Introducing Dubai’s lesser-known cultural festivals
Dubai has some of the coolest festivals on the planet. Everyone knows our world-famous events such as the World Cup, Dubai Food Festival and Dubai Film Festival, but there are also plenty of chic, offbeat offerings. Shape your visit around these must-do events coming up over the next few months.
This biannual fashion week-style event brings a stamp of professionalism and credibility to the local fashion industry since launching in 2013. Now in its sixth edition, the event (at Madinat Jumeirah) features runway shows from established and upcoming regional designers, across the verticals of couture, ready-to-wear, and accessory design. A valued networking platform, the four-day fashion fest features designer presentations and seminars. D3 (Dubai Design District) is a strategic partner of the event.
October 22- 25, 2015
Dubai Design Week
As Dubai Design District’s flagship event, expect everything from product and graphic design to architecture and interiors, celebrated with exhibitions from international design students, workshops and lectures, plus installations dotted all around the city. Downtown Design, an interiors industry fair (October 27-30) is also a part of Dubai Design Week.
October 26-31, 2015
Arab Fashion Week
Supported by the Arab Fashion Council, the inaugural event in 2015 showcases designers from across the region (22 countries included in the Arab League), as well as leading international labels. With ambitions of joining the panel of elite international fashion weeks, the four-day event is focused on luxury ready-to-wear collections. A fashion exhibition takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre alongside the runway shows.
November 1- 4, 2015
Dubai Bake Festival
This year marks the first festival to focus on baking. Held at Green Park in Dubai Investments Park (towards the Jebel Ali end of town) this community event will offer visitors the chance to sample and buy baking tools, partake in bakery workshops and, naturally, sample a delicious array of baked goods.
November 20-21, 2015
The first animation film festival in the GGC is to be held this December at Dubai Design District. The four-day festival aims to showcase local talent while giving them a platform to engage with international industry leaders. Being organised by Animation Chamber, the event line-up includes film screenings (for which submissions are now open), workshops, a film market, plus live animation installations and live cultural performances.
December 3-5, 2015
Street Nights DXB
The waterfront promenade of Jumeirah Beach Residence, bursting with restaurants, cafes and shops, becomes even more alive with this urban street festival (part of the Dubai Food Festival). Live music, DJ tunes, street art, home-grown food concepts and markets come together to make for a vibe that is young, trendy, community focused, and very local.
Date to be confirmed
Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz festival
This three-day music fest sees not only leading jazz musicians from around the world grace the stage, but also A-list mainstream artists. Jazz Festival alumni include the likes of John Legend, James Blunt and Sting. Held every February, this open-air event offers a lively atmosphere perfect for some family fun in our city.
February 24-26, 2016
Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
This is the foremost literary event in the region, with renowned writers in attendance. The programme includes readings, book signings, workshops and panel discussions with both fiction and non-fiction authors. A fixture on Dubai’s calendar every March, and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the festival comprises literary competitions and special events for students as well as demonstrations by cookbook authors and literary-themed dinners.
March 8- 12, 2016
Design Days Dubai
The best in the world of furniture and product design, from galleries to design houses, descend on Downtown Dubai for this five-day festival. The programme includes workshops, educational talks, design-related film screenings and tours, making this a must-visit for any aesthete.
March 14- 18, 2016
Sikka Art Fair
Held on the fringes of Art Dubai, this festival highlights our local artists. The 10-day event takes place in the atmospheric Al Fahidi Historical District, which comes to life with specially commissioned installations, exhibitions, and music performances. For art-loving visitors, there are also cultural walks, artist talks and educational activities on offer.
March 14- 24, 2016
Middle East Film & Comic Con
The local edition of this pop culture event, usually held in April every year, features cosplay, quizzes, games and competitions, plus film screenings. Hollywood stars make an appearance at the convention, too, which sees the region’s lovers of urban culture and the comic arts turn out in large numbers.
April 7- 9, 2016