February might officially be dubbed the month of “luurve” due to the ubiqutious worldwide celebration of St Valentine’s - so in Dubai they’re serenading everyone with plenty of open-air music concerts and festivals under the stars. A romantic fine dining meal? You can secure one for much less than you thought possible as part of the Dubai Food Festival which kicks off this month. Not enough reason to celebrate? Then how abou kicking off the Chinese Lunar New Year with a selection of Chinese-themed venues offering unique entertainment options for old and young alike. February is indeed a great time to be in Dubai.
RedFest DXB (8 to 9 February)
Back for its fifth edition, the popular RedFestDXB music festival returns to Dubai for two days of smashing concert action under blue and starry skies at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Bringing some of the world’s biggest artists to the Dubai stage, this edition well feature a headlining act by The Chainsmokers on the first day, followed by rapper Russ, Kelli-Leigh and Anthony Touma.
The second day will see Kesha warming up the stage with mega hits like Timber and Tik Tok before giving way to Craig David, Marshmello and Bebe Rexha. To wrap it all up, local DJ Dany Neville will be spinning some tunes at the end of each night’s performances. It all ends at the stroke of midnight on both days with the action starting at 6 p.m. on the first day and 4 p.m. on the last day. Tickets are available from redfestdxb.com and are priced between 395 (£75) and 1,195 AED (£229).
Dubai Jazz Festival (21 to 23 February)
The Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival will take over the city nearing the end of February for three days of spectacular music action in the open air, also at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Now in its 16th edition, the Dubai Jazz Festival is not all about jazz actually, although it certainly includes plenty of it. There’s a mix up of popular music genres to stir things up a bit, which means you won’t be listening to just jazz over its three days duration.
To break the ice, British legendary band Duran Duran will take to the stage on the first day to perform some of the greatest hits in their long and successful 40-year-old career in addition to songs from their latest album “Paper Gods". Their act will be supported by Renegade Brass Band and their infectious R&B tunes. The second day will bring John Legend’s award-winning music to the table, with the man himself performing some of his most famous hits, including “All of Me”, “Green Light” and “Glory” supported by singer China Moses and her signature blend of jazz, soul and R&B.
To heat things up, the very last day will bring Puerto Rican international music star Ricky Martin to Dubai for the very first time, performing some of his most popular all-time hits like Livin’ La Vida Loca, She Bangs, and the more recent Vente Pa’ca. His act will be followed by Poncho Sanchez, bringing the finest of Latin jazz with his Grammy-winning music. Tickets can be purchased through dubaijazzfest.com and prices range between 342 AED (£65) and 1,418 AED (£272).
Dubai Food Festival (22 February to 10 March)
The annual space “Where Foodie Meets Food”, the Dubai Food Festival will bring the widest variety of adventurous dishes to the table, offering visitors unique and rare opportunities to sample delicious global and local cuisine. There are once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had as well as especially priced set menus and themed events like Dubai Restaurant Week (22 February to 3 March), allowing diners to enjoy gourmet dishes for just 199 AED per person at a good array of internationally themed restaurants. As part of the culinary celebrations there will also be a Beach Canteen at Sunset Beach (behind Sunset Mall) providing tasty bites over the course of 17 days in the form of food trucks, cafes, restaurants and stands serving up flavoursome street snacks. Live music will accompany the symphony of flavours, as tantalising as they are varied, with authentic Emirati bites and tastes of the world. To top it all, family-friendly activities will also be on.
Chinese New Year Celebrations (10 to 24 February)
Celebrate the start of the Chinese Year of the Dog in style with Dubai’s spectacular city-wide festivities. The biggest of them will take place at Dubai Parks and Resorts with their addition of the Chinese New Year Temple Fair, where daily activities galore are planned for everyone in the family.
Chinese celebrations also extend to Riverland, which will have a traditional Chinese market, full of colourful arts and crafts, from sugar paintings to clay figurines and finger-licking-good Chinese food and drinks. If all this wasn´t festive enough, the Riverland market will be full of roaming acts that include Sichuan opera performers and puppet shows. Oh, and to draw things to a close there´ll be fireworks displays every evening!
The French Village area will also be joining the Chinese-themed festivities in Dubai with Chinese lanterns and decorations that include a red pocket Chinese tree - full of wishing cards and gifts. Access to enjoy most of these Chinese festivals and traditions is free, with the exception of Dubai Parks and Resorts, where you´ll have to pay the usual entrance fee. Xin nian hao!
Shaolin Warriors Live in Dubai (27 February to 3 March)
Prepare for a visual feast on the eyes like no other with the arrival of Shaolin Warriors - Kung Fu Masters to Dubai. Since this is the month for celebrating the start of the Chinese New Year you might as well do it in style by enjoying once of their most ancient martial arts.
Making their debut at the Dubai Opera over five consecutive days, 21 Kung Fu masters from China´s Shaolin region will be performing one of their beautifully choreographed performances, telling the story of a child´s initiation in his journey to become a warrior. Watch in awe as these expertly trained performers balance on sharp spears and smash marble slabs with nothing but their bare hands and knuckles. A spectacle that will stun you from start to end! Tickets start from 195 AED (£37)and shows are on at 8 p.m. in February and at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. in March.
Best in Music
Malena Avila and Friends (5 February)
Talented Cuban flautist Malena Avila will be paying a tribute to Latin music at The Fridge, Alserkal Avenue for one night only. She will be joined on stage by some of Cuba and Dubai’s most talented musicians to play traditional Cuban tunes, ranging from Latin Jazz and Bolero to Salsa and Danzon. An authentic journey into the musical heart of this multi-faceted Cuban island that costs just 50 AED (that’s under £10!) to enjoy. Plus, a food truck will be onsite to make the evening all the more flavoursome.
