The interesting thing about UAE is that it has more foreigners than natives; the country is home to over 200 nationalities! With this dynamic blend of cultures, each with their own background, you get a paradoxically charming mix of old and new, from fans of folk music to those of electronic dance music. No matter what type of music you enjoy, you’re sure to find legions of fans nearby, and even a concert or festival in the horizon.
DUBAI JAZZ FESTvia Holidayme
One of the oldest festivals in UAE, starting in 2003, Dubai Jazz Fest takes place in Dubai Media City. This festival attracts fans from all over the world and can have an audience as big as 60,000 people! The fest lasts for three days, offering a variety of music genres beyond jazz. The event takes place in February of each year, with internationally acclaimed artists like Sting and John Legend performing.
REDFESTDXBvia The National | Victor Besa
One of the biggest annual events of its kind in Dubai, RedfestDXB began in 2013 and takes place in Dubai Media City amphitheater in February. The fest has an impressive list of guests every year, with the likes of the Chainsmokers, Adam Lambert, and Craig David.
DESTINATION DAWNvia Conde Nast Traveller
Taking place in Ras Al-Khaimah on Al Marjan Island, Destination Dawn is the region’s first all-night beachfront music festival. The 12-hour event takes place twice a year without set dates, and hosts a line-up of internationally renowned DJs as well as a number of local artists.
YASALAM FESTIVALvia Feel your tempo
Yasalam, meaning 'wow' in Arabic, first took the stage in 2009 and has since engaged over 2 million fans. It remains one of the most anticipated events in the region, with world-class headliners like Lionel Richie and Pitbull. Taking place every November in Abu Dhabi, Yasalam lasts 11 days and celebrates motorsports, music, and the community.
UNITE WITH TOMORROWLANDvia Vivek Krishnan
Not all electronic music fans can make it to Tomorrowland in Belgium, so it's being broadcast live across the globe – with the first time being last year in Dubai. This year's festival took place in July in Abu Dhabi, where the stage also hosted local and international DJs alongside the live broadcast from Belgium.
WASLA MUSIC FESTIVALvia The National | Victor Besa
Having been around for only two years, Wasla Music Festival is quickly gaining momentum to become a major festival in the UAE. The event focuses on alternative Arabic music and hosts a variety of artists every February in Dubai, including Majaz, Cairokee, and Autostrad.
SHARJAH WORLD MUSIC FESTIVALvia Sharjah Update
Sharjah World Music Festival, held in its namesake city, hosts Arab and Western artists and bands performing a variety of music genres, from pop and traditional Arabic music to jazz. The event takes place in January and aims to promote tourism.