Welcome to all the biggest and best music festivals, global sporting events, shows from stand-up comedy legends, musical concerts, musical theatre, and much much more coming to Abu Dhabi in 2023 (and a little bit of 2024)…
Abu Dhabi Summer Sports
Abu Dhabi Summer Sports traditionally embarks on a mission to keep the capital’s residents active over the summer, providing a gargantuan 18,511 square metre indoor AC-cooled space to get gains in, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). We now have confirmation that the 2023 edition will take place between June 6 and August 12 (between 8am and 1am) and will offer 25 courts, and eight sports with facilities such as a Cross-Fit and running track (free to the public), spaces to play football, basketball, padel, volleyball, badminton, and cross fit.
Basketball court costs (per hour) are Dhs100 off peak, Dhs150 at peak times (weekdays 4pm to 11pm). 7-a-side football pitches are available from Dhs305 during peak hours and Dhs225 of peak. @adsummersports
The UAE’s basketball fans were gifted with a court-length nothing-but-net scorcher in October of 2022. Two top tier NBA teams, the Milwaukee Bucks (who also happen to be 2021 league champions) and the Atlanta Hawks, met in Abu Dhabi for a pair of pre-season warm up matches. And, as announced by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) at the ITB Berlin (the world’s largest tourism trade fair), the sport will make a triumphant return to the capital this summer. Abu Dhabi will host three games in August, with the the national squads of USA, Germany and Greece competing for regional glory.
Venue TBC (athough likely Etihad Arena), August, ticket price TBC
Dubbed America’s favourite rant man, comedian Bill Burr has just announced that he’s heading to Abu Dhabi later this year.Gracing the stage at the Etihad Arena on Friday September 1, the popular comedian promises a night of non-stop belly laughs when he lands in the UAE capital. Tickets are now on sale via the Live Nation website. Well known on the entertainment circuit, Bill Burr is a comedian, actor and podcaster known for his philosophical, self-depreciating humour. His comedic style is best described as brilliantly observational, quick-witted and low-key.
NBA preseason warm-up matches
As mentioned above, last year for the first time Abu Dhabi hosted a pair of pre season NBA friendly matches, and fresh off the rebound it’s happening again in 2023. The two teams taking part this October will be the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves. These games will once again take place at Etihad Arena, on Yas Island on October 5 and 7, 2023. The tickets aren’t on sale yet but you can register your interest on the NBA-events wesbite (there may even be presale options for those that have signed up).
Disney on Ice
We all have our go-to Disney belters that we sing shamelessly in the shower or in the car. Now, we have the opportunity to actually give it our all as the talented Disney on Ice crew glide past singing A whole new world… That’s right, while Disney on Ice is geared towards the little ones of Abu Dhabi – we all know that it’s the grown-ups celebrating 100 years of only the best that Disney has brought us. The annual extravaganza is back again this year. Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Wonder will be bringing Abu Dhabi all the magic and wonder we hold dear. The best part is, tickets start from as little as Dhs84 and will be here from Wednesday, October 11 to Sunday, October 15. And early bird tickets are already available.
Popular British popstar Robbie Williams is making a welcome return to Abu Dhabi later this year. On Wednesday October 18, the Let Me Entertain You hitmaker will headline at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena as part of his 25 Years of Hits world tour. Tickets go on sale on Friday June 23 at 12pm, so set your alarms and make sure you head to livenation.me to snap yours up. Known as one of the best live acts of his generation, Robbie Williams has been captivating audiences for the last two and a half decades. A born entertainer, we can’t wait to see this pop icon bring his energetic showmanship and songbook of countless sing-along hits to the capital this October.
After his knockout success in Dubai last year, it only makes sense that comedian Jo Koy graces Abu Dhabi with his presence as part of his 2023 World Tour. The funny man will be heading to Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi in October for an evening that promises to be packed with belly-aching fun. He will be performing at the arena on Saturday, October 28. Ticket prices start from Dhs180 and are already on sale and are available for purchase here. Remember, Jo Koy is quite popular, so you better get them before they’re all gone.
MMA’s biggest spectacle, the UFC Fight Island series is returning to Abu Dhabi again this year. Taking place on October 21, this fight night will represent the 18th UFC event in Abu Dhabi, the first being UFC 112: INVINCIBLE all the way back in April 2010, back in the pre-PCR era. Tickets aren’t on sale yet, and the inked names of fighters are far from being stamped on the card but fistycuff fans are encouraged to register their interest on the visitabudhabi website, for early access.
Abu Dhabi Art
The annual art fair in Abu Dhabi is more than a traditional trade fair, it presents many events and initiatives to engage the general public. This year, during its 15th iteration, Abu Dhabi Art is displaying work from over leading and emerging galleries as well as featuring a curatorially driven programme, including art installations, talks and performances taking place in different locations, making this its most comprehensive and diverse to date. It’s scheduled in for November 20 to November 26.
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 between Friday, November 24 to Sunday, November 26. 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.
Foo Fighters Yasalam concert
Get ready to rock: American rockstars the Foo Fighters are set to perform in Abu Dhabi for the very first time at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after race concerts 2023. The Best of You hitmakers will close out the shows on Sunday November 26.