Toni Vegas and DJ Aik Live (8 February)
Enjoy a mix of house and hip-hop beats with two of Paris’ most internationally famous urban DJs, who will be spinning some tunes at Dubai Design District’s Base Dubai. Coming back to the Dubai scene after a successful performance last year, this French duo will be infecting the crowds with their catchy rimixes from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Ludovico Einaudi at Dubai Opera (8 to 9 February)
If in the mood for some quality instrumental music, head to the Dubai Opera on 8th and 9th Feburary to enjoy a spectacular performance from Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. Having worked on award-winning scores for Hollywood films and TV shows like Doctor Zhivago, the Water Diviner and This is England, Einaudi is a treat for music lovers. Performing some of his greatest hits, he will be joined on stage by a group of other talented musicians like Riccardo Lagana, Alberto Fabris, Federico Mecozzi and Francesco Arcuri.
DJ E-Feezy at Base Dubai (16 February)
One of Miami´s most legendar DJs, dubbed “The Wolf of South Beach” after he earned numerous residencies at the city´s hippest clubs, DJ E-Feezy is coming to Dubai to get the crowds bopping to his irresistible mixes. After working with some of hip-hop´s biggest names, from Timbaland to Lil Wayne (he´s now his official DJ) the time to catch him in Dubai is 10 p.m. on 16th February at Base Dubai. The party goes on until next morning at 4 a.m. and you can book your place at basedubai.com.
Groove on the Grass ft. Bonobo (23 February)
The popular electronic and dance music festival returns to Dubai this month with a headlining gig by DJ Bonobo. The British producer and mixer will get crowds swaying to his sounds in the company of an 8-member band. The full line-up of performers is yet to be announced, but do watch this space for more details as they are revealed. This is your one-of-a-kind chance to enjoy the stage antics of this Grammy-nominated DJ, so do make time for a stop here if heading to Dubai later this month. It’s on at the Emirates Golf Club on Sheikh Zayed Road World and the DJ session kicks off at 5 p.m., closing its doors at 3 a.m. Early bird tickets are going for 215 to 290 AED (£41 to £56) or 315 AED (£61) if you purchase them at the door.
Aida (14 to 17 February)
One of the most famous operas of all time, the complex love story of Aida and Radames comes to life at Dubai Opera with a beautifully evocative stage production by the Polish National Opera. To commemorate St Valentine´s day, this captivating performance will pull at the heartstrings as the tragedy of the two lovers unfolds with original music by Giuseppe Verdi. The music will hypnotise audiences into a trance as each of the pinnacle moments in the four acts is aptly accompanied by powerful melodies. Aida is on from 14 to 17 days with a starting time of 8 p.m. Tickets start at a mere 35 AED (£7) for the dress rehearsal on 13th February and 350 AED (£65) for the other shows - so there´s really no excuse to miss this timeless classic! Especially in time to celebrate Valentine´s Day!
Eugene Onegin at Dubai Opera (22 to 23 February)
Yet another magnificent performance brought by the Polish National Opera, the story of young, wealthy Eugene Onegin is retold through music, lights and show to captivate audiences with one of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous operas. Inspired by the novel of Russian figure, Alexander Pushkin, the music and the story all beautifully represent the sometimes dark depths of high Russian society in the early 19th century. Keeping true to the original, the opera is in Russian, with English subtitles. A rare ocassion to enjoy a Russian classic. Ticket prices start at 350 AED (£65).
Theatre and The Arts
Short + Sweet 2018 (26 January to 3 March)
The Short+Sweet Theatre returns to Dubai for its sixth edition to delight audiences with its entertaining selection of 10-minute plays. It will run for six weekends; starting the last one in January and ending in early March - so you have all of February to enjoy one of its eight performances this month. The second largest in the world of its kind, this unique theatre festival will be hosted at The Junction in Alserkal Avenue and will see over 200 actors, writers, directors and independent theatre companies take to the stage to perform over 80 plays. In this year’s edition, there will be one weekend dedicated to plays in different languages to pay homage to Dubai’s different cultures and nationalities. Tickets start at just 60 AED (£12) for students, 85 AED (£17) for early birds and 110 AED (£21) for regular tickets (or 600 AED for a seasonal pass, which is roughly £117). Performances are scheduled on weekends between 4 and 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Salvador Dali - The Memories (11 February to 22 April)
Bringing to Dubai an incredible selection of works by surrealist master, Salvador Dali, the Conference Centre in DIFC will be showcasing some of his most renowned paintings, but also hundreds of lithographs and photographs, including some taken by Robert Descharnes, one of the Spanish artist’s closest friends. Said photos show Dali working on his creations at his studies in Europe and the U.S. in the span of 40 years and have been carefully curated by Robert Descharnes’ son, Nicholas Descharnes, the exhibition’s guest curator. Such a formidable collection of Dali’s artworks include some of his most famous oil paintings, such as the Shower of Jasmine, but also lesser known pieces that have been in private domain for most of their existence, this being only the third time they’ve ever been publicly displayed. The entry price for this rare temporary Dali exhibition in Dubai is 160 AED (£31) but for an art lover and Dali admirer, the experience is priceless.
*Please note that all currency conversions given on this post are estimates calculated at the time of writing and subject to daily fluctuation.