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Friday, March 24, 2023

16 upcoming shows, sports events, concerts and festivals in Abu Dhabi

16 upcoming shows, sports events, concerts and festivals in Abu Dhabi

It’s showtime…

Despite only being a little way into 2023, there’s already so much to look forward to in Abu Dhabi. Already scheduled in, are a collection of music festivals, global sporting events, shows from stand-up comedy legends, musical concerts, musical theatre, and much much more. Here’s a little taste of what we’re most excited for…

Zayed Festival

You can still get your fix of sky theatrics and engaging carnival fun at Abu Dhabi’s ongoing Zayed Festival. The family-fun filled extravaganza is located at Al Wathba, and once again broke (four) Guinness World Records with a 60-minute done and firework display at its New Year’s Eve celebrations this (and also technically last) year. The weekly firework fiesta will continue at the festival every Saturday taking place at 10pm, all the way up to the festival’s close on March 18, 2023. Of course, it won’t quite be at the same magnitude as the NYE extravaganza, and the event’s magnificent drone show is reserved for special events (stay tuned), but entrance will remain just Dhs5. That’s not all that’s going on with a “oooh” and a “bang” at the Zayed Festival of a weekend. We can now look forward to the return of Extreme Weekends. From now until Feb 25, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday  (at 6.30pm and 8.30pm on each of the days) visitors to the festival will be able to watch a stunning, death defying motocross stunt show as well as an extreme car drifting performance.

Al Wathba, until April 1, 4pm to midnight (1am on weekends), tickets Dhs5. zayedfestival.com

Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open

Some of the biggest tennis players in the world are currently in Abu Dhabi for a brand new prize. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and IMG will host an eight-day WTA 500 tournament, called Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, from February 5 to 12. The event brings ace-tier female players to Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre, including World No. 2, Ons Jabeur. “I’m really excited to once again be playing in Abu Dhabi in February. The atmosphere and support from the fans is always incredible and I hope to continue my winning run in an amazing venue,” said Jabeur. The roster of incredible talent features Grand Slam champions, Rybakina, Jelena Ostapenko and Bianca Andreescu, as well as Grand Slam finalists, Ons Jabeur and Danielle Collins. Tennis fans can also expect to see World No. 8 and 9, Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova, as well as a number of other stars of the game.

Tickets for the tournament are available now via ticketmaster.ae and start at Dhs50, and increase as the final draws nearer. Children under 12 can enjoy the event for free for the first four days, and start from Dhs65 thereafter. Weekly passes are available, with a 20 per cent discount off the total price of eight days.

Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, February 5 to 12, from Dhs50.

UAM Fight Night K1 Pro Kickboxing Championship

“SWEEP THE LEG” that’s the energy we’re taking to Etihad Arena this Saturday, February 11 — for the UAM Fight Night K1 Pro Kickboxing Championship. 28 male and female athletes from 18 countries and multiple weight classes will compete in the UAE Muay Thai & Kickboxing Federation’s (UAEMTKF) first event of the new season. Of the 14 fights on the night, the headline bout is undoubtedly the clash between Michael “The Punisher” Wakeling and UAE champion Ilyass Habibali. Entry to watch the championship is free.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, February 11 from 4pm. etihadarena.ae

Blippi The Muscial

Blippi is a bit of a divisive character in the world of parenting. The bespectacled children’s entertainer rose to prominence on YouTube where his inclusive ‘to camera’ monologues, quirky jerky dancing and songs about monster trucks and excavators — have translated into 37 million subscribers with an avergae of one billion views per month. He’s essentially Kylie Jenner for pre-schoolers. Barney for the pandemic generation. And he’s bringing a musical version of his show to the stage of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena on February 18 and 19 of 2023. The show lands in the capital following a sell out 500 stop tour in North America and the UK. Tickets to see the Abu Dhabi leg are priced from Dhs105 and are available from the etihadarena.ae website. There are also Meet and Greets available from Dhs185.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, February 18 to 19, tickets from Dhs105. etihadarena.ae

UAE Tour

The fifth edition of the UAE Tour spins into the capital for seven days of thrilling road racing. Starting and finishing in Abu Dhabi, the week-long event will see professional riders tackle the vast and varied UAE terrain, passing some of the region’s top landmarks as they go. Breaking new ground this year, for the first time in the Middle East, 20 teams of top female cyclists pedal into Abu Dhabi for the first ever Women’s WorldTour race in the region. It runs ahead of the men’s race from Feb 9 to 12. theuaetour.com

