Alien Ant Farm wins festival's marquee spot

The California-based pop-punk band will headline Dubai's first music festival devoted to teenagers next month.

Alien Ant Farm will perform on Oct 17.
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Alien Ant Farm, the California-based pop-punk band, will headline Dubai's first music festival devoted to teenagers next month. Teenagers were given the chance to vote for one of seven eligible contenders - including the Cheetah Girls, DJ Alex and Sean Kingston - to perform at the Back 2 School Festival on Oct 17. "We had a poll on the website," said Mathilde Montel, a spokeswoman for Center Stage Management, the event organisers. "We asked kids to go on the website and vote and Alien Ant Farm won."

Alien Ant Farm, best known for their 2001 cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, have released four albums: Greatest Hits, ANThology, truANT, and Up in the Attic. In May the group released a "best of" album called 20th Century Masters. According to Ms Montel, Center Stage, which has produced the Desert Rock Festival for the past five years, wanted to target a younger crowd. The festival is being organised in conjunction with Global Education Management Systems (Gems), which runs more than 75 schools worldwide.

The organisers hope it can address a dearth of activities available to teenagers in Dubai. "We always do events that target older crowds," said Ms Montel. "We have never done anything for under-18s, and we thought 'why not make a festival for younger kids?' It's really because our managing director has kids and they always complain that they make events for the older crowds, but not kids their age."

The festival will begin at 2pm and features talent competitions for local teenagers in six different categories - photography, dancing, writing, singing, performing rock and pop music and T-shirt design. There have been 6,000 entries for the T-shirt design competition from all over the GCC, said Ms Montel. On Saturday three finalists in the rock and pop competition will be selected from 40 entries, with the winner to be showcased at the festival. A host of local bands are also scheduled to play, including Nerve Cell, Sun King and Of Brutality and Grace.