Back in 2019, Ultra Music Festival made headlines by announcing the first ever Ultra Abu Dhabi would take place in 2020. Those who've been to previous Ultra events will know just what it is about this festival that causes people to return year after year, but for those who've not been, why should you pick Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 as your next festival destination?
When is Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020?
Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 will take place on March 5-6, which is probably the best time to visit the region. Most people recommend traveling to Abu Dhabi between November to March, as the temperatures are moderate (ranging between 18-29°C on average), so it's not too hot or humid.
Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai
Dubai has long been recognised as the tourist hub of the Middle East, but it's rival state is quickly catching up. As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is home to plenty of its own landmarks, including the Etihad Towers, the Emirates Palace and the stunning Grand Mosque. Popular activities for tourists include taking boat tours and sunset cruises, hurtling over sand dunes on a desert safari, or soaking in some culture at the brand-new Louvre— opened in 2017.
1. The Venue
The first ever installment of Ultra Abu Dhabi will be at the spectacular du Arena. With a capacity of 35,000 people, this enormous venue is part of the Ferrari World complex and is currently the largest open-air arena in the entire Middle East. Since its opening in 2009, the du Arena has been the setting for concerts by Madonna, Rihanna, Coldplay, Kanye West and many more world-class acts.
2. The Surrounding Area
The rest of the Ferrari World complex includes the world's only Ferrari-branded theme park, featuring the fastest roller coaster on the planet: the Formula Rossa (racing past at an eye-watering 128 mph). In 2019, the park was named as the World's Leading Theme Park at the 2019 World Travel Awards, beating tough competition from Disneyland Paris/Shanghai as well as the numerous parks in Florida. When you're taking a break from the festival, why not take part in the Driving Experience, where you can drive around Yas Island in style from behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
The rest of Yas Island is filled with activities perfect for thrill-seekers, including a multitude of theme parks and water parks. Besides the Ferrari driving, you can also take a trip to the Yas Mall, or the Yas Marina Circuit which is home to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. What makes this attraction all the more worthwhile is that they have options to rent one of the cars to race around the actual track—definitely one to feature on your UAE bucket list! Stretching over the track is the architectural masterpiece that is the W Hotel, which has been chosen as the partner hotel for the festival.
3. Despite What You Might Think, Alcohol Will be Served
We all know that music festivals and drinking go hand in hand, so for many festivalgoers the United Arab Emirates' strict laws surrounding alcohol consumption would be cause for concern. However, tourists are able to purchase drinks in bars and hotels, including at Ultra Abu Dhabi. Saying that, it is still strongly recommended that you familarise yourself with the local laws and customs before going to the country, just to be on the safe side.
4. Skipping Road to Ultra: Straight to a Full-Scale Show
Usually, Ultra will host an introductory "Road to Ultra" event when they first enter a new country. However, for Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 which marks their Middle East debut, the organisers have decided to skip this step and jump right into a full-scale show, meaning they have big expectations for what's in store. There's a chance that this will kick-start a trend of other large international festival brands taking advantage of this new market, so make sure you're there to witness history in the making!
5. And of Course, the Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 Lineup
As is expected at any Ultra Music Festival production, the lineup for Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020 is lined top to bottom with heavy hitters who will perform across two stages: the Ultra Mainstage and their underground brand RESISTANCE. This massive list of acts includes Afrojack, DJ Snake, The Return of Dash Berlin, Eric Prydz, Major Lazer and Zedd, representing a wide assortment of genres, such as EDM, house, techno, trance and more.