New Year's Eve in the UAE aims for record highs

Cities plan massive fireworks, light shows and concerts

January 1, 2014 (Abu Dhabi) Fireworks light up the skies near Emirates Palace on new years eve in Abu Dhabi, UAE January 1, 2014. (Sammy Dallal / The National)
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Skies will be lit across the country on December 31, with New Year’s Eve fireworks displays planned for Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.

In Ras Al Khaimah, the government plan to set a record for the largest aerial firework shell. Dubai is swapping its usually pyrotechnic extravaganza for a light show and a Guinness World Record attempt, though organisers remain tight-lipped about exactly what record it is they plan to set.

New Year's Eve celebrations in the capital begin Thursday, December 28 with the opening of the New Year's Eve Countdown Village at the Corniche Breakwater. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the village has more than 40 retailers, 50 food and beverage outlets, a heritage area and an Angry Bird Activation Zone for children with giant snow globes, an Instagram museum, ball pits, a bungee trampoline.

Celebrations at the Breakwater will culminate in New Year’s Eve performances by Emirati singers Hussain Al Jassmi and Mohammed Al Shehhi, the Yemeni songbird Fouad Abdulwahed and Egyptian superstar Tamer Hosny.

Joining them will be HÄANA, a Nordic-inspired violinist who mixes electronic with folk, Soaud Massi, the Algerian Berber singer and composer and The Boxtones, a Scottish-Canadian rock group from Dubai. Other performances at the breakwater include DJ Keza from Paris, UAE-based DJ Oz, Canadian-Lebanese singer and songwriter Danny Aridi, the UAE-based funk jam band Carl and the Reda Mafia, and the bands Arnabeat, Lulu Project and Tarabband.  After midnight, the Dubai comedian Ali Al Sayed will take the stage.

Abu Dhabians will welcome 2018 with a 15-minute fireworks display.

General admission to the Countdown Village on December 31 is Dh40. Gold tickets are Dh150 and include a seat at celebrity concerts and complimentary drinks.  VIP tickets are Dh300 and include VIP seats, VIP parking and catering. Groups of five or more that book in advance will receive a 20 per cent discount. Children under age six are free.

Elsewhere in the capital, Iraqi singer Kathem Al Sahir and Yemeni singer Balqees perform a free concert at Al Maryah Island. Doors open at 7pm and American pop star Katy Perry will ring in the New Year's celebrations at the du Arena on Yas Island. Tickets are available at and Virgin Megastores.

Only a few days separate us from the biggest night of the year!

Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend celebrations in Downtown Dubai, where Emaar will attempt to set a Guinness World Record with its show, Light Up 2018. The musical light show by the Dubai Fountain has taken more than 300 experts five months to prepare and uses 25.3 km of rope for rigging installations. The performance is set to music by 80 UAE musicians and pays tribute to the country’s development. Celebrations will last from 5pm until 1pm. The public are advised to arrive before 6pm.

For those who can't make it, the performance will be broadcast live on television, multimedia and live-streamed at Using the hashtag #MyDubaiNewYear will unlock a Dubai-inspired emoji, said organisers.


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In Ras Al Khaimah, partiers can dance in the New Year at a party on Marjan Island with the British DJ duo Hollaphonic performing from 10pm until midnight, followed by the Swiss DJ, Yves LaRock.  Fireworks will be launched from 120 locations at Marjan Island for a ten-minute fireworks display. Organisers have said they will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for world's largest aerial firework shell. A record for the largest aerial firework was previously set in the city of Saitama, Japan on 11 October, 2014 with a shell weighing 464.826 kg at the 13th Kounosu Fireworks Festival.

The Ras Al Khaimah display will be visible from the Rixos, Hilton's Doubletree, Bab Al Bahr, Coral Island Resort and Spa, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah and Hilton Hamra Beach Resort, according to the RAK Police. Roads leading to Marjan Island’s main entrance will be closed at 10pm.

Police and government have reserved parking spaces for 5,000 vehicles for the event and a free shuttle from 10pm to 11pm will take people from the Doubletree by Hilton at Marjan Island, the Hilton Al Hamra and the Waldorf Astoria to the venue on Marjan Island.

Come see the Guinness World Records attempt for the launch of Al Marjan Island’s largest aerial firework shell at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Celebrations will last from 8pm until 3am. Children will not be granted entry. People are invited to bring their tents and camp out for the night. Preregistration and a Dh50 reservation are required. Early bird tickets cost Dh100. For further details, visit

Sharjah’s New Year celebrations will feature a 10-minute fireworks display launched from 16 aligned barges on the Al Majaz Waterfront. The pyrotechnics will be visible from Sharjah’s Al Noor Island, Al Qasba, Flag Island and Khalid Lagoon Corniche. Visitors are advised to arrive by 8.30pm and can contact a new concierge service at 06 511 7011 for help reserving restaurant bookings and parking spaces.