21 October events at Expo 2020 Dubai worth putting in your diary

Hungarian musicians, French street performers and chart-toppers from Pakistan and Iraq are on the bill next month

Handout of official Kadim Al Sahir at Sharjah World Music Festival. Courtesy of SAHARA *** Local Caption ***  KadimAlSahir04.jpg
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From October 1, no one in the UAE will be able to complain about having nothing to do, as Expo 2020 Dubai provides entertainment galore for its millions of visitors across six months.

Next month, as festivities kick off at the "world's greatest show", expect a wide range of performances, including from Hungarian troupe Fricska Rhythm, Pakistani chart-topper Atif Aslam, Israeli electronic duo Infected Mushroom and Iraqi superstar Kadim Al Sahir, to name a few.

Events spanning art, culture, theatre and music are planned throughout, with regular daily and weekly showings, but this list is made up entirely of one-off gigs.

Access to every one comes free with an Expo 2020 Dubai pass.

Al Wasl Plaza is one of the venues at Expo 2020 Dubai where performances will take place. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

Fricska Rhythm

Country pavilion: Hungary

What it is: An interactive 30-minute performance and celebration of contemporary dance drawing from the Hungarian tradition of Fricska. The dance form gained international fame after a trio appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2015 and took the title of world’s fastest folk dancers.

Venue: Earth Stage (2pm), Sea Stage (5.30pm) and The Bowl (8.30pm)

Timings: 2pm, 5.30pm, 8.30pm

Date: Friday and Saturday, October 1 and 2

Street performers for France National Day

Country pavilion: France

What it is: In time for France’s national day, the first national day to be marked during the World Expo, a number of street performers will be roaming around Expo 2020 Dubai, including Bleu-Blanc-Rouge balloon clown, with his madcap antics that will surely entertain children.

Venue: 2020 Plaza (10am), Sun Plaza (11.30am and 5.30pm), The Campfire (3pm)

Timings: 10am, 11.30am, 3pm, 5.30pm

Date: Saturday, October 2

Kapa Haka

Country pavilion: New Zealand

What it is: Experience the soul and spirit of Maori culture via this Kapa Haka performance that showcases the history and power of its language and music. This indigenous group dance is unique to Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand.

Venue: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

Timings: 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 4pm

Date: Sunday and Monday, October 3 and 4

Step Afrika!

Country pavilion: America

What it is: Step Afrika! Is one of the top African-American dance companies in the US, founded in 1994 as the first professional brand dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The troupe, which has toured more than 60 countries, demonstrates a percussive, contemporary dance form integrating songs, storytelling, humour and audience participation.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: Various times each day

Date: Sunday and Tuesday to Saturday, October 3 and 5 to 9

Expo Beats: World Beats

What it is: This festival, part of the official Expo 2020 Dubai programming, will take place monthly, with a line-up of dance, spoken word and other performances. The sets will change each month and be based on a distinct musical theme, with the first bringing together disparate talents from around the world. Specific acts are yet to be announced, but the show will run until 1am each night.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: From 4pm

Date: Thursday to Saturday, October 7 to 9

Kerekes band

Country pavilion: Hungary

This band, formed in 1995, performs folk music from Moldova, with influences from Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Turkey, as well as jazz, funk and Balkan tunes. The group refer to their genre as “ethno-funk”, and they'll perform 30-minute sets throughout two days.

Venue: Sea Stage

Timings: 11.30am, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 1.30pm

Date: Friday and Saturday, October 8 and 9

Atif Aslam and Pakistan celebrations

Country pavilion: Pakistan

What it is: In the presence of Pakistan’s prime minister, different performers representing each region will showcase their talents. A concert by chart-topping singer-songwriter Atif Aslam will also take place as part of the two-and-a-half-hour celebrations.

Venue: Yet to be confirmed

Timings: 9am, 8.30pm

Date: Saturday, October 9

Singer Atif Aslam will perform as part of Pakistan's celebrations. Photo: Atif Aslam

Ocean by Tallinn Sinfonia and World Cleanup Day

Country pavilion: Estonia

What it is: Tallinn Sinfonia, a creative ensemble that produces theatrical concert performances, showcases its production of Ocean, which premiered in July, to mark World Cleanup Day, which took place on September 18. This performance of sound and art addresses one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s key themes: sustainability.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: 7pm

Date: Saturday, October 9

Le Ballet National du Senegal

Country pavilion: Senegal

What it is: This one-hour ballet showcase by Le Ballet National du Senegal, a leading dance company in West Africa, will take place on Wednesday, October 13. Expect a high-energy performance with plenty of percussion and cultural diversity.

