Organisers in the UAE are revising outlooks on upcoming concerts and events, as the coronavirus outbreak threatens large-scale events.
At least three events have been cancelled, including the AKS Colour Carnival, Yogafest Al Ain and the upcoming DJ Mag Conference on Yas Island, due to the virus. However, others, such as the Middle East Film and Comic Con and Ultra Abu Dhabi, intend to still go ahead while events such as the Dubai International Boat Show have been postponed to a later date.
Here’s a list of updated statements from entertainment organisers:
Postponed: Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi has postponed the 30th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
The event was was scheduled to take place from April 15 to 21 April 2020, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. It will now take place from May 23 to 29.
“The move is a precautionary measure to protect public health,” a statement said.
Postponed (but Dubai-focused event still running): Art Dubai
The 14th year of the international art fair has been postponed. However, an event focused on the local art community will be staged on the same dates, March 25 to 28.
This means that galleries from around the world will no longer fly in to present at Art Dubai, but local galleries and art institutions will still put on events.
Pablo del Val, a co-director of Art Dubai, says, “Our goal now is to support the Dubai art community,” adding that the fair has received strong support from local institutions who could potentially host events. The decision took many by surprise, and has been met with divided reactions.
“We totally understand and respect the decision made,” says Charles Pocock, an adviser to the Barjeel Art Collection and managing partner of Meem Gallery, which was due to show at the fair. “In the present global climate, it makes sense. Art Dubai has managed the situation well and shown a great understanding of the grave situation we are all facing as global citizens.”
“We have made the decision to stage a programme tailored to the local cultural community instead, including existing fair programme contributors and thought-leaders,” organisers said, adding that “the goals and ambitions for this re-configured programme maintain our objective to deliver commercial, institutional and critical engagement with Dubai’s art ecosystem – a commitment of support to our local community that we felt an imperative to uphold.”
They said further details of the programme will be announced soon.
Postponed (until December): Taste of Dubai
The outdoor event held at the Media City Amphitheatre, which typically signifies the end of Dubai Food Festival, has been pushed back from March 12-14 to December. It will also be extended from three days to four at the time. Taste of Dubai brings together dozens of pop-up restaurants and food trucks serving sample-size bites at subsidised rates, plus entertainment acts, cooking classes and competitions, and demonstrations and meet-and-greets by local and international chefs.
A statement released by the organisers reads: “Due to the continued global developments regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and following precautionary measures being implemented by the UAE government, this year’s Taste of Dubai 2020 at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre has been postponed … and will be extended for an additional day and take place December 9 to 12, 2020.
“All purchased tickets can be rescheduled to our new dates, or refunds maybe requested by contacting: [email protected] or 04 457 3212.”
The various other activities that are part of Dubai Food Festival – such as Dubai Restaurant Week and Etisalat Beach Canteen – are going ahead as per usual as of now.
Postponed (until November): Madness
UK ska band Madness were due to perform at Dubai’s Irish Village on Thursday, March 5, but the performance has been postponed until Thursday, November 12.
“Due to the current situation worldwide the Madness Concert is postponed to a later date. Tickets will be refunded or valid for the new date: to be announced soon,” organisers tweeted.
Postponed (new date unknown): Club Social
The Kaiser Chiefs, Clean Bandit and Liam Gallagher were due to perform at the third edition of Club Social on Yas Island. A two-day festival set to take place on Yas Island from Thursday, March 12 is the latest live event to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Organisers issued a statement on Tuesday to confirm the decision was made “Out of concern for the health and well-being of our attendees.”
People who have purchased tickets can claim a full refund and the evnet is set to take place later this year, but no date has been confirmed. Billed as the Middle East’s ultimate Feelgood music festival, the third edition of Club Social was set to return to Yas Links on Yas Island from March 12-13.
