Top 20 Must-Do Events in 2014

From musical legends in concert to international sporting events and acclaimed arts festivals, put these dates in your diary fast!
BySarah SwainWednesday , 01 January 2014
Olly’s going to be a Mursing!
© 2013 Getty Images
Olly’s going to be a Mursing!
Rafael Nadal gears up for some on-court action
© 2013 Getty Images
Rafael Nadal gears up for some on-court action
Mick and the gang aren’t your typical septuagenarians
© 2013 Getty Images
Mick and the gang aren’t your typical septuagenarians
We heart Richard and Judy
© 2011 Getty Images
We heart Richard and Judy
Gizzi gets busy in the kitchen
© ITP Images
Gizzi gets busy in the kitchen

Dubai Jazz Festival
Thu 13-Thu 20 Feb
This year’s event boasts a stellar line-up. British X Factor finalist Olly Murs will team up with heartthrobs The Wanted for a show on Valentine’s Day (that’s our date plans sorted), while Mr Sophie Dahl, Jamie Cullum, will play alongside American singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat on 19 Jan. Latin legend Santana closes the event on 20 Feb.
INFO: Dhs350 (regular), Dhs550 (middle), Dhs750 (front), Dhs995 (VIP, includes unlimited grape and hops-based beverages). Performances run from 6pm each evening at Festival Park, Dubai Festival City, dubaijazzfest.com

MiXTAPE Rewind
Fri 17 Jan
Take Snap!’s Rhythm is a Dancer, It’s My Life by Dr Alban and N-Trance’s Set You Free and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a Nineties night out! We’re not sure where Daddy Cool disco act Boney M fit in, but we’ll happily have an extra helping of cheese!
INFO: Dhs295, 6pm, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, 04 457 0336, www.facebook.com/SundanceLIVE, www.timeouttickets.com 

Texas
Thu 23 Jan
The Scottish rock band will mark their 25th anniversary with their first ever UAE gig. Expect to hear all the hits, including I Don’t Want a Lover.
INFO: Dhs175, 9pm, The Irish Village, Dubai, 800 4669, www.timeouttickets.com

Red Fest DXB
Thu 13-Fri 14 Feb
Virgin Radio Dubai is hosting its own festival! Station bosses hope to create a Glastonbury-style atmosphere at the two-day Dubai Media City event, which will kick off with American pop queen Ke$ha, British hotshot Conor Maynard and a DJ set by JLS’ Marvin Humes. The next day will see American folk-rock band The Lumineers, producer Naughty Boy and British Love Me Again singer John Newman take to the stage, and the curtain will come down with a DJ set from Mark Ronson and Zane Lowe, aka A-Yo.
INFO: Dhs299 (day ticket), Dhs449 (weekend ticket), Dhs1,399 (VIP day ticket), Dhs2,099 (VIP weekend ticket), Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, 800 4669, www.virginradiodubai.com/redfestdxb

Gourmet Abu Dhabi
Tue 4-Wed 19 Feb
The sixth annual celebration of all things edible will be stuffed with Michelin-starred chefs, such as George Calombaris, who’ll be showing off their skills all over the capital.
INFO: Ticket details will be announced at the end of Jan, www.gourmetabudhabi.com

The Rolling Stones 
Fri 21 Feb
The Rolling Stones are sure to give rockers some satisfaction when they come over for their first UAE gig. The veteran band, made up of Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, will be joined by former member Mick Taylor for the show, part of their aptly named 14 On Fire tour. It’s set to be one of the hottest gigs of the year.
INFO: From Dhs395, 21 Feb 2014, du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ticketmaster.ae

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Mon 17 Feb-Sat 1 March
The stars taking part have yet to be announced, but we expect Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitová to defend their titles at the UAE’s top tennis event. Women will serve up the action for the first five days of the event, before the men take to the court from 24 Feb.
INFO: Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, prices to be confirmed, www.dubaidutyfreetennis championships.com

Eric Clapton
Thu 6 Mar
Air guitars at the ready! Seventeen-time Grammy winner Eric Clapton will fly into Dubai to show just how he’s managed to notch up 50 years in the business. Expect to hear a stream of hits including Layla and Tears in Heaven at the concert, which is being held in collaboration with Hard Rock Café – Clapton was one of the first musicians to donate one of his old instruments to the rock-themed restaurant chain.
INFO: Dhs350 (regular), Dhs600 (front pit), Dhs1,450 (VIP), Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, 800 4669, www.timeouttickets.com

Art Dubai
Wed 19-Sat 22 Mar 
Culture vultures will love browsing at this arty fair, which last year welcomed 25,000 visitors and hosted 75 galleries from 30 countries. You’re bound to find a picture you’d like to own; whether you’ll be able to afford it is another thing.
INFO: Madinat Jumeirah, check www.artdubai.ae for schedule and ticket details

