March presents itself as a colorful, culture-infused month where arts and literature are king and queen while music plays second fiddle with a variety of acts, from classical to chamber music, electronic and hip hop beats, rock and even traditional Irish folk music to celebrate St Patricks’ Day. This March Dubai brings two art festivals, one amazing Van Gogh-inspired exhibition and the emirate’s annual literature festival. To round it all up there’s also an international kite fest on the beach, a massive St Patrick’s Day party, plenty of opportunities to jiggy down at the beach with live DJ fests and a selection of classic music acts. Oh, and until 10th March the Dubai Food Festival we announced last month is still ongoing, with the last chance to sink your teeth into delectable cuisine for a lot less, take part in exciting cooking masterclasses and enjoy delicious food fare at the Dubai Food Festival.
Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature (2 to 10 March)
Dubai’s biggest annual event celebrating the written word kicks off early this month with nine days of book presentations, talks with authors and book signing. Celebrating its 10th addition, Dubai’s Festival of Literature has gathered the strongest line-up of authors ever, with 170 international writers making an appearance. Hosted at the Intercontinental Hotel at Dubai Festival City, you can explore a myriad of books spanning all genres and ages, with three of the world’s most beloved children’s book authors making a presence. Young readers can meet Jacqueline Wilson, David Walliams, Charlie Higson and Anthony Horowitz among many others.
Get your copy signed by the authors, peruse the titles on offer or attend festival-related events like “For the Love of Words” a poetry evening held at the Dubai Opera and including some star guests like UK’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. There will also be special activities for kids with a children’s programme on weekends including the outdoor Family & Kids Oasis and The Time Out Kids Story Corner.
Van Gogh Alive - The experience (11 March - 23 April)
Having toured the world to resounding success, this amazing, interactive art exhibition arrives to Dubai to wow crowds of art lovers of all ages. A collection of over 3,0000 curated images relating to Van Gogh’s life and works is shown on a variety of screens, on walls, floors and ceilings via high-definition projects that bring it all to life. See Van Gogh’s exquisite art like never before, in huge scale and ultra-fine detail, with compelling movement and sound effects. It’s on at the Dubai Design District and tickets cost 70 AED (£14).
Dubai International Kite Fest (9 to 10 March)
The most beautiful display of flying colours comes to Dubai this month with Dubai’s International Kite Fest; the only event of its kind in the region, now in its fourth edition and bringing a unique flair of colour and movement to Sunset Beach. Hundreds of kite-flyers from around the world gather for this event to fill the skies with their colourful fear of all shapes and sizes. Entry to the event is completely free and beyond looking up to the sky to admire the flurry of colours, there are things to be enjoyed closer to the ground with food stalls, children’s play areas, kite-making workshops, live music and dance performances.
St Patrick’s Day Party (16 March)
Celebrate the Day of Ireland’s Patron Saint in style at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre with the return of the McGettigan’s Paddy’s Party. Get ready for this massive event celebrating all things Irish with an all-day concert featuring the biggest names in Irish music and the performance of traditional Irish dancers as well. Get down to the tunes of rock bands like Kodaline and The Coronas and enjoy the sound of indie group Little Hours and U2 tribute band Joshua Tree. There’s a lot more to be announced soon and it will be a fantastic event for all ages. Families are welcome, with kids under 5 going free and discounted ticket prices for children under 16 priced at 75 AED (£15). Early bird adult tickets go for 195 AED (£38) while regular advance tickets are priced at 250 AED (£49). Wave your shamrock flag proudly end enjoy the BBQ brunch for an additional 245 AED (BBQ brunch ticket costs.
SIKKA Art Fair 2018 (17 to 26 March)
Taking over the historic Al Fahidi Neighbourhood, this art initiative by Dubai Culture aims to promote and showcase the work of UAE-based artists, as well as those in the GCC region with a series of live performances and fixed installations. Representing several nations, this art fair encourages the sharing of talent in the wider community with interactive artistic fixtures, audio and video material, screenings, painting, poetry readings, music performances, sculptures and photography. A full 10 days packed full of contemporary art and entertainment, with workshops and plenty of creativity all around. The best part? It’s completely free to enjoy!
Art Dubai 2018 (21 to 24 March)
Dubai’s biggest celebration of the arts is back for its 12th edition, bringing an international line-up of artists that will transform a selection of spaces at Madinat Jumeirah into hubs of art where contemporary and modern creations from around the world take centre stage for the appreciation of visitors.
