The UAE is set to be one of the world’s main centres for New Year’s Eve concerts on Saturday, with a variety of gigs in genres ranging from stadium rock and EDM to Arab pop and hip-hop. The locations are as eclectic as the sounds on offer, with mammoth venues such as Abu Dhabi’s du Arena and Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse hosting events along with resorts, restaurants and clubs across the country. Here are our top picks for ringing in the new year.
It doesn’t get much bigger than this. The British pop behemoths will return to the capital for another December 31 performance, this time at the du Arena, five years after a sold-out performance at the Volvo Ocean Race Destination Village on the Corniche Breakwater. However, many fans will miss out on the chance to welcome the new year with the band – the tickets sold out in record time.
• Doors from 6pm, du Arena. Sold out
Hussain Al Jassmi, Mohamed Hamaki, and Mohammed Assaf
More than 10,000 fans are expected to descend on Al Maryah Island for an all-star bill of Arabic talent. They will be serenaded by celebrated Emirati icon Hussain Al Jassmi, Egyptian pop icon Mohamed Hamaki and Palestinian reality-TV star Mohammed Assaf – subject of hit biopic The Idol – all performing on the island's waterfront promenade. Local hero Al Jassmi will lead the countdown and we are promised some substantial fireworks when the clock strikes midnight.
• From 7pm, Al Maryah Island. Register for free tickets at www.ticketmaster.ae
Soulful New York house veteran Ferrer takes top billing at Blue Marlin’s inevitably epic beachside shindig, which promises “confetti, innovation, vanguardism” – plus warm-up sets from Stacey Pullen and De La Swing. All tickets include an open bar.
• From 7pm at Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, Ghantoot. Dh650 for ladies, Dh850 for men, Dh1,350 with a five-course meal. Call 056 113 3400 or email email@example.com
The Jamaican fusion artist – who blends hip-hop stylings with his dancehall roots – headlines a big beachside bash at the Sheraton. Listen out for his big hit, No Letting Go.
• From 7pm, Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort. Dh150 from www.platinumlist.ae
Ghanaian-British rapper Fuse ODG – best known for 2013 hit Antenna – plays this glow-in-the-dark UV party. Remember to wear white.
• From 9pm, Hilton Abu Dhabi. Dh200 from www.platinumlist.ae
Among the capital’s least pretentious – and cheapest – parties is home-grown club night Boogie Box’s New Year’s Eve Disco Wonderland. It will take place at its usual home, under the stars at Up & Below, but despite the name, there will be no disco tunes. Instead, residents old and new – Hassan Alwan, Shadi Megallaa and Tristan Girault – will spin thinking man’s house and techno, accompanied by live visuals and a decadent 1970s-disco visual theme. No minimum spend, but call 056 446 8316 for dinner and table packages.
• From 9pm at Up & Below, Marriott World Trade Center. Free.
Abu Dhabi’s answer to 1970s New York’s clubbing capital of the world, the Marriott’s party promises “beats, bling and boogie”. Enough said.
• From 9pm, Velocity, Marriott Hotel Downtown. Early-bird tickets Dh120 for ladies and Dh210 for men, from www.platinumlist.ae.
Axwell Ingrosso. Getty Images
Tipped to be the biggest all-out party in town, former Swedish House Mafia boys Axwell Ingrosso headline a monster EDM bash at Dubai’s Meydan, from the party-starting folk who brought you last month’s Sensation festival. Big-name support comes from the evergreen Mambo Brothers, Salvatore Ganacci and Shapov, who will keep you dancing through the night.
• From 7pm at Meydan. Remaining tickets from Dh599, see www.envie-events.com.
Amr Diab and Myriam Fares
Recognised this year with a world record for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist, regional music does not get much bigger than Egyptian Amr Diab. But competition will come from contemporary Lebanese starlet Myriam Fares, who set a record of her own on streaming service Anghami with fifth album Aman. Support comes from US-based Jordanian rising star Jaafar.
• From 8pm, Dubai Festival City Concert Arena. From Dh390 at www.platinumlist.ae.
Desert One Music Festival
More outdoor EDM shenanigans at this sizeable alfresco party, hosted at Jebel Ali's Al Sahra Desert Resort Equestrian Centre. Thanks to a tie-up with Hardwell's #Revealed record label, this bonanza bill includes headliners Thomas Newson, who recently collaborated with Hardwell on the track 8Fifty, and Manse, of Atlas fame. Co-headliners include Sick Individual, Kura, Thomas Gold and Tom & Jame.
• From 7pm, Al Sahra Desert Resort Equestrian Centre, Jebel Ali. Tickets Dh249 from www.platinumlist.ae.
Chase & Status / 2manydjs
Two dance duos go head-to-head at Zero Gravity, with equal billing for bass-heavy UK hitmakers Chase & Status (Blind Faith, Count on Me) and reigning Belgian mash-up/remix kings 2manydjs.
• From 1pm, Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai. Dh275 from www.platinumlist.ae.
Prom Gone Wrong
Underground club night Bad House Party hosts its first NYE bash, dialling the irony up to 11 with the title theme Prom Gone Wrong. Confused? “Basically any excuse to break out a tiara is good for me,” says one of the organisers. So expect “cheesy photo backdrops, some prom-themed games, and terrible prom dresses”, with prizes for the couple crowned Prom King and Queen. All in addition, presumably, to the usual mix of left-field indie-and-more tunes. Best of all, entry is free.
• From 8pm at Casa Latina, Ibis Al Barsha. Free entry.
R&B star Miguel hosts an intimate "exclusive dinner party" gig at high-end nightspot Novikov Dubai. The show comes after the Grammy winner's surprise turn covering Beyoncé's Crazy in Love for the trailer to upcoming film sequel Fifty Shades Darker.
• From 8pm, Novikov Dubai, Sheraton Grand Hotel. Dh1,500 for dinner-party package, Dh500 entry for walk-in guests. Call 04 388 8744 for reservations.