From Guns N' Roses to Craig David: the ultimate guide to this year's Abu Dhabi F1 music gigs

Abu Dhabi hosts the cream of the pop and electronic music world this weekend, we present the best gigs to sample as part of the F1 festivities

Post Malone, Axl Rose, Nelly, and Craig David. Getty Images and AFP

You don't have to be a petrolhead to enjoy the  Abu Dhabi F1 weekend. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that it's music fans and club revellers who look forward to it the most.

And why wouldn’t they? The capital will be abuzz with musical talent over the next few days, with eclectic acts performing in all sorts of venues, ranging from the mammoth du Arena stage and the super-club Mad on Yas Island, to the exclusive parties held in pop-up clubs at the Yas Links Abu Dhabi and the Yas Hotel. Then, of course, are the soirees held in many of the luxurious yachts moored across the Yas Marina featuring top European DJs.

With so much going on, one should plan their weekend to make the most of all the music action. Here is our guide to the best gigs and beats on offer.

Thursday, November 22

1) Post Malone at du Arena

Malone's mellow hip-hop has been a mainstay of the charts over the past year with global hits Rock Star, Better Now and Psycho all on high rotation. The curly haired singer, who has "always" and "tired" tattooed under each of his eyes, should command a large audience for his Middle East debut performance.

Concert ticket is complimentary with an Abu Dhabi F1 ticket. For details go to

2) Erick Morillo at Iris Yas Island

The Colombian-American DJ's late-night set will be an expertly curated selection of house music favourites, including hits from his three-decade career, such as the 1990s club bangers Muevelo and I Like to Move It (produced under the pseudonym Reel 2 Real).

For packages and details call 055 160 5636 or email

3) Nelly at Mad on Yas Island

In a market where hip-hop club sets are often sloppy, Nelly stands out for giving it his all each night. Expect all the hits, such as Ride Wit Me, Hot in Herre and Country Grammar to be delivered with aplomb. Nelly also likes to stick around and party with the crowd post-performance so there is a good chance you may get your selfie with the rapper.

For more details on Mad's F1 weekend programme, visit

Friday November 23

1) The Weeknd at du Arena, Yas Island

The Canadian singer and the UAE have a long-standing relationship. Clubs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai hosted him four years ago when he was an up-and-comer. Now, the 28-year-old artist returns to the capital as one of pop music's biggest stars. True to his broody aesthetic, expect a stripped down stage design at du Arena. Through the haze of blue neon lights, you'll hear The Weeknd sing the edgy hits Can't Feel My Face and Starboy.

2) Roger Sanchez at Iris, Yas Island

A house music legend and remixer for the stars, the four-time DJ Awards' Best House DJ winner will showcase his high-energy sound that includes remixes for superstars Madonna, Daft Punk and The Police. Sanchez is also known for his singles such as the 2003 hit Another Chance.

For packages and details call 055 160 5636 or email

3) French Montana at Mad on Yas Island

Real name Karim Kharbouch, the Moroccan-American rapper French Montana is experiencing another bumper year. His latest single, No Stylist, features super-star Drake and is presently riding high in the US charts. Montana is also working on an as-yet unreleased single featuring fellow MCs Fabolous and Jay Critch, and the music video was shot in New York City last month.

For more details on Mad's F1 weekend programme, visit

Saturday November 24

1) Sam Smith at du Arena, Yas Island

The British crooner makes his UAE debut performance as part of his successful world tour promoting his second album The Thrill of It All, which has already had the hits Too Good at Goodbyes and One Last Song. Those wondering if Smith's often downbeat songs will suit a festive atmosphere such as the Abu Dhabi F1 don't have to worry. The new album is full of upbeat collaborations via uber-pop production team Stargate and Timbaland.

Concert ticket is complimentary with an Abu Dhabi F1 ticket. For details go to

2) Sigala at Amber Lounge, Amber Lounge, Yas Links Golf Club

The British decksmith will play on Saturday and Sunday at this after-race club pop-up, which has been following the F1 series around the world. Sigala comes to the UAE with a fistful of new tunes from his recently released debut album Brighter Days, which is an effervescent collection of beachy party tracks featuring the likes of Ella Eyre, Paloma Faith and Meghan Trainor. As well as the chance to see the DJ, it's a chance to see the club's new blinged-up design, which includes crystal chandeliers that will be shipped over to the capital.

For details go to

3) Craig David at F1 Trackside Yacht Party

Being serenaded to the smooth sounds of Craig David on a 69-metre yacht (complete with built-in spa and theatre) is surely a golden Abu Dhabi F1 moment. After wowing a 10,000-strong crowd at February's RedFestDXB festival, the UK R&B crooner returns to the UAE and for a pair of intimate performances (Saturday and Sunday) that will feature his hits, such as 7 Days, Walking Away and Fill Me In.

For details and packages go to

4) Tyga at Base at F1, Yas Marina

The rapper is back in the limelight after a quiet spell thanks to the making and release of his new single Dip, featuring hip-hop royalty Nicki Minaj. With six albums to his name and collaboration album with R&B singer Chris Brown, Tyga will be spoiled for choice when it comes to his club-friendly material. That said, no Tyga gig is complete without his anthem Rack City, or this year's hit Taste.

Sunday November 25

1) Guns N' Roses at du Arena, Yas Island

One of rock's biggest tours returns to the UAE for an encore performance. The ferocious Los Angeles band – featuring the classic line-up of frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan – will close the Abu Dhabi F1, with what promises to be a roaring show. The rejuvenated group, whose original line up have not performed together for over 20 years, since their acrimonious split in 1993, returned in 2015 for a world tour that continues to conquer stadiums world-wide. Those who missed out seeing them in Dubai in 2016 now have no excuse.

Concert ticket is complimentary with an Abu Dhabi F1 ticket. For details go to

2) Black Coffee at Base at F1, Yas Marina

After years of slogging it away in his native South Africa and surrounding regions, Black Coffee's intoxicating blend of Afrobeat, pop and house music – dubbed Afropolitan – has amassed a global fan base and has made him one of the world's most in-demand DJs. He comes to the Abu Dhabi F1 on the back of his new track, Drive, a sure-fire hit collaboration with French DJ  David Guetta.

For packages and details go to

3) David Morales at the Rich List Race Abu Dhabi Race Weekend, Yas Hotel

The veteran DJ will close the Rich List's weekend series of shows with his soulful blend of house music. Morales was the face of the Ibiza club scene in the 1990s, back when the island's clubs were renowned for their musical pedigree as opposed to their celebrity allure. Morales's 1998 hit, Needin U, was a global hit and helped introduce a new generation of fans to house music and subsequently the Ibiza night club culture.

For details go to


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