Dubai World Cup
Sat 29 Mar
And they’re off! Some of the world’s fastest horses (and most stylish women) will gallop to Meydan Racecourse for this highlight of the UAE’s social calendar. It’s the most lucrative horse race on the planet, with the winner set to scoop a whopping Dhs37 million. Giddy-up!
INFO: Free (general admission), other packages available and yet to be announced, 04 327 0077, www.dubaiworldcup.com

Sandance
Dates throughout 2014
It’s become one of the UAE’s must-do party nights, and Sandance bosses are planning another host of big names for the New Year. Stars who hit the beach in 2013 included Stereophonics, Florence + The Machine and house music maestro Frankie Knuckles. Next year’s line-up is still being finalised, but organisers hope to have everyone partying on the sand at least six times.
INFO: www.sandance.ae

Festival of literature
Tue 4-Sat 8 Mar
Bookworms will rejoice at the line-up for this festival, which will see everybody from Chocolat author Joanne Harris to ballerina-turned- children’s-author Darcey Bussell fly in. British expats will be excited to hear chat-show couple Richard and Judy are also making an appearance, to promote both their novels! 
INFO: Tickets go on sale on 20 Jan, www.emirateslitfest.com

Taste of Dubai
Thu 13-Fri 14 Mar
Gobble up the goodies at this foodie favourite. Expect visits from celebrity chefs – Gizzi Erskine and Gary Rhodes came last year – as well as a chance to sample some of the tastiest nosh the emirate has to offer.
INFO: Prices to be confirmed, tickets go on sale on 23 Jan, Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.tasteofdubaifestival.com

Middle East Film & Comic Con
Thu 3-Sat 5 Apr
Calling all comic geeks! This celebration of sci-fi and superheroes is back – and it’s bigger than ever! Counterculture celebs lined up so far include former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy and Seth Green, the voice of Chris on Family Guy. Last year, the swoonsome Mr Fantastic, Ioan Gruffudd, and Harry Potter star Warwick Davis were among the speakers.
INFO: www.facebook.com/mefcc

Emirates Gulf Film Festival & Dubai International Film Festival 
Wed 9-Tue 15 Apr and Sun 14-Sun 21 Dec
Gulf Film Festival, which celebrates movies from across the region, will be back for 2014, as will the more globally focused Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Celebs involved in the latter have included Cate Blanchett and Tom Cruise, so expect an equally starry line-up this time. Most screenings are open to the public, so don’t miss your chance to see loads of hot new flicks.
INFO: www.dubaifilmfest.com, www.gulffilmfest.com

Fashion Forward
Thu 10-Sun 13 Apr
This celebration of Middle Eastern designers went down a storm in 2013, and it’s returning for its third season this spring. Though largely aimed at industry professionals, local fashionistas, including students, can also get in on the buzz when it takes over Madinat Jumeirah.
INFO: www.fashionforward.ae

Black Sabbath
Thu 29 May
Squeeze into your leathers, people – Ozzy Osbourne’s heading to Abu Dhabi! Before his family’s fortunes became a staple of MTV, Ozzy fronted one of the best loved rock acts in history, pioneering the heavy metal genre. Music doesn’t get much darker than this!
INFO: From Dhs295, du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi 800 86 823, www.ticketmaster.ae

Dubai Music Week
17-20 Sep
Combining concerts with music industry talks, this innovative festival brought pop princess Selena Gomez, rapper Timbaland and The Voice star Will.i.am to Dubai back in September, along with legendary producer Quincy Jones. We’re expecting the second line-up to top that.
INFO: Dubai World Trade Centre, www.dubaimusicweek.com

Rugby Sevens
Wed 3-Fri 5 Dec (to be confirmed)
It’s not so much about the rugby as the partying at this annual sports event. Revellers don fancy dress to head to the purpose-built Sevens Stadium and watch various teams battle it out on the pitch. Fiji will be defending their title in the IRB World Series, while teams made up of women, amateurs and former pros will also play.
INFO: Prices to be confirmed, 04 809 6605, www.dubairugby7s.com

Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix
Sun 26 Oct 
Sport will meet music at one of the swankiest events of the year. While the F1 cars are roaring around the track, du Arena will be filled with sounds from some of the world’s biggest bands – they’ll be announced nearer the time. The race is pencilled in for an earlier than usual date of 26 October, so you’d better burn rubber to get that yacht berth booked.
INFO: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, 800 YAS (927) or 02 659 9800, www.yasmarinacircuit.com