Venue: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

Timings: 9pm

Date: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, October 12, 13, 15 and 16

Artefactum: Christian, Arab and Sephardic music

Country pavilion: Spain

What it is: Learn about the development and culture of Spanish people via this two-hour musical show that spans periods from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Baroque, and encompasses tunes from Christian, Arab and Sephardic traditions.

Venue: Terra Auditorium

Timings: 6pm, 6.30pm

Date: Wednesday and Thursday, October 13 and 14

Kadim Al Sahir

What it is: One of the most successful Arab artists in history will return to the stage for the first time since the pandemic began for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Infinite Nights series. Expect a performance of the Iraqi superstar’s biggest classical and pop hits. Ticket holders can also watch the concert via screens at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre and Jubilee Park.

Venue: Al Wasl Plaza

Timings: 10pm

Date: Friday, October 15

Kadim Al Sahir will perform at Al Wasl Plaza. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

Los Rabanes

Country pavilion: Panama

What it is: This performance by the Latin Grammy-winning ska-rock fusion band will be supported by emerging Panamanian acts Idania Dowman and Margarita Henriquez. During a two-decade career, the group has released eight albums, the latest of which came out this year. They’re widely credited as pioneers in their genre, becoming the first band from Central America to win a Latin Grammy in the Best Rock Album category.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: 10.30pm

Date: Thursday, October 21

Gala concert

Country pavilion: Lithuania

What it is: This three-hour gala concert will present a fusion of classical and contemporary opera with electronic music that plays into the Expo 2020 Dubai theme “connecting minds, creating the future”. The Lithuanian president and / or the head of state is slated to be in attendance.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: 8pm

Date: Friday, October 22

EU Honour Day Gala

What it is: As part of the Expo’s programme of “honour days”, the European Union will be in focus on Saturday, October 23, and with that comes a 70-minute gala of classical music and dance that symbolises the conception and evolution of the allyship. It will encompass works from composers such as Vivaldi, Bach, Paganini, Schubert and Beethoven.

Venue: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

Timings: 8am, 5pm, 6pm, 8pm

Date: Saturday, October 23

Infected Mushroom

Country pavilion: Israel

What it is: As one of the bestselling groups in Israeli music history, the musical duo Infected Mushroom will be representing their homeland via a performance of trance, electronic and psychedelic music. Expect to dance.

Venue: Yet to be confirmed

Timings: 9.30pm

Date: Saturday, October 23

Rosario La Tremendita’s ‘Delirium Tremens 2.0’

Country pavilion: Spain

What it is: Flamenco singer Rosario La Tremendita will no doubt have the audience on their feet, clapping their hands along to tracks from her new album, Delirium Tremens.

Venue: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

Timings: 8pm

Date: Sunday, October 24

Veronika Harcsa and Balint Gyemant

Country pavilion: Hungary

What it is: These world-famous Hungarian jazz musicians will perform a short gig together for one day only. Harcsa describes their music in this way: “Our songs have verses, bridges and refrains like a pop song, but the melodies and harmonies are rooted in jazz aesthetics and modern music.”

Venue: Earth Stage

Timings: 8.30pm

Date: Monday, October 25

The Relations

Country pavilion: Seychelles

What it is: Award-winning band The Relations from the Seychelles will perform their top tunes in a two-hour concert.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: 8pm

Date: Wednesday, October 27

Robot Radius

Country pavilion: Czech Republic

What it is: This technologically advanced pantomime is based on the 1920s science fiction play Rossum’s Universal Robots by Czech writer Karel Capek. It premiered in Prague in 1921, and was performed in New York in 1922, garnering worldwide acclaim for Capek and popularising the word “robot”.

Venue: DEC Hall 2A South

Timings: 6pm and 8pm

Date: Thursday, October 28

Olga Pericet

Country pavilion: Spain

What it is: The globally renowned Spanish dancer and choreographer, who fuses flamenco and contemporary styles, embarks on a personal journey through dance based on memories and her own life experiences.

Venue: Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre

Timings: 7pm

Dates: Thursday and Friday, October 28 and 29

Samhain Gaelic festival by Siamsa Tire

What it is: This Irish dance and musical experience celebrates Samhain, or Halloween, through ancient Celtic folklore with performers dressed in animal costumes as they dance around a bonfire, marking the end of the harvest and the arrival of winter.

Venue: Jubilee Stage

Timings: 5pm, 6pm, 9pm

Date: Friday to Sunday, October 29 to 31

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