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There’s no business like the show business
Abu Dhabi entices with its weekend getaways while Dubai banks on a tried and tested formula. But is it too tried and tested, asks Precious de Leon.
March 8, 2011 5:16 by Precious de Leon
When Abu Dhabi launched Flash Entertainment in 2008, it started in full swing with the Yasalam weeklong event that it had built around the F1.
But it was hard to see what Flash had to work with beyond all the F1 fodder. And for a while this became an issue, with places like Yas Island—a supposed playground for entertainment and culture—turning into virtual ghost towns when there were no events being held there. Hotels on and around the island are forced to offer close to bargain basement room rates to attract any kind of footfall.
At the time too, Dubai was the go-to place for performers. Minders for the likes of Aerosmith and Kylie Minogue wouldn’t even dream of performing anywhere else in the GCC but Dubai.
Three years on, and although it hasn’t been a complete turnaround, Abu Dhabi has made impressive headway around its calendar of events.
They know most of the concertgoers are about a four-hour journey away to and from Dubai and that Dubai has become part of a global pop culture psyche, more known around the world than the capital itself.
So what did they do? Well, what any city with a lot pocket change would do: throw money at the situation. It’s not that hard for Kipp to believe that there have been instances where a couple of extra zeros have been added to artists’ paychecks in the capital, compared to any recent Dubai bids.