Rihanna and the Chemical Brothers will perform at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this year. The two acts will be part of the Yasalam After-Race Concerts at Yas Island’s du Arena during the Formula One weekend.
Rihanna, currently riding high on the charts with top-selling album Anti and the chart-topping single Work, is playing the prestigious final race-day concert on Sunday, November 27. The Barbadian pop star was in 2015 named as the best-selling digital singles artist of all-time, clocking sales of more than 100 million.
The show marks the 28-year-old’s third performance in the capital. She made her UAE concert debut in 2009 before returning in 2013 with her Diamonds World Tour at du Arena.
The Chemical Brothers will perform on Friday November 25. Formed in 1989, the veteran duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons are considered forefathers of the 1990s big beat movement in dance music, with seminal singles including Hey Boy Hey Girl, Block Rockin' Beats and Setting Sun.
Following a five-year hiatus, the 2015 release Born in the Echoes was viewed by many fans as a return to form. November's gig will mark their first appearance in the UAE.
Promoters Flash Entertainment said a headliner for Saturday, November 26, will be announced before Ramadan begins. Yet to be confirmed is the show on Thursday, November 24, normally reserved for Yasalam’s annual Arabic-language concert.
“We’re working on some changes, and Thursday’s concert is under discussion,” said Reeva Bains, vice president of marketing and communications at Flash.
Beats on the Beach, held at the Abu Dhabi Corniche, will also return, Bains added. Headliners of the popular free-to-attend festival will be announced on a later date.
The news was announced on Tuesday, May 3 — unusually early in the calendar.
In a bid to stir up early sales, fans who buy tickets before May 30 will receive a 30 per cent discount.
“Every year the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gets bigger and bigger,” said Nick McElwee, sales and marketing director at Yas Marina Circuit. “We’re trying to reward fans’s loyalty by announcing the artists now — laying it out there to make it clear what they can expect.”
Another fresh incentive is that all weekend-ticket holders will receive free entry to nearby Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, announced Karim El Guanaini, senior vice president of destination management at Yas Island.
The Yasalam After-Race Concerts are only open to race-day ticket holders.
Since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix debut in 2009, the series has attracted some of the biggest names in music. The 2016 bill marks a departure from recent trends.
Fridays are generally set aside for a big, cross-generational pop or urban star, with previous headliners including Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Jay-Z, and, in 2016, Enrique Iglesias. The final race day generally closes with a vintage rock act, such as Aerosmith, The Who, Paul McCartney, Blur and, in 2010, the late Prince.
There are few hints about what to expect from Saturday’s headliner, with a markedly more mixed bag of names previously appearing mid-weekend, including Kings of Leon, Muse, Pharrell Williams and Florence & The Machine.
• Tickets packages are on sale now at ticketsyasmarinacircuit.com.