trip, was due to travel across the UAE from Wednesday to Monday, March 25 to 30. However, organisers have decided to cancel the 2020 event, but plan to hold the same event in March 2021.

"After careful consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to move the dates for EVRT Dubai 2020 to the following year in light of current market conditions," organisers said in a statement.

"We would like to thank you for your interest in EVRT Dubai this year and with the progress made, we look forward to welcoming you to the event that will now be taking place in March 2021."