Tiesto Yasalam concert
Alongside Foo Fighters, the two acts performing on the first night, Thursday November 23 have also just been announced. Dutch DJ Tiesto will spin his dancefloor-filling hits such as 10:35 and y, alongside US popstar, Ava Max. The singer-songwriter is known for her pop anthems including Kings & Queens, My Head & My Heart and Sweet But Psycho. Artists for the remaining two nights, Friday November 24 and Saturday November 25, are still yet to be announced.
T10 Abu Dhabi
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. Dates for this years tournament have now been confirmed as taking place between Tuesday November 28 and Saturday December 9, 2023.
Air shows, theatrical performances, fireworks, promotions, sales, festivals, carnival vibes and nationwide jubilations — these are just some of the reasons the country LOVES celebrating the UAE’s official birthday. This year we’re 52, fighting fit and full of vigour — and as always the nation’s capital, Abu Dhabi will serve as the central hub of festivities. But we’ll have to hang on a little longer to hear exactly what will be this year’s fiesta-USPs.
The Illusionists graced us with their magical appearance back in 2015 and they are returning to Abu Dhabi this year in December with a whole new brunch of tricks up their sleeves. The world-renowned magic group will be performing at Etihad Arena on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island for three days from Friday, December 8 to 10. Ticket prices start from Dhs95 and are available here.
Spartan World Championship
Abu Dhabi is home to some physically challenging landscapes, which makes it ideal for hosting the sorts of gruelling trials demanded by the Spartan World Championship. Last year the obstacle-littered courses took the Spartan tribe through the stunning Martian-esque dunescape of Al Wathba. This year it’s set to return to that same region, booked in for December 9 to 10.
Taking place this year on Saturday December 16, this year’s ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon will invite the world’s elite distance runners to compete on one of the quickest 42.2 kilometres on the circuit. Not quite up for the full slog? You can also take part in the relay, 10k, 5k and 2.5k races too. Registration is open now and full Marathon participation, with 30 per cent early bird discount, will cost you Dhs245 (plus tax).
Mubadala World Tennis Championship (Dates TBC)
It’s official, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) one of tennis’ most eagerly anticipated invite-only racket rocket battles, will return to the capital in December this year. The 2022 session saw packed stadiums, audacious upsets and dazzling tournament debuts. Every smash, ace, rally and lightning cross-court volley was watched by an international-drawn audience. Off the court, the entertainment options at the Tennis Village reached new heights. On the courts, Ons Jabeur and Stefanos Tsitsipas took home the women’s and men’s titles respectively. The tournament normally kicks off mid December (with 2023 dates TBA), and takes place at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City.
Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN)
Confirmed during an Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) calander announcement at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), we now know the dates for The Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN) 2023 edition. At the moment we don’t know a huge amount about the specific best of this year’s Fest, but we can extrapolate based on what’s gone before. This time around it’s set to take place between December 24 to January 1, 2024. It’s usually staged around the Corniche, with accessibly priced ticketing (last year entry was just Dhs30), normally available via ticketmaster. It’s an event that, in part, is a celebration of the legacy of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation. And the festivities are expansive, with the grounds occupying a huge swathe of seafront leisure space.
Tucked away in a corner of Abu Dhabi’s desert, LIWA Village has emerged from shifting sands to stage a festival showcasing an alluring range of unique entertainment experiences and cleverly curated attractions. And the dates for Liwa Festival for 2023 have now been released, we’e looking at Decmber 16 to December 31 run, and we’re expecting huge things. The 2022 session was a wild success with visitors enjoying access to concerts, family activities, shows, rides, arcade gaming, spectacular immersive dining opportunities, engaging demonstrations of Emirati heritage and crafts, eGaming tournaments, souk shopping from top-tier local fashion brands and more. One of the highlights was Fuel Fest Arabia (will it return) where attendees were able to meet the stars of Hollywood blockbusting franchise, Fast and Furious (including some on four wheels) — Ludacris, Cody Walker, and Tyrese Gibson with a closing concert from Ludacris himself.
Even if you’re not ‘a muscial type of person’, you’ve probably heard of Hamilton. It’s a grand, board-treading spectacular that’s cut from a very different sort of theatrical cloth. Using a song sheet that builds narratives through the musical genres of hip-hop, pop, jazz, R&B, soul and *jazz hands* Broadway — Hamilton is a Lin-Manuel Miranda conceived extravaganza, based on a Ron Chernow biography and in Miranda’s own words tells “the story of America then told by America now”. Hamilton is headed for Yas Island’s Etihad Arena for a tenure of office that will stretch from January 17 to February 4, 2024. Early bird pre-sale tickets are set to drop on Friday May 19 with general sale tickets available from Monday May 22. They’ll be priced from Dhs180 and will be available from both Etihadarena.ae and Platinumlist.net.
Scooby-Doo! and The Lost City of Gold
Scooby-Doo! and The Lost City of Gold, is landing in Yas Island for six shows over March 2 and 3, 2024. Tickets start at Dhs95 and are on sale now via the etihadarena.ae website. For this, live action, family friendly stage show, the gang are on the Incan trail of a series of mysterious events in South America — a music festival is being haunted by the spectre of La Dama de Oro (The Lady In Gold), and it’s putting a considerable dent in the event’s PnL. Zoiks, sounds like we’ve got ourselves a mystery, gang.