As Formula 1 fever heats up, here’s your guide to the events, promotions and pop-ups happening in the capital for all you speed freaks
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. With the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix set to screech into town from 24th to 26th November, the whole capital is revving up for a weekend of sporting action.
And whether you’re on or off track to catch the action, we’ve gathered the best of events, promotions and more so you can soak up every last drop of the atmosphere before the chequered flag falls.
Time to shine
Returning for another year to showcase the creativity on our doorstep, Yasalam’s Emerging Talent Competition is here, and with it, a whole boatload of new faces in UAE music.
The competition first launched in 2015 with the aim of supporting a homegrown music scene alongside international talent, and two years later, the contest is as fierce as ever, says judge Olly Wood, one half of electronic dance music duo Hollaphonic.
“It’s going to be harder this year, and I look forward to that,” he tells us. “I meet people that I’ve seen before in these competitions that I’ve heard about, but I also meet people who I’ve never heard of at all who have got something raw and you want to work with them.”
After carefully listening to thousands of sample tracks, Olly and the rest of the judging team has had the huge task of picking their top ten.
These selected few have progressed onto the next stage, and have been receiving training, workshops and mentoring from the judges to develop their sound, before being cut down to just four finalists.
With the chance to be the opening act for global superstar P!nk at the after-race concert on 26th November, it’s all to sing for – and don’t they know it.
For Omar Afuni and band mate Adel Al Qattan who form Qattana, opportunities like the Emerging Talent Competition are key to helping develop the music scene on a local level.
“As a solo artist, I’ve seen many acts come and go,” Omar reflects. “I’ve met a lot of talented individuals who gave up their musical aspirations as a result of the lack of opportunity and support. Local talent is not only important, but crucial to the regional
Fellow competitor Dina Rabadi agrees: “It’s definitely been a great experience to get my voice out there and perform in front of people that are not just my friends and family. It’s these local competitions that help raise our voice.
“There is a lot of talent here and it’s challenging, but I hope I’ve got what it takes,” she says.
“My friends and family pushed me so hard and kept telling me I should give it a shot,” she adds. “I’ve never been in a competition before, so I think this is why it’s very challenging for me.”
While just one act will take home the glory at the end, for the musicians, the competition is a unique chance to learn something about the industry they want to get into.
“I think [the competition] has had a very positive impact already, and the programme just started,” enthuses Danny Aridi, a Lebanese-Canadian singer-songwriter and top ten shortlisted artist.
“Whether I win or lose, it’s still a memorable experience and a very educational one,” he reflects. “I might have performed in public, but never in a competition and never to challenge myself in that way.
“There are so many local talents and only a competition like the Emerging Talent Competition can help us expose our talent and grow further.”
With ten set to become four finalists on F1 race weekend, it’s only fair that the people of Abu Dhabi get a say in who makes it into the final stage of the competition by voting online.
Check out the artists and vote for your favourite here: bit.ly/2z3LnTw
Stay up to date with how these artists get on through their Instagram pages
Dina Rabadi: instagram.com/dina.officialmusic
Danny Aridi: instagram.com/dannyaridi
Formula for fitness
As the annual Get Driver Fit challenge draws to a close and ends its quest to find the
nation’s fittest man and woman, sports fans can have one last fling at the Fitness Festival
on 10th November.
Featuring challenge, fitness, demo and wellness zones, activities range from hula hooping to kangoo bouncing, mindfulness workshops, Zumba, calisthenics, boxing, circuits and more – and there’s something for fitness fans of all abilities.
With a dedicated zone for little fitness fans, you can wear out their engines with workshops including baby gym, introduction to karate and mini hip-hop, before refuelling at the event’s food trucks.
Serious athletes can try their hand at the Challenge Zone, where the final competitors
for the Get Driver Fit challenge will be crowned after a head-to-head battle.
Free. du Forum, Yas Island. 3pm–10pm. Visit: facebook.com/getdriverfit
The Galleria will be getting into the spirit with two days of events from 16th to 18th November. Children aged four to 11 can get on track with some pedal car driving, as well as themed arts and crafts activities including clay car moulding and colouring. If you stick around, you’ll also get the chance to meet young Emirati pro drivers Amna and Hamda Al Qubaisi. Free. Al Maryah Island. Race track 3pm–9pm, meet and greet 5pm–7pm. Visit: thegalleria.ae
Yas Marina’s promenade will host themed activities from 24th to 26th November, with entertainers, flyboarders and pop-up modern art gallery Opera Gallery, with guest appearances from the artists. Percussionist Walter Scalzone will also be on hand for some amazing beats. Free. Yas Island. 4pm–9pm. Visit: yasisland.ae
Hit the beach as Dubai pop-up El Chiringuito comes to town for a round of epic beach parties from 24th to 26th November. Opening the weekend, techno DJ Sven Vath will take over the decks alongside Apollonia and DJ Tini for a unique dining experience. On 25th, expect a party brunch and on the final day, enjoy a chilled beach fest with some great eats. From AED 150. Yas Beach, Yas Island. Opening times vary. Contact: 04 277 9180, email@example.com
For a meal with a view, hit the Yas Viceroy for a buffet during race weekend – it’s the only hotel in the world that overlooks a Formula 1 track. Fancy sushi? Head to the terrace of Kazu. If you fancy Middle Eastern mezze, head to Atayeb. Whatever you choose, take a seat on the terrace and watch the action unfold. 23rd to 26th Nov. From AED 350+++. From noon. Yas Island. Contact: 02 656 0600, firstname.lastname@example.org
With more events to be announced, stay tuned and visit yasalam.ae for more information.
Race day deals
Can’t make the race? Catch all the action of the finale with Blu Sky Lounge & Grill’s race day package. Enjoy free-flow house beverages and bar bites until the chequered flag waves. AED 98++. Mina Street, Al Zahiyah. From 5pm. Contact: 02 818 4888, email@example.com
Sport fans who catch the action at Hemingway’s can enjoy discounts on house beverages and hops with a special happy hour during the race, with prices starting from AED 22+++. Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche West. 4pm–8pm. Contact: 02 692 4247, hilton.com
With indoor and outdoor screens, you can watch the action al fresco at NRG while indulging in the bar’s beverage and bites deals, with wings, nachos and fajitas on the menu. From AED 90. Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, near Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Zahiyah. From 3pm on 26th November. Contact: 02 644 6666, facebook.com/lemeridienabudhabi
WORDS Camille Hogg