Postponed (new date unknown): Ultra Abu Dhabi
“In line with our commitment to deliver the ultimate Ultra experience to our festival goers and as part of the local and international measures taken to ensure the health and safety of the public, Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 will be postponed,” a spokesperson has said of the three-day music festival featuring more than a dozen of the world’s biggest DJs. Around 20,000 people were expected to attend.
“The decision has been taken due to the travel restrictions imposed by some countries and airlines for individuals and groups.
The new date hasn’t yet been announced: “we look forward to sharing the new dates in the near future.”
AfroJack, Eric Prydz and Seth Troxler were some of the headline acts due to perform across three stages at Du Arena on March 5 and 6.
Postponed (new date unknown): ‘Music Bank’ at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena
The Coca-Cola Arena was due to host two mega K-Pop events at the end of this month: the K-Pop Super Concert on Friday, March 20, and the Music Bank show on Saturday, March 21. However, the Music Bank concert has been postponed by promoters.
Due to perform at KBS’s Music Bank are Twice, Seventeen, Monsta X and Jus2, as well as Exo’s Baekhyun.
“The South Korea-based organisers of Music Bank in Dubai have unfortunately taken the decision to postpone the event due to take place at Coca-Cola Arena on March 21. We’re eagerly anticipating the event to return to the market in the future. Ticket holders will automatically receive a full refund from their point of purchase,” a spokesperson for the Coca-Cola Arena told The National.
Music Bank is a KBS show that began in 1998 and airs performances by artists in various locations around the world. Popular groups perform their biggest hits as the hosts countdown the top songs of the week.
Going ahead: K-Pop Super Concert
Although Music Bank has been postponed, the Friday, March 20 K-pop Super Concert is still listed, and fans can currently buy tickets to see South Korean stars, Super Junior, NCT 127, RGP, LABOUM and Jun.
The National has reached out to the City Walk, Dubai arena to see if the performances will go ahead; arena officials say they “cannot comment until an official decision by the promoter has been reached”.
As rapper Russ has postponed his March gig, following the K-pop Super Concert on Friday, March 20 , there are no public performances scheduled at the arena until Louis Tomlinson on Saturday, April 18, and Iron Maiden on Wednesday, May 27.
Postponed (until November): Russ at Coca-Cola Arena
American rapper Russ had been due to perform at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena on Friday, March 27. However, he has tweeted that the show will be postponed until Friday, November 27 this year.
“I have to postpone the Dubai show due to the coronavirus,” Russ wrote on his official Twitter account. “I know, wild lol but outta my control … but your tickets will all be valid for the new date which will be November 27 this year.”
The concert’s date has been updated on the Coca-Cola Arena website.
Cancelled: AKS Colour Carnival 2020
Dubbed “the ultimate Holi experience in the UAE,” AKS Colour Carnival 2020 was set to take place in Dubai Sport City on Friday, March 6 but has been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Organisers of the event said in a statement, “Due to circumstances outside of our control and our moral obligation towards the well-being of our guests, their families and in particular our excited little young ones, we are compelled to announce this year’s edition of the carnival cancelled.”
The organisers expressed their deepest regret as this cancellation comes at such a late stage; and also expressed gratitude for the public’s continuous support and interest in the event.
They also requested ticket holders to get in touch with Platinum List for refunds on tickets and tables purchased online. The entire team behind the event wished the community members best health to celebrate a happy, safe and colorful Holi this year.
Postponed (until November): Dubai International Boat Show
The Dubai International Boat Show has been postponed to November due to the coronavirus outbreak. The four-day event was due to start on Tuesday, March 10, running until Saturday, March 14.
But a statement shared on the official website says, “Whilst the UAE remains completely safe for travel, and has deployed the strictest medical and hygiene protocols, we fully recognise that for some specific shows, we have a high majority of key participants significant to the event’s programme that are unable to travel due to restrictions in their home country. As such, we have been working closely to assure that our clients’ needs are most effectively addressed, and the delivery of strong international participation considered, in these extraordinary times.
