Sandance turns four - what, no fireworks?



Almost a year ago to the day, in October last year, the “multi-award-winning” beach festival Sandance proudly rang in a third birthday with one of its most memorable (and presumably expensive) bills to date.

A reported 15,000 punters packed Nasimi Beach to see, among others, The Killers – who had played to 80,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium just a few months earlier and presumably could have filled the Palm Jumeirah venue on their own, without the other acts, The Wailers and Of Monsters and Men.

Whichever way you look at it, there’s no denying that tomorrow’s line-up is a markedly more muted affair. It takes place 364 days after that firework-popping celebration, during which there have been three more Sandance festivals – one brilliant, one lukewarm and one described by many as a disaster.

Despite the date, this time there’s not a mention of the fourth anniversary in sight.

It’s no secret the brand’s reputation was tarnished by the New Year’s Eve debacle last December, when poor organisation saw thousands of revellers stuck in traffic for hours trying to reach the Palm, with many missing out on the much-hyped world record-breaking fireworks at ­midnight.

May’s scaled down, but notably trouble-free, event featuring the Pet Shop Boys went some way to restoring faith in the event.

Insiders have told me that a previously announced November 14 follow-up is now off the cards, something Atlantis has not denied. This means the future of the UAE institution could rest on the fortunes of tomorrow’s event, by my count the 17th Sandance.

All the signs are positive. Promoters are reportedly expecting about 10,000 music lovers. And while lacking a Killers-esque A-list headliner, the bill is a strong one, carefully mixing the tried and tested – Rudimental, the surprise hit of last November’s spectacular bill, and Axwell, a veteran of the ill-fated NYE gig, this time back with his former Swedish House Mafia cohort Ingresso – with on-the-money first-timers, the indie-electro duo Empire of the Sun and the overnight-success story Clean Bandit.

The more mature crowd, meanwhile, will be sated with a dose of old-school sundown hip-hop from the UAE regulars De La Soul.

One thing all these acts have in common? They’re deeply (sand)danceable, something the festival organisers may have forgotten somewhere along the line in their haste to book guitar-wielding household names. In recent weeks we’ve noticed among fans a wave of nostalgia for the calendar-defining event, and bringing a long outdoor gig lull to a close, we can see this one kicking off.

rgarratt@thenational.ae

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
 

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 680hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 2,750-6,000rpm
Transmission: Rear-mounted eight-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 13.6L/100km
On sale: Orderbook open; deliveries start end of year
Price: From Dh970,000

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

Coal Black Mornings

Brett Anderson

Little Brown Book Group 

Get Out

Director: Jordan Peele

Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford

Four stars

Thor: Love and Thunder

Director: Taika Waititi 

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi

Rating: 4/5

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The specs: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo

The specs: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo
Price, base / as tested: Dh182,178
Engine: 3.7-litre V6
Power: 350hp @ 7,400rpm
Torque: 374Nm @ 5,200rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
​​​​​​​Fuel consumption, combined: 10.5L / 100km

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
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MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

The details

Colette

Director: Wash Westmoreland

Starring: Keira Knightley, Dominic West

Our take: 3/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
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