Dubai Sound City: our winner returns

United Kingdom United Kingdom | 17 November 2009

This truly was the best experience of our lives, we received an email one week before we flew informing us that we had won tickets to Dubai Sound City, I honestly thought like many of us would that it was a wind up, surely no one wins flights, accommodation AND VIP tickets to a festival, let alone one in Dubai?!

Click here to see Liz's photos from Dubai.

Fortunately for us we were proved wrong and one week later on Wednesday 4th November we were on a 5* airline flight to one of the hottest places in the world, unbelievably excited and not quite knowing what to expect as this was the 1st festival of its kind in Dubai. When we arrived in Dubai it was near midnight but the temperature just blew us away it was 25°C, we were excited for the days ahead of us.


When we arrived at the festival site a couple of hours after it had opened, we thought we’d come a day too early, there was approximately a total of 15 people hanging around the area where the crowd should be who were making the most of it by enjoying themselves and dancing as the first few bands were performing, I have to say I did feel very sorry for them especially The Sound of Guns who played a good set and would have got a crowd pumping. The crew were still setting up and the vast amount of bar stands were completely empty, we did have to question why no one had turned up!!! After having a word with a few people we quickly realised why it was so empty; in Dubai their weekend starts a day earlier then ours so everyone was still at work, people only started filtering in about 5-6ish and by 8 the atmosphere had improved 100% and we were now at a gig.

The weird thing was even though we were in Dubai the venue could have been picked up from England and transported to Dubai, everyone was English, with the vast majority being ex-pats plus all the bands were English so it didn’t really feel like a foreign festival apart from the heat and no messy antics, this was mainly down to the fact that a pint approximately cost £5.50 each and most of the crowd were middle aged responsible people with good jobs, it seemed! One of our highlights of the night was the Futureheads “This is a brand new problem, a problem with out any clues”…there was no need for clues when we witnessed the Futureheads. What we got is what we expected, a crazy set of hardcore rock and roll, great fun and got everyone jumping. The Doves followed and kept the crowd pumping. Aslan were also refreshing after thinking I'd never heard of them but quite a few tunes rang a bell.


After Thursday's quiet crowd we decided to enjoy the Dubai sun down by the beach and headed to the Irish Village later on. This time you could clearly see and feel the difference to Thursday’s atmosphere, this was much better and made it feel like the festival we had hoped. Unfortunately, even though there was a good atmosphere there were a few downers, such as No De-La-Soul, therefore everyone was hanging around with no acts on stage. On the plus side, for her age Gabriella Cilmi pulled it out the bag and could of possibly been my favourite of the weekend. From the fantastic bass guitarist to the pumping drums and the beautiful Gabriella we received a fantastic live band that didn’t take long for the catchy tunes to take hold and for you to sing along to. We also liked The Automatic. The Happy Mondays were the band I was looking forward to the most but unfortunately NO BEZ! Shaun Ryder seemed to be holding back quite a bit during his performance but that most probably was down to the lack of certain substances during his stay in Dubai. Despite this they were one great band and combined with one packed Irish village made it a night to remember.


After a couple of nights at the Irish Village and after talking to a few English people who live and work in UAE who expected the Irish to be empty on Saturday (as it’s there Sunday night) we thought we’d venture over the 360 bar over the other end of Dubai, yes it was quite a taxi journey away but completely and utterly worth it (especially after we heard Echo and the Bunnymen were also a no show at the Irish). In our opinion this is the most beautiful part of Dubai, with the white sands, warm sea and views which take your breath away. 360 lived up to its reputation as one of the best night spots in the world, with it’s unbelievable views of the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel made this top of our list and couldn’t stop grinning until we left….amazing! Just to top things off Victor Simonelli played some dirty funky house which finished off the weekend perfectly.

Click here to see Liz's photos from Dubai.

We just want to say a huge thank you to Virtual Festivals, Carly Crowder and Tammy Tanawi for this absolutely amazing opportunity to see the beautiful city of Dubai and experience the hottest winter festival around, it has truly inspired us to go back and experience the whole thing again.

By Liz Green.

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icegirl wrote on Tuesday 17 November :

we saw Sound Of Guns play on a foating stage in the marina, awsome! Wave machines were amazing too, thats the band not actual wave machines xxx

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