Kevin Hart

In 2022 actor, comedian, author, podcaster, entrepreneur and the scissors to Dwayne Johnson’s Rock — Kevin Hart added another professional title to his already farcically long CV intro, when he was appointed as ‘Chief Island Officer’ for Yas. And it’s fitting that his next Middle East comedy show will be right in the heart of his Ambassadorial Feifdom, Etihad Arena on Yas Island. You’re probably familiar with his comic roles in Hollywood, movies such as Scary Movie 3 (remember that? 2003, what a time to be alive), the 2017 Jumanji reboot franchise, Ride Along, Get Hard, providing voice support in animated films such as DC League of Super-PetsThe Secret Life of Pets and Captain Underpants, or any one of the number of team-ups with oft-collaborator The Rock. You may also recognise his contortive features and hilarious raconteur monologuing from his stratospheric stand-up career, Netflix Specials and comedy albums.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Wednesday February 22, 2023, from Dhs549. livenation.me

Triathlon Championship Series

Taking place on March 3 and 4 at Yas Marina Circuit — this elite tournament will be offering all-important Olympic and Paralympic qualifying points. The men’s top category will include 10 of the world’s highest-ranked triathletes including World No.1 Leo Bergere, and World No.2, Tokyo Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth champion Alex Yee (Great Britain). You can sign up now on raceroster.com/

Comic Con

The 11th edition of the Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) is confirmed for March 2023, and for just the second time it will be hosted in Abu Dhabi. A celebration of all things pop culture, Comic Con went on a quest last year, moving from its previous home at Dubai’s World Trade Centre Exhibition Halls to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). And it’s ADNEC that will host the capital sequel, between March 3 and March 5 of 2023. Comic Con is a festival devoted to the spirit geek within us all — offering fans the opportunity to get involved with A-lister meet and greets, talks from entertainment icons, theatre, workshops, comic and anime art galleries, eSports expositions, and even cosplay parades. Talent for this year includes Dr Who (Matt Smith), Andy Serkis and C3PO (Anthony Daniels).

ADNEC, Tickets for the event are now on sale via the mefcc.com website, with one day passes available at Dhs135, and three-day passes for Dhs299.



Ultra Abu Dhabi is making its long-awaited arrival in Abu Dhabi on March 4 and 5, and phase one of the exciting lineup for the event has now been confirmed. And what a phase it is… Topping the bill for Ultra Abu Dhabi 2023 are — Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Afrojack, Sasha and Digweed, Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Illenium, Kshmr, and Nghtmre. The second phase of announcements is expected soon. So keep make sure you switch on your notifications for What’s On. Tickets for world’s premier electronic music festival’s inaugural Abu Dhabi event are Dhs315 for early bird single day general access (still available). Once the limited early bird tickets are gone, regular general access tickets will be Dhs450 per day. Those looking for two-day tickets can snap them up for Dhs420 for general access or Dhs595 for premium general access during the early bird window. Thereafter, they will be Dhs600 for general access and Dhs850 for premium general access. Get them now via platinumlist.net

Ultra Abu Dhabi, Etihad Park, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, March 4 and 5, 2023, from Dhs315. ultraabudhabi.complatinumlist.net


By now you’re likely fully aware that the UK’s number one ‘urban music festival’ – Wireless, is making its eagerly-anticipated debut at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Park (formally du Arena) on March 11, 2023. Eight headline artists have already been announced, with more names coming soon. Tickets are priced at just Dhs295. For golden circle tickets, which put you in prime position, you’ll pay Dhs795. You can get them now via ticketmaster.ae. The UAE link-up is all thanks to Live Nation Middle East and this inaugural edition will feature multiple sound stages, with more than 13 live performances. We already know the first eight bass-cone-baiting legends to be announced — Wireless has activated Sicko Mode with the addition of Travis Scott; and then there’s Mr ‘He Does What He Wants’ Lil Uzi Vert; there are bangers from Egyptian trap magnate, Wegz; breakout Ghanaian rapper Black Sherif is reporting for duty; as is Ali ‘Moonlight‘ Gatie; there’s the fuego stylings Indian rap sensation King; the greatest hits of Divine; and Pakistani hip-hop trail blazers, Young Stunner.

Wireless Festival Abu Dhabi, Etihad Park, Yas Island, Saturday March 11, Dhs295 general admission. ticketmaster.ae@wirelessfestme 

Masha and the Bear

Are you ready to see the adventures of this legendary duo live for the first time? Coming to a forest near you, Masha and the Bear Live is making its debut in the Middle East for a spectacular musical theatre adventure. Taking place at Etihad Arena, Yas Island, the 75-minute show will take place across two days, Saturday, April 29 to Sunday, April 30, at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. The magical forest experience will bring all your favourite characters to life including Masha, the bear, the panda, the tiger, and the penguin, as they discover the power of dreams and the true value of friendship. Hop aboard the train and prepare to be amazed with dazzling displays, music, snow, confetti, and many more surprises along the way. The immersive and interactive performance is sure to be an unforgettable experience for both children and parents alike.

