Your guide to live music at the Formula 1 this weekend

Florence, Blur, Craig David, 50 cent and many more


Once a year our far mellower neighbouring Emirate becomes the centre of attention. The frenzy of activity that surrounds the Formula 1 Grand Prix is enough to tire Abu Dhabi out for the rest of the year. And all the excitement isn’t just about the high-octane spectacle of the world’s fastest cars zooming their way around the Yas Marina Circuit’s insane twists. F1 weekend sees a horde of top-tier international musical acts descend upon Abu Dhabi to perform shows once the races wrap up for the day. If you're not into the cars, it's worth the trip just for the music, especially now Uber are doing helicopter rides from Dubai...yes you read that right! Now, to decide which day to head to Abu Dhabi, well, we've compiled a tidy little list of who is playing where and when. You're welcome...

Thursday 26 November

Saad Lamjarrad – BotB, The Corniche

While the racing only starts up on Friday, Beats on the Beach, a free music festival with pop-up acts dotted all along the Corniche gets the crowds warmed up the night before. BotB really tries to deliver a multi-culti flavor from the get-go, with acts that night hailing from the Emirates (Fayez Al Saeed), the Philippines (rocker Bamboo) and Sweden (Pop star Tove Lo), as well as a alt-pop synth quartet Bridge Incident, whose members come from all four corners of the globe.

But on Thursday the must-see act is fresh young Moroccan Saad Lamjarad – his tunes are so catchy, you needn’t know any Arabic to bop along.


Saad Lamjarrad – probably the hippest pop Arab singer we've encountered

Friday 27 November

Enrique Iglesias – du Arena, Yas Island

The man (formerly) with the mole opens up the mega-concerts that’ll be hosted at the du Arena. We know the words to more of his hits than we care to admit to and you will to! If you’re into pop music with Latino flavor this clearly is the show for you.

Akon – Cipriani Yas Island

This year posh-o resto Cipriani is partnering with VIP Room and going for hip-hop gold and kicks off its musical weekend with Akon – the rapper of “Lonely,” “Smack That,” and “S*xy B*tch” fame. All tunes we can get down to.

Jamie Jones + Tale of Us – Blue Marlin Ibiza U.A.E.

Not into Latin Pop or Hip Hop? No biggie. Blue Marlin, our fave Ibiza beach club-clubbing outpost is bringing electronica into the mix on Friday night with world-renowned house DJ Jamie Jones flanked by the cool eclectic-electronic Berlin-based duo Tale of Us.

J. Cole – BotB, The Corniche

If you like your Hip Hop sans twerking, rims or bling, then this thoughtful rap artist is the act for you. If you like Kendrick Lamar and Drake (and you really ought to), this Jay-Z protégé’s gig is the performance for you. The thinking man’s (and woman’s) Hip Hop artist, this act comes highly recommended from the crew at Lovin Dubai. Plus, it’s free!

Also on at BotB on Friday: Lebanese crooner and romantic heavy-weight Wael Kfoury; DJ Trey “Ace” Smith (who happens to be Will Smith’s oldest son – just thought we’d mention that); Indian-Egyptian fusion funk band Carl and the Reda Mafia; and the UAE’s own Omar Marzouqi.


Enrique obvs


J Cole... maybe less obvs

Saturday 28 November

Florence + The Machine – du Arena

The big act on Saturday is our girl Flo, showcasing her band’s new album, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.” Thanks to the group’s dramatic sound and Florence’s powerful and haunting vocals, the album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. We’re pretty sure it’s already sold out, but you might be able to scrounge a ticket or two if you’re lucky or extremely resourceful.

Craig David/TS5 – Amber Lounge

If you were a teen in the noughties, you’re probably a wee bit excited about this UK Garage star’s return to the music scene. While you’ll definitely be treated to a rendition of nostalgic tunes like “7 Days” and “Fill Me In,” you ought to know that David’s now doing something he calls TS5 – whereby he’s DJs/hosts a massive house party based on the all-night rave that he throws at his Miami pad. Hope he’s inviting his poor neighbours.

8KY 6LU of LMFAO – Podium Lounge, Yas Viceroy

It’s going to be a proper party feel with one part of LMFAO, and total dude 8KY 6LU. As well as being a Grammy nominated artist, DJ (with residencies in both Miami and Atlantic City), singer songwriter and producer, 8KY 6LU is all about moving and shaking…make sure you bring your best moves.

DJ John Digweed – Yas Beach

You don’t have to be a dance music aficionado to want to see this legendary DJ’s appearance during F1 weekend. On the turntable scene since the tender age of 15, Digweed has been dubbed the Godfather of Progressive House and is known as one of the foremost DJs on the planet. Despite an unrelenting tour schedule and a weekly dance music radio show that regularly pulls in a whopping 14 million listeners worldwide, Digweed is coming to show the UAE some love, so you’d best show up.

Ludacris – Cipriani Yas Island

What did we tell you about Cipriani going all hippety-hop on us this year? Saturday night sees megastar Dirty South rapper Ludacris take the stage. It’s guaranteed that he’ll have the crowd rollin’ out, movin’ (maybe out of the way) and shakin’ their moneymakers.

Screen-Shot-2015-11-26-at-14.58.10 1

Total hero – Florence


Get down with Ludacris

Sunday 29 November

Blur – du Arena

If you grew up during the heyday of Britpop, one thing that might stand out in your memory is the infamous Blur vs. Oasis saga, a.k.a. “The Battle of Britpop”. Those of us that were pro-Blur were initially saddened to hear that the band members parted ways in 2003 to pursue different paths, although some could say it turned out for the best (a grungier sounding solo debut for guitarist Graham Coxon, eclectic and successful mixed-media music collaborations for front man Damon Albarn, and an illustrious career as a cheese maker for quirky bassist Alex James). Now they’ve reunited to release The Magic Whip, a critically acclaimed new album, and they’re treating the F1 weekend crowd to a taste of their new sound, as well as what will hopefully be a massive dose of their greatest hits. We’ve reached a new level of excitement.

50 Cent – Cipriani

Now what were we saying again about this ritzy Italian venue’s singlehanded mission to be the F1’s Weekend’s Hip Hop ambassador? For its Grand Prix rap-stravaganza finale, Cipriani will be hosting none other than bullet-ridden rappin’ badass 50 Cent, who we fondly like to refer to as “Fiddy.” Now you may or may not have heard that Fiddy has run into some financial problems as of late – but just because he’s fallen on some hard times doesn’t mean his music has lost its appeal. So be sure to be 'in da club' and split a bottle of bub with the man. You’ll be guaranteed to get down.


Blur - quite possibly the most exciting thing to happen in Abu Dhabi


50 cent will see you 'in da club'

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