Abu Dhabi's Post-Formula 1 Yasalam Concerts Draw Biggest Names In Music
This story first appeared in the Oct. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
What do Beyonce, Aerosmith, Prince, Paul McCartney, David Guetta and Tiesto have in common? Beyond being big music stars, all of them also have played high-profile gigs in Abu Dhabi during recent years.
Attendees of the Cannes Film Festival already might be aware of the emirate's ability to draw musical talent. An Abu Dhabi party in Cannes this year featured Kelis, for example. And the emirate hosts a couple of big annual music events that started in 2009 -- a three-day concert series and a dance music festival.
The annual Formula 1 Grand Prix in early November brings with it the popular Yasalam After-Race Concerts, which this year will feature Kylie Minogue, Nickelback and Eminem.
In 2011, the lineup consisted of Britney Spears, The Cult, Incubus and McCartney, while Kanye West, Linkin Park and Prince played in 2010. The inaugural 2009 edition was headlined by Beyonce, Jamiroquai, Kings of Leon and Aerosmith.
"We've had some fantastic performances at Yasalam over the years," says John Lickrish, CEO of organizer Flash Entertainment, the region's big live events company, in announcing this year's lineup.
The After-Race Concerts are part of Live on Yas Island, one of the three pillars of Yasalam, which organizers say is the largest citywide entertainment program put on by any Formula 1 host city (a $570 ticket to the Grand Prix automatically includes the concerts). The events and concerts -- the two other "pillars" of Yasalam are Live Across the City and Live on the Corniche (named after a major street in Abu Dhabi) -- draw tens of thousands of people.
Electronic-dance-music lovers also have their annual event in the desert city in the form of Creamfields Abu Dhabi.
This year's fourth local version of the dance music festival will be headlined by Guetta and Armin van Buuren on Dec. 7.
In 2011, acts included Tiesto, deadmau5, Tinie Tempah, John Digweed, Ferry Corsten and others. In 2010, Guetta also performed, and Sasha and Erick Morillo played the festival in 2009.
But Guetta and van Buuren aren't the only attraction: The event will include "giant laser robots," according to a statement on the festival's website.