Masha and the Bear, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Saturday, April 29 to Sunday, April 30. Dhs295 (royal), Dhs275 (VIP), Dhs245 (platinum), Dhs145 (gold), and Dhs95 (silver). etihadarena.ae

Jason Manford

jason manford

One of British stand-up comedy’s most treasured alumni, Jason Manford is returning to the UAE — with former collaborators, The Laughter Factory — as part of their ongoing Selfdrive tour. The date and venue have been set, he’ll be jetting into Abu Dhabi for a gig at the grand, Emirates Palace on May 12, 2023. Speaking of sets, you can expect Manford to be firing off wicked one-liners during his, of the sort “I’m getting my wife a wooden leg for Christmas. It’s not her main present, just a stocking filler”.  In addition to the back catalogue of sold-out arena stand-up shows, he’s won a huge following from his TV work. Appearing as team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats; he was a presenter on BBC’s The One Show; Show Me the Funny; A Question of Sport: Super Saturday; Bigheads; Ripper Street; Ordinary Lies; The Masked Singer; Royal Variety shows; and is a current judge on Starstruck, a British talent show that “tonight Matthew” is a reboot of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ with contestants impersonating their favourite stars.

Emirates Palace, May 12, 2023, tickets from Dhs195 via thelaughterfactory.com website.

Monster Jam

One of motorsport’s most exhilarating, preposterously-sized, gargantuanly visceral, petrol driven extravaganzas is locked in and scheduled to spin rubber in Abu Dhabi in 2023. The stunning-stunts and fantastical automobile mayhem of Monster Jam will be heading to Yas Island’s Etihad Arena for a May 13 and 14 double date tour next year as part of the event’s global 30th anniversary victory lap. Fans of all ages will be able to catch the gravity-defying, 110kph, six-ton, big-wheel escapades of legendary circuit veterans — Grave Digger, El Toro Loco and Max-D (though the full and fina line-up is still TBC). Tickets are available via the etihadarena.ae and prices start at just Dhs135, with pit party access available for an additional Dhs50 and VIP packages from Dhs645.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, May 13 and 14, 2023. Ticket prices from Dhs135, etihadarena.ae 

Paw Patrol

PAW Patrol Live Abu Dhabi

If you’re looking for some exciting news to share with the kids, this will perk up a bunch of ears – Paw Patrol Live is returning to Abu Dhabi this summer. Taking place across four days from Thursday, June 8 to June 11, the interactive live show is bringing all of your favourite animals to life. Kids and adults alike will teleport to the world of Paw Patrol including Adventure Bay, The Lookout, Seal Island and other destinations with the use of classic theatrical scenery and a high-tech video wall. The adventure-fueled stage show includes plenty of audience interaction so little ones are encouraged to engage. Since its debut in the autumn of 2016, Paw Patrol Live has been seen by over four million people, with fans from over 40 countries. The unforgettable broadway experience and the exciting storyline have captured the hearts of parents and kids alike.

Etihad Arena, June 8 to June 11, tickets start from Dhs105 pawpatrollive.com / abu-duabi.platinumlist.net

T10 Abu Dhabi

TBC. A tournament featuring cricket’s fastest and most exhilarating format, the T10s will likely be returning to Abu Dhabi for a fifth time later this year. The Abu Dhabi T10 is known for its quickfire wicket-shattering, big swinging, six-smashing, lightning-bowled, electric paced matches, typically concluded within a couple of hours. The UAE was literally the epicentre of the cricketing world two years ago, hosting the T20 World Cup, the IPL and the 2021 edition of T10 Abu Dhabi which took place in late January/early February. The tournament pulled in some A-List cricketing legends too, with impressive performances from the likes Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, and Faf du Plessis.

Formula 1 Etihad Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It’s one of the highlights of Abu Dhabi’s global sporting event line up, the thrilling final race in the F1 calendar — and now with confirmed dates already locked in, tickets to see the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023 have gone on sale. And, rather excitingly, those booking in now, getting themselves in pole-position, will be rewarded with early bird prices crossing the finish line with up to 20 percent off the full price. The thunderous roar of elite engineering will be hitting the tracks of Yas Marina Circuit this year over the weekend of November 26 to 29. As always, ticket holders will be granted access to whichever artist or artists (currently all acts are still to be announced) are performing at the Yasalam after race concerts on that day, in addition to all the fun and gastronomic extravagance of the race village, the roving entertainment, and aerobatic displays. But, as a welcome little twist this year, you’ll also get entrance to one of the Yas Island theme parks too — Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, or Yas Waterworld.

General admission tickets start at Dhs450 for Sat-Sun access. Grandstand tickets start at Dhs1,200 and there are hospitality packages available from Dhs1,450. Tickets can be purchased through the yasmarinacircuit.com website.

Images: Provided

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