The third edition of the Dubai Metro Music Festival came to a successful close last night after a week-long celebration of global music that saw five metro stations in Dubai transformed into stages for live musical performances. The Festival was organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The Dubai Metro Music Festival was held from 6-12 March across five Dubai Metro Stations: Union, Mall of Emirates, Burjuman, Dubai Financial Centre, and Sobha Realty. More than 800,000 commuters who visited the five metro stations over the week-long festival were treated to captivating musical performances by 20 local, regional, and international musicians representing unique sparks of creative talent in a wide range of instruments, genres, and styles.
The Festival garnered extensive media coverage with 750 local and international news reports highlighting its activities. In addition, more than 1,000 social media posts related to the Festival witnessed significant online engagement, with a combined reach of more than 136 million followers across various social media platforms.
From traditional to experimental musicians, classical instrumentalists to fusion musicians, the Festival featured a mix of artists from Egypt, India, France, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Cuba, the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Canada, Netherlands, Jordan, and Australia, besides the UAE.
This year’s Festival was dedicated to the theme of sustainability in line with the UAE’s announcement of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’. As part of the festival, several musicians showcased their talents using instruments made from recycled materials, adding a distinctive touch to their performances. This creative approach helped raise awareness about sustainability and highlighted the importance of using eco-friendly materials.
The festival is aligned with the RTA’s vision to become a global leader in seamless and sustainable mobility. Rowdah Al Mehrizi, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication Department at RTA, confirmed that this year’s festival successfully achieved its goals of raising awareness about environmental protection and promoting ways to preserve natural resources.
She highlighted that the festival played a significant role in spreading awareness and encouraging community engagement. The Dubai Metro stations that hosted the festival transformed into lively hubs of art and music, attracting a considerable turnout throughout the week. Residents and visitors interacted with the activities with great enthusiasm and joy.
Al Mehrizi said: “At RTA, we aim to provide a unique experience for riding the Dubai Metro. The Festival’s interactive and contemporary approach helped draw attention to sustainability issues in a unique way thanks to the popularity of the Dubai Metro.” She noted that the number of
Dubai Metro users reached 225.1 million in 2022, making up the largest proportion of mass transit, shared transportation, and taxi users in Dubai, at 36% compared to 33% in 2021.
Shaima Al Suwaidi, Director of Brand Dubai, said: “As a platform for exceptional creative talent from around the globe, the Dubai Metro Music Festival highlights the richness of Dubai’s creative dynamism. The success of the Festival is a testament to Dubai’s vibrant arts and cultural diversity and its position as a leading global cultural hub. It is an honour to orchestrate the convergence of brilliant musicians that led to the transformation of Dubai’s public spaces into immersive art experiences that delight and inspire residents and visitors alike.
“Brand Dubai is proud to have been a part of this exciting initiative, which has not only provided a platform for talented artists to showcase their creativity but has also reinforced Dubai’s image as a city that values and celebrates art and culture. Through such initiatives, Brand Dubai will continue to showcase the city’s growing stature as a cultural hub and a melting pot of diverse artistic expressions.”
On behalf of Brand Dubai, Al Suwaidi expressed their gratitude to the RTA and all the performers, partners, and audiences who made the Festival a great success. “We are delighted with the success of the third edition of the Dubai Metro Music Festival and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the RTA, our talented performers, dedicated partners, and the enthusiastic audiences who made this event such a resounding success,” said Al Suwaidi.
The Dubai Metro Music Festival was a key event highlighted in the latest #DubaiDestinations campaign, which invited residents and visitors to explore Dubai’s diverse art and cultural experiences during the #DubaiArtSeason. The Festival showcased Dubai’s cosmopolitan spirit and creative vibrance and contributed to the city’s vision of becoming one of the world’s best cities to live and visit.
An eclectic set of artists
The Festival featured a variety of instruments, including the Qanun, piano, flute, oud, drums, saxophone, Santur, guitar, harmonica, electric guitar, hand pans, and homemade instruments. The
public was able to watch the live performances from 4 pm to 10 pm every day, with all the performances rotated across the duration of the festival to cover all five metro stations.
Among the international artists that enthralled Dubai Metro commuters with their performances during the third edition of the Festival was Divyansh Kacholia, India’s first folk beatboxer, who wowed the audience with his amazing beatboxing skills. British singer/saxophonist & songwriter Kerrie Stirling demonstrated her drive, energy, professionalism, and versatile repertoire, delivering 5-star performances for commuters.
Faraz Ahmad, a Pakistani flautist and music producer, captivated Dubai Metro commuters with his enchanting flute performances. Sagar Patil, a music composer, multi-instrumentalist, and professional HandPan player from India, charmed the audience with his captivating solo percussion performances. Dutch musician, composer, performer, online educator, and university lecturer Boris Mogilevski delighted Dubai commuters with his outstanding ukulele skills.
Cuban Ernesto Vidal, a professional drummer, percussionist, and singer, fascinated the audience with various genres, from gospel to rock, polka, jazz, Arab styles, and ballads. John Buttigieg, a guitarist hailing from Far North Queensland who discovered his passion for playing the guitar at the age of 10, challenged himself by playing both his 6-string and 12-string guitar simultaneously during his performances. A professional harmonica player from Jordan, Radi Saiqalli mesmerised audiences with his unique compositions blending harmonica and beatbox.
Alesya Kudina, a multifaceted artist, pianist, composer, DJ and producer, used different keyboards, analogue and midi sounds during her live performances to create new versions of known tracks with additional soft vocals. Anetta Morozova, a creative multi-instrumentalist and world ambassador of Gaia Meditation with deep classical and jazz background, fascinated Dubai commuters with her never-before-seen technique of vertical flute playing, which she claims to have invented as a teenager.
Lara Zaid, a poet and musician from Iraq and Canada, captivated Dubai commuters by playing the Qanun. She was the youngest member of the Firdaus Orchestra, the official orchestra of Expo 2020 Dubai. Marcel Ghrayeb, a Lebanese music performer and composer, brought a taste
of an electro-oriented mood to the Metro stations by playing the Santur, an ancient instrument, in his distinct style.
DJ Michelle, the youngest DJ in the Middle East, enchanted commuters with her impressive turntable skills and high-energy beats. As a child turntable celebrity and top entertainment influencer, Michelle has become a social media sensation with a community of over 500K followers and has performed on big stages and festivals worldwide, representing UAE at the world championships.
The Dubai Metro Music Festival is an annual event in Dubai that brings together musicians from different countries and genres to perform at various metro stations across the city. The Festival has gained immense popularity among Dubai residents and tourists. The Dubai Metro Music Festival aims to promote music and cultural exchange, as well as to showcase the talents of local and international musicians. The Festival provides a unique platform for musicians to reach out to a diverse audience and for commuters to enjoy live music during their daily commute.
The Festival also supports Dubai’s vision of becoming a global cultural hub, as it brings together musicians and music enthusiasts from around the world. It serves as an opportunity for people to experience different musical styles and traditions, and to learn about different cultures through music. The Festival is an important event in Dubai’s rich cultural calendar for promoting cultural exchange and supporting the development of the music industry. It is also a fun and unique experience for the city’s residents and visitors to enjoy live music performances in a novel setting.