The Middle East has become a hub for some of the world’s most significant music events, drawing in hundreds of thousands of fans to witness performances by both global and local artists. Covering genres from dance music to grime, and everything in between, here are the top music festivals in the Middle East that you should keep an eye on.
Best Music Festivals In The Middle East:
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1. MDLBEAST Soundstorm, Riyadh
In 2019, Saudi Arabia held its first MDLBEAST Soundstorm festival. It lasted for three days and had over 150 of the biggest EDM artists performing. More than 450,000 people came to enjoy the music. Since then, MDLBEAST has become a huge music festival, featuring famous artists like David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren and Tiësto. They were joined by many new and talented artists from the region.
After a break due to Covid, the festival came back in December 2021 and is now an important yearly event in Saudi Arabia. It happens on the sands of Banban, near Riyadh, and has seven stages. Over 600,000 music fans attend, making it one of the world’s biggest music festivals. MDLBEAST will happen again from December 14 to 17, and we’ll soon know all the artists performing.
Official website: https://mdlbeast.com/events/soundstorm-2023
2. Elrow XXL, Dubai
Known for its vibrant and quirky inflatable parties, Elrow has become a well-known name in the world of dance music. It all began in Barcelona, and now it’s considered a significant part of the dance music scene. In 2023, Elrow expanded its horizons by organizing its first event in the Middle East. They built a special arena in D3 for a two-day festival. This event, called Elrow XXL, featured headline performances by artists like Armand Van Helden. The festival attracted approximately 10,000 fans of house and techno music. Although the specific dates for the next event haven’t been announced yet, Elrow has promised to return for another round in 2024.
Official website: https://www.elrowdubai.com/
3. Yasalam After-Race Concerts, Abu Dhabi
The concerts that happen in the open air after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have become almost as popular as the race itself, which marks the end of the season. After the race is over, Abu Dhabi transforms into a music venue for four nights at Etihad Park. Over the years, big-name artists like Rihanna, Jay-Z and The Weeknd, have headlined these concerts.
For the 2023 edition, the Foo Fighters will be the main performers on the race day concert, happening on Sunday, November 26. The opening night, which is on Thursday, November 23, will feature performances by Tiesto and Ava Max. There are still two more acts to be announced for the lineup.
IMPORTANT: It’s important to note that only those who have tickets for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be able to attend these concerts.
Official website: https://www.yasmarinacircuit.com/en/formula1/yasalam-after-race-concerts
4. Wireless, Abu Dhabi
For those who love hip-hop, and afrobeats music, there’s no festival quite as big as Wireless. Since 2005, it has been bringing the biggest names in these genres to London. With past headliners like Cardi B, Drake, Jay-Z, and A$AP Rocky, it’s like a hall of fame for music. So, when Wireless announced its first-ever Middle East edition, held in Abu Dhabi in March 2023, there was a lot of excitement.
The festival took place on Yas Island’s Etihad Park and attracted thousands of fans. Although there aren’t any specific details about the next event yet, the festival’s social media pages have promised its return for 2024.
Official website: https://www.livenation.me/festival/wireless-festival-middle-east-tickets
5. Untold, Dubai
In 2015, Untold festival launched at Romania’s Cluj Arena, and it brought some of the biggest names in dance music along with 240,000 music fans. Since then, it has returned every year without any Covid-related disruptions, making it one of the largest festivals in Europe. And now, there’s big news. Armin van Buuren, speaking from a DJ set on a balcony halfway up the Burj Khalifa, announced that Untold will be coming to the Middle East for the first time in 2024.
The festival will take place in February at Expo City, and while the complete lineup hasn’t been revealed yet, Armin van Buuren will be one of the headline performers. Considering the festival’s impressive track record, you can anticipate a lineup that can rival the likes of MDLBEAST. Ticket registration is already open, so music enthusiasts can secure their spots for this exciting event.
Official website: https://untold.ae/
6. Sole DXB, Dubai
What began as a meetup for streetwear enthusiasts to showcase their coolest sneakers has transformed into a much-loved event on Dubai’s social calendar. This gathering attracts large crowds from diverse backgrounds. Each December, Dubai’s D3 area transforms into Sole DXB for three days and nights of fashion and music. The event features performances and installations by some of the world’s most renowned names. Notable past performers include Wu-Tang Clan and Nas.
Beyond live music and DJ sets, attendees can enjoy film screenings, speaker sessions, workshops, sneakers, food, drinks, and street art. This year’s edition is scheduled from Friday, December 8, to Sunday, December 10. Sole DXB has grown to offer an exciting blend of culture, music, and style, making it a highly anticipated and dynamic event in Dubai.
Official website: https://sole.digital/