Hayley Kadrou20 Feb 2019 AT 12:55 PM

Dubai Jazz Festival 2019

As we prepare to celebrate the genre for another year, here’s a day by day guide
Hayley Kadrou20 Feb 2019 AT 12:55 PM
Dubai Jazz Festival 2019

This year, the beloved Dubai Jazz Festival celebrates its 17th year – that’s a lot of  rhythmic energy over the years. And for a young city that’s ever-evolving and embracing new cultures, talents and activities, it demonstrates a lot that the music celebration has stuck around for so long. Rumbling through the city for the first time in 2003, the debut edition of the festival drew in a crowd of 8,000 people. A year later that figure had nearly doubled.

A further 15 years on, and the three-day musical extravaganza in Media City is expected to draw in a staggering 20,000  music-hungry fans. And it’s no wonder the festival has managed to keep residents – old and new – coming back year after year. Some of the famous faces that have hit the stage in the past include John Legend, Duran Duran, David Gray, Jason Mraz, Sting, Tom Jones and even Mariah Carey. But what’s in store for Jazz Fest 2019? Yes, more pop, but the warm-ups promise the funk you’ve been waiting for.

February 20


Chasing Cars, Run, Called Out In The Dark… Just some of the hits you’ll no doubt recognise from the first headline act of the festival. The Northern Irish band (that were actually formed in Scotland in 1994 while some of the key members were studying at the University of Dundee) rose to mainstream fame in 2006 with the release of their fourth album Eyes Open. Since, they’ve won gongs such as seven BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) awards and been nominated for numerous Brits and Grammys.    And just under a year ago, the five-man band made a comeback after a seven-year hiatus. Lead singer Gary Lightbody opened up about the extended wait, explaining it was down to suffering from and overcoming addiction issues and bouts of depression. But now the band are back and better than ever with new album Wilderness, so expect old and new tracks from the talents. The Jazz Festival gig will be Snow Patrol’s first in the UAE since 2012, and they’re known for their energetic performances. Don’t be surprised to see bassist Paul "Pablo" Wilson singing along to every track, singer Gary and drummer Johnny Quinn giving it their all, and guitarist Nathan Connolly and keyboardist Johnny McDaid’s dancing along to every track.

Support acts

Ever been a hardcore fan of the harmonica? Well, you’re about to be if you’ve got tickets to Jazz Fest for this Wednesday. The French jazz star is most known for his use of the pocket-friendly instrument, touring with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Prince, and performing at Quincy Jones’ 85th birthday party. Casual.


Yes, flying in all this international talent is exciting and certain adds to the multicultural flavour that we pride ourselves on as Dubai residents… But we do love a home-grown talent, too. The three-piece indie-rock band –identical twins Lucas and Thomas McCone and Scott Attew – are known for hits such as Don’t Lie To Me and have opened for Lionel Ritchie in Abu Dhabi in 2016.

The Ripe Market will be coming to the Jazz Festival for the first time this year. Scope it out to peruse unique artisan products from local businesses or just to chill out under the trees as you soak up the beats of the live performances.

February 21


Selling 26 million albums since 1992, we’re really pretty confident that this English band will pull in huge crowds as the weekend rolls around. Jamiroquai will be the headline performance on Thursday, making it their first performance in the UAE since 2013 when they set up stage at Sandance Music festival. Pioneers of the funk/acid jazz movement, you’ll recognise hits such as Virtual Insanity, Cosmic Girl, Canned Heat and Space Cowboy whether you’ve followed their decades-long career or not. Not dissimilar from Snow Patrol, the group have made a comeback in recent years after a lengthy hiatus. In 2017, they presented Autman – their eight album and first record since 2010 – and it added and EDM element to their signature sounds. So what can fans expect from the guys for jazz festival? Well, expect a colourful experience with props-a-plenty bringing the show to life with lead singer Jay Kay owning the stage.

Support acts

The American singer is known for his ability to transcend typical genre labels within music. Since hitting the scene in 1994, he has won himself a whopping four Grammy awards, 11 Blues Foundation Awards and six BMI Awards. He’s worked with the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and the Dixie Chicks.


The local musical talents describe themselves as a funk, reggae, R&B and neo-soul group, so you know there’s a lot going on. You might have heard them doing their things at the likes of Soho Garden, Stars ’N’ Bars, and PizzaExpress over the years right here in Dubai.

There will be food galore to keep you going throughout the three-day party. The likes of local favourites Mantoushe, PizzaExpress, Sushi Burrito, Poke, Krispy Kreme, Take a Bao and many more will be serving up delicious bites.

February 22


If you didn’t spend the entirety of last week watching Alicia Keys’ Grammys performance on repeat – the R&B queen casually played two pianos at once, no biggie – then you clearly haven’t been using your time very effectively. The soulful singer will be the last (but not least) to headline the music festival’s 17th year, and she’ll be performing hits such as karaoke classic Fallin’, Girl On Fire and A Woman’s Worth.  Alicia broke onto the scene in 2001 with the aforementioned hit Fallin’ from debut album Songs In A Minor – a collection of tracks that earned her five Grammy awards that year. Since then, she has released a staggering six albums and two live recorded albums. Hence you can rest assure her stage presence won’t miss a beat… But in case you need more reassurance, then expect classic renditions to get the crowd going and stunning performances of her fresh material.  One thing to not hold your breath for is a full face of makeup from the star; the activist has forgone wearing makeup since shooting her 2016 album cover for Here.

Support acts

All the way from Birmingham UK, this singer is jetting over to Dubai to warm up the crowd before Alicia takes to the stage. It’s not the first time he’s supported one of the biggest names in music, as he toured with Sam Smith in 2014. He’s a regular within the jazz scene as he started out playing at Ronnie Scott’s London club and has performed at Love Supreme Jazz Festival in the U.K and on Saturday Night Live. 

Mystery artist

At the time of writing, the final local act was yet to be announced. Stay tuned to shortlistdubai.com for the latest.

Regular: AED350
Golden Circle: AED550
Lounge: AED750
VIP: AED1,250

Regular: AED180
Golden Circle: AED1,350
Lounge: AED1,800
VIP: AED3,000

Shoulder Climber
We get it, some of us aren’t as tall as others, but the moment you crawl onto your best pals shoulder (or mount the stranger next to you) you’ve ruined it for everyone. Let alone the health and safety risk…

Overdramatic Dancer
We’re up for sticking our hands in air and swaying back and forth, that’s what it’s all about after all. But karate chopping and head-banging dramatically  through the crowd? Too far, my friend.

Stan Fan
You’ve got fans. You’ve got superfans. And then you have the Stans of the world… If there’s anyone crying/screaming overdramatically when Alicia