Dubai, UAE (April 8th, 2019): WASLA, the ultimate Arabic alternative music festival, was back for its most ambitious instalment yet on Friday last, April 5th, in its new home at Burj Park in Downtown Dubai. The organising team, along with Live Nation, in partnership with Brag and in association with Emaar, and supported by strategic partner Dubai Calendar, hospitality partner Rove Hotels and automotive partner Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East, really expanded the scope of WASLA this year to deliver an event that was far more than just a music festival – it was a celebration of the very best of Arabic alternative creativity, art and culture.
Burj Park provided the perfect setting for this year’s edition, as festival-goers descended on the venue in their hordes to make the most of a full day of open-air entertainment and an extensive line-up of cultural, artistic and musical elements, powered by explosive live performances. The day proved to be a massive success and captured the hearts and minds of the thousands of people in attendance, while showcasing, supporting and developing Arabic talent through creative and performing arts.
Music fans were treated toa feast of fantastic live music performances from legendary regional bands, as the headliners threw plenty of set-list exclusives into their performances. Lebanese alt’ rock heroes, Mashrou’ Leila performed material from their latest album ‘Beirut School’, and Egyptian rock giants, Cairokee unleashed a host of new anthems on the delighted crowd. Jordanian indie trio, El Moraba3 rocked out live for the first time in six months with a new line-up, while WASLA’s other headliners 47 Soul and MassarEgbari were also on hand to aurally amaze festival-goers with spectacular live sets.
On top of an outstanding line-up of headline artists, WASLA showcased the phenomenal talents of Arabic acts like Redaround, Karrouhat, Noon, and Shaghaf, as well as the dazzling skills of the Tannoura, Dabke and Hula dancers. Fans not only experienced a musical spectacular, however, but also enjoyed an extensive selection of visual elements. Black Canvas, in partnership with Facebook, brought a Communal Art Maze to the festival, which enabled participants to paint on the walls of the fascinating labyrinth, finding new connections with others through expression and space. A giant story book at the heart of the installation enabled people to contribute to a larger story. ‘Ana Wasla’, or ‘I am connector’, scripted the narrative of a unified story.
Fans were able to find their ideal fuel for the festival by indulging in a diverse array of food options. Full of unique twists on traditional Middle Eastern cuisines, along with mouth-watering Arab fusion dishes, as well as a curated selection of homegrown and regional flavours, WASLA had a food offering to suit everyone’s tastes. Street food was an extremely popular choice for many of the foodies present, thanks to an assortment of pop-ups, including Rove Food Truck, Vida Food Truck, Bahiya, Mantoushe, Ka’ak Al Manara, QalatBaalbak, 12 Carts, and House of Pops.
There was also a wide selection of family-friendly workshops and activities on offer for people to experience, such as drum circles, face-painting, café games, artistic planting, palm weaving, Talihandicraft, candle silhouettes, ‘My Hamza Hand’, and henna. In addition, the festival’s shopaholics were spoiled for choice when it came to retail options, with an eclectic collection of lifestyle, fashion and homeware concept stores, inspired by the region’s unique culture, at the WASLA bazaar.
Commenting on the festival’s success and future plans, Amr Ramadan, Co-Founder and Project Director of WASLA, said, “It has been a huge honour and an immense privilege to watch WASLA go from strength to strength since its inauguration in 2017. The unprecedented success of this year’s festival is a true testament to the hard work and determination our entire team has put into giving alternative Arabic music, culture and art the platform it deserves. WASLA 2019 has proven that Arabic talent deserves to be celebrated on a worldwide stage and that is why we already have plans in place to venture into other markets in the very near future. WASLA will continue toembrace its Arabic roots and positively endorse this wonderfully unique culture through the power of creativity, as it expands further afield in 2020.”