Check out the daily programme of performances at the Global Art Forum, with workshops, lectures and a myriad of exhibitions, including a selection of works by the Abraaj Group Art Prize winner and shortlisted artists. Held under the Patronage of the UAE’s Prime Minister, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, there will be art events all around the city. One of the most impressive set-ups is The Room, an interactive installation by a collective GCC artist that has been described as offering a uniquely immersive experience. There will also be a number of art demonstrations, performances and celebrity appearances. It’s open. Access to the fair is priced at just 60 AED (£12) for one day ticket when bought online through artdubai.ae and is free for children under 18 and university students.
Infinity Sessions at Nasimi Beach (9 March)
Returning to Atlantis The Palm’s Nasimi Beach for the second time, this popular DJ act last saw the performance of Fedde Le Grand and Souls who rocked the stage on the sands. This time Infinity sessions will bring English and DJ producer Sigala to move the crowds with his intoxicating beats, including hits like Sweet Lovin’ and Easy Love. After having worked with Kylie Minogue and Craig David, this rising DJ star will perform alongside Dubai-based rock band The Boxtones, with more acts to be announced soon. The gig kicks off at 5 p.m. and the party keeps going until 1 a.m. Tickets start from 100 AED (£20) and go up to 350 AED (£70) for premium seats.
One Big Friday at Zero Gravity (16 March)
Another event that will gather crowds by the beach, this music festival returns to Dubai with an impressive line-up of international DJs. French DJ, Kungs will be headlining with hits like his single “This Girl” as well as other popular tunes like “I feel so bad” and “Don’t you know”. British DJ duo Eli & Fur will follow with a poolside set, playing tunes like their debut single “You’re so High” and supported by Zero Gravity’s resident DJs, who will keep the party going well into the early hours. The location is Zero Gravity at Skydive Dubai and it all kicks off at 8 p.m. It’s free to attend if you make it before 8 p.m. and 150 AED (£30) for men after 8 p.m.
Mica Paris sings Ella Fitzgerald at Dubai Opera (16 March)
One of the UK’s most internationally-famous artists, soul singer Mica Paris arrives to Dubai to introduce the audience to her critically acclaimed piece “Mica Paris sings Ella Fitzgerald” where she performs some of the legendary jazz star’s most iconic hits, including evocative tunes like “I’ve got you under my skin“ and "Every time we say goodbye”. It’s on at the Dubai Opera, performance starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are priced between 195 and 395 AED (£38 and £78)
The World Doctors Orchestra at Dubai Opera (21 March)
Performing for one night only, the famous orchestra of musicians that perform for a noble cause (raising funds for medical aid projects) will treat the audience to a selection of classical pieces by composers like Mendelssohn and Beethoven. The World Doctors Orchestra is made up of over 100 physicians from more than 50 countries around the world, who all trade their white coats for musical instruments to delight an audience while raising money for Dubai’s Al Jalila Foundation in this case.
This special one-off concert will also include the world premiere of a musical piece composed by Jonathan Barret and inspired by a poem by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makoum. The stage is the Dubai opera, the time 8 p.m. and ticket prices range between 250 and 950 AED (£49 to £187)
Family and kids
What the Ladybird Heard (9th March)
An adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s children’s book “What the Ladybird Heard Next” comes to life at Dubai’s DUCTAC stage to tell the story of two thieves who want to steal a farmer’s prize cow but fail to do so thanks to the intervention of the ladybird and the help of her farm friends. This musical, as entertaining as it is educational, has plenty of sing-along opportunities for primary school children and pre-schoolers alike. It returns to Dubai for the first time since its debut in 2013, at which time it sold out within days, so haste you must if you want to get your hands on tickets and treat the kids to a memorable show. Tickets are priced between 155 and 180 AED (£31 to £36) and there are three performances to choose from on the same day, one at 11 a.m., another at 2:30 p.m. and the last a 4:30 p.m.
The Works! 2018 (15 to 16 March)
Meet Dubai’s youngest actors and enjoy their talent over two nights as the Kids’ Theatre Works presents its annual acting and musical theatre showcase at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC). The Dubai-based drama school’s acting students will perform original stories of their own inspired by adventures, journeys and lessons while the musical theatre students transform the theatre into a cinema with their “A Night at the Movies” production, featuring plenty of singing and dancing. Performances are at 5:30 p.m. and admission tickets cost 95 AED (£19).
Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale (27 March to 5 April)
The whole family will love this dazzling musical based on the children’s story of Rapunzel. Brought to Dubai by H2 productions, the cast includes UK and UAE performers and with the joyful songs, colourful sets, and light-hearted comedy, it’s a guaranteed success among all the family members. There’s also a chance to be part of the action with interactive opportunities for the audience. Prices start at 120 AED and it’s on at DUCTAC. Performance times vary according to different dates, but you can choose from 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on most days.