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Celebrating 15 years of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival



With music legends like Tom Jones and Mariah Carey taking the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre stage this year, we asked Anthony Younes, the CEO of ChillOut Productions to talk us through some of the biggest highlights of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival.

Here’s what he had to say…

The begining…
In 2003, the year of its inauguration, the festival attracted about 8,000 attendees, and it has been growing ever since. We had legends Stanley Jordan, Billy Cobham and Archie Shepp to headline the first of its kind festival in the region. We saw thousands of people chilling on bean bags. This image is still very vivid in my mind – when Dubai was thirsty for such events.

The year of the Jazz Garden…
In the year 2008, not only did the numbers increase, but also the audience were in for a special treat. Apart from the three days of main gigs, the fans got to experience the first ever “Jazz Garden” featuring seven days of Jazz concerts with free admission! This year also brought a new award – ‘The Middle East Event Awards‘ for ‘Best Public Entertainment Event in the Middle East’.

Bigger and bigger…
In the year 2010, the festival consisted of three days of “main concerts”, ten days of “World of Jazz” and seven days of the “Jazz Garden”; 42,000 fans attended the event. The 2011 edition won the ‘Time Out Dubai Nightlife Awards’ for the ‘Best Music Festival’ for its format of three main gigs, nine days of “World of Jazz” and eight days of “Jazz Garden” and the total attendance of 50,000 fans.

Rocking the City…
In 2013, the festival revolved around the theme ‘Rocking the City’ and indeed, the festival did as it promised. The city saw performances from One Republic, Deep Purple, 3 Doors Down, The Script and many other pop rock and jazz artists. Apart from the four days of concerts from popular bands, the festival also catered to many jazz lovers through five days of Jazz Garden.

Chris Botti and Sting steal the show…
Finally, and this is a personal one… Our favourite highlight would have to be the Chris Botti and Sting show last year because this exceeded everybody’s expectation, even my own. The show was also sold out and I’m glad that I had the chance to watch it as a guest and a fan because it was absolutely breath-taking. This may change this year especially with the line-up we have. We’ll see!

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