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Dubai Jazz Festival vs. WOMAD

As the last nails are being hammered into the amphitheatre outside Kipp’s office, we compare the much loved Dubai Jazz Festival with the relatively young WOMAD Abu Dhabi.

 

Kipp enjoys good music as much as the next music loving business website, and when we hear about this fantastic music festival going on in the city, we make a mental note to attend. But because we spend so much of our energy writing up stories, it is hard to make time for anything outside the usual grind [watch it – Ed]. So the fact that WOMAD Abu Dhabi is just a mere weekend long (April 7th to 9th) is a little off-putting (just like the thought of having to drive down to Abu Dhabi, come to think of it).

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In contrast, the Dubai Jazz festival spans nearly a month. There is Jazz World at The Walk, JBR, from Jan 20-28, Jazz Garden from Feb 8-15 and Main Gigs at Dubai Media City from Feb 16-18. Because we love to know that we can still catch a show or two if we get swamped with Kipping, Dubai Jazz Festival gets our point for this one.

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WOMAD Abu Dhabi is a free event for all. Need poor old Kipp say anymore? [watch it – Ed]

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When it comes to the Dubai Jazz Festival, if you are smart about it you could catch a good number of shows without breaking the bank. If you attended Jazz World, you’d be able to catch all the shows free of charge, and if you had been wise enough to register online for the Jazz Gardens (a while back, it is deactivated now) you could have gotten in for free. But if it’s the international names like Macy Gray and Lifehouse you are after, you need to shell out Dh300 at the very minimum.

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WOMAD markets itself as an event for the family. In fact it offers special workshops for children during which the kids can make costumes, headdresses, instruments and other such things. Because we appreciate how difficult it can be to have a night out when you have kids, WOMAD Abu Dhabi gets our point.

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We are a bit divided on this one: while you could take your kids to see some of the acts at the festival, unless your child is one of the rare younglings that has an ear for jazz, chances are the kids will either end up bored or sleeping.

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WOMAD Abu Dhabi will take place at two locations: the stunning Abu Dhabi Corniche and the Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain. We can’t think of a single nasty thing to say of both of them, other than they are all the way out in Abu Dhabi. Though we enjoy long rides, we aren’t particularly fond of the thought of spending our weekend on the road.

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Quite similarly, the Dubai Jazz Festival will take place at two locations: The Walk, at JBR and the amphitheater at Dubai Media City. Beautiful locations and very close to Kipp (yes we are being insanely subjective, we know. But that’s what we do).

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LINE UP
 

Though the line up for WOMAD Abu Dhabi 2011 has not been released as of yet, judging by the line up of WOMAD Abu Dhabi 2010, the event will play host to a number of World Music acts, although to many of you they will seem relatively unknown. Last year, the musical acts included Babylon Circus from France, !Gubi Family from Namibia, Hanggai from China and Musafir Gypsies of Rajasthan from India. The ethnomusicologist in Kipp approves.

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The Dubai Jazz Festival also plays host to relatively unknown musical acts (which might just Kipp’s ignorance shining through), but also features some big names like Macy Gray, Lifehouse and Train. What we especially like about the festival is that it provides an opportunity for local jazz musicians to showcase their music. For supporting the local jazz scene, DJZ gets a point too.

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As with everything in this country, the longer an event has been established, the better its name, the organization, the performing acts and the hype surrounding the event. Though WOMAD Abu Dhabi is piggybacking off the established name of the first ever WOMAD held in the UK in 1982, it has been up running in the capital only since 2009.Still has a long way to go to become a household name, thinks Kipp.

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When the Dubai Jazz Festival started in 2003, it attracted under 8,000 fans—but by the time festival had reached its eighth installment, it had attracted more than 42,000 fans throughout the 17 nights it was on. Now that is growth for you. The Dubai Jazz Festival is an established event in the country, something people look forward to at the start of the year. And because it only takes time (and a lot of effort) to reach such a status, we vote for DJF for this one.

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Timing
 

Some say timing is everything; and when it comes to the humid and hot weather of the Emirates, Kipp couldn’t agree more. While the April months aren’t too unbearable, its dangerously far from the pleasant winter months.

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Late Jan to early Feb – could there be a better time to hold an outdoor music festival in Dubai? Not only are temperatures decent, but coinciding with the DSF will help it to attract more fans.

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