The largest festival of arts and culture in the Gulf sees the UAE ‘Pledge for Culture’ during 27 days of performances, exhibitions, concerts and workshops featuring over 200 Emirati and 235 International artists
Abu Dhabi Festival celebrates another successful edition as family-friendly ‘Festival in The Park’ brings 2016 to a close
Spanning 27 days and seven Emirates with over 70 public, community and educational initiatives, the 2016 edition of the annual Abu Dhabi Festival drew to a close this weekend with the family-friendly event ‘Festival In The Park’. Welcoming people from across the UAE, the two-day event Um Al Emarat Park presented performances by local musicians including SAMA Quartet, Mohammed Al Awadi, Hamad Al Taee and Eman Al Hashimi as well as a series of puppet and arts workshops for children.
In an event enjoyed by young and old, people also had the chance to post a ‘pledge’ on the Abu Dhabi Festival’s ‘Pledge For Culture Tree’. Designed to allow people to write and hang their pledges, the tree formed part of a broader Festival theme that has encouraged the UAE to celebrate the importance of culture.
Commenting on the success of this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Festival said: “As we bring to a close another highly successful edition of the Festival, I can’t help but reflect on how far we have come. This particular edition has been very special for me as we are also celebrating 20 years since the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. As one of our most popular and far-reaching initiatives, it is really humbling to see just how far the Abu Dhabi Festival has come. As we look ahead to the future, it is important that we recognise the importance of culture in society. As such, it has been very enjoyable to watch the UAE come together and pledge for culture during the Festival’s numerous events. As ADMAF considers its next 20 years, it is our pledge to continue shining a spotlight on the creativity of the UAE.”
Continuing the Festival’s tradition of welcoming globally renowned names to Abu Dhabi, the Festival took its ‘Pledge for Culture’ theme to a global level by welcoming pledges from international figures including the pianist Lang Lang, composers Nick Lloyd Webber and James D Reid, and virtuoso violinist Sergey Khachatryan. With a rapturous headline programme which this year saw France celebrated as the Festival’s ‘Country of Honour’, performances included an evocative recital by French singers Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri, an electrifying recital by world renowned pianist Lang Lang, two sublime concerts by Orchestre De Paris led by acclaimed conductor Paavo Järvi, a spectacular interpretation by Nick Lloyd Webber and James D Reid of the much treasured tale The Little Prince featuring Hugh Grant as the narrator, and a powerful ballet production by the charismatic Cuban ballet star, Carlos Acosta. The popular ‘Festival Recital Series’ also returned for a second year bringing the Festival’s headline programme to a close with explosive jazz recitals by the young piano prodigy Joey Alexander, and the Grammy-nominated Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez.
Visiting all corners of the UAE, popular events and initiatives open to the public at this year’s Festival included Riwaq Al Kitab,which saw the launch of six new Arabic books by renowned Emirati authors; Picture This Exhibition showcasing the artworks of children with autism at The Galleria; an explosive educational event in the form of Ministry of Science Live!; a special screening and panel discussion with the writer/director and producer of the Oscar-nominated film Theeb; and a special stage adaption of Tawfiq Al Hakim’s The Bullet, among others.
Amid a programme of exclusives initiatives for schools and nurseries, Abu Dhabi Festival this year also presented special events including the Arabic Storytelling Tour at nurseries throughout the UAE; Art Adventures for children at various orphanages across the UAE; the annual Back To School initiative which once again saw headline performers Lang Lang, Joey Alexander and Carlos Acosta host masterclasses with young Abu Dhabi talent; and the annual Festival In Focus, which invited school groups to go behind the scenes of the various Abu Dhabi Festival headline productions.
The Abu Dhabi Festival took place across the UAE, from 3-30 April, 2016. The Abu Dhabi Festival is presented and organised by Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. ADMAF is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to nurture the arts, education, culture and creativity for the benefit of society and advancement of Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision. For further information on Abu Dhabi Festival 2016 tickets, schedules, venues and performances please visit the Festival website www.abudhabifestival.ae. Abu Dhabi Festival can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (ADFestival). View an interactive version of ADMAF’s special 20th anniversary publication and film admaf20.com.