“Bearing this context, the Dubai International Boat Show, the MENA’s largest leisure boating event and one of the world’s most influential gatherings for the global yachting community, is being postponed from 10-14 March to 24-28 November 2020 and will be located at its new home — Dubai Harbour, the region’s largest luxury marina and most advanced cruise terminal.”
The show was due to offer the first glimpse into the new Dubai Harbour. The show will now take place from November 24 to 28, coinciding with Expo 2020.
Cancelled: DJ Mag Conference
The DJ Mag Conference, which was viewed as the run up to Ultra Abu Dhabi, has been cancelled due to its Yas Island venue being quarantined.
Scheduled to run on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3 and 4 at the W Hotel Abu Dhabi, the inaugural event was set to feature over 100 attendees from across the electronic dance music scene.
In a statement, conference organisers said the event had to be scrapped due to the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island being in a “temporary lockdown”. Ticket holders would be contacted for refunds, the statement said.
The move to cancel the event comes after the final stages of the UAE Tour was discontinued over the weekend after two Italian staff members were tested positive for coronavirus.
As a result, the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi quarantined two hotels on Yas Island, where cyclists and crew had been staying, to test anyone that may have come into contact with the patients.
Cancelled: Yogafest Al Ain
The Al Ain instalment of the UAE’s popular Yogafest has been cancelled amid coronavirus fears. The festival, which was due to take place at Al Jahili Park on Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6, has been postponed following advice from the UAE government, organisers said on Sunday.
“It is with so much regret that we have to inform you we have decided to postpone Yogafest Al Ain this coming weekend,” a statement posted to the event’s Facebook page said. “Given the recent advice from the government against attending outdoor events to reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus, it seemed the right decision to make – yet a very difficult one indeed. We will update you about any future events and thank you for all your incredible support.”
Going ahead: Middle East Film and Comic Con
Organisers of the Middle East Film and Comic Con says it is “business as usual” for them.
The three-day event runs from Thursday to Saturday, March 5 to 7 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
“We are continuously and closely monitoring the developing situation with COVID-19,” a statement from organisers said.
“We are staying up-to-date and following all safety advice recommended by UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, as well as the World Health Organisation. Based on these official sources of update and guidance, it is business as usual for us and we look forward to welcoming all our visitors this weekend.”
Dubai World Trade Centre had installed thermal cameras and extra hand sanitising stations at the venue.
“Our visitors are advised to wash their hands frequently, practice respiratory hygiene, cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue and immediately throw into a bin, and seek medical assistance if you develop any of the known symptoms.”
Postponed (new date unknown): Ideas Abu Dhabi
Global forum Ideas Abu Dhabi has announced that its event has been cancelled until later this year. It was due to be take place on Wednesday and Thursday, March 18 to 19. No new date has been announced.
“We apologise for the inconvenience, however our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our speakers, participants, attendees, and staff,” organisers said in a statement.
Cancelled: EVRT Dubai 2020
EVRT Dubai 2020, the Electric Vehicle Road Trip, was due to travel across the UAE from Wednesday to Monday, March 25 to 30. However, organisers have decided to cancel the 2020 event, but plan to hold the same event in March 2021.
“After careful consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to move the dates for EVRT Dubai 2020 to the following year in light of current market conditions,” organisers said in a statement.
“We would like to thank you for your interest in EVRT Dubai this year and with the progress made, we look forward to welcoming you to the event that will now be taking place in March 2021.”
TBC: Dubai Opera, Global Village and more
The National has reached out to Dubai Opera, Global Village, Club Social and Coca-Cola Arena.
Dubai Opera is scheduled to host Katherine Jenkins on March 4, then Lea Salonga on March 5 and 6; Kuwaiti singer Essa Al Marzouq is playing at Global Village on March 6; and Abu Dhabi’s Club Social is set to take place from March 12 to 14, with Liam Gallagher, Kaiser Chiefs and Clean Bandit to play.
Updated: March 4, 2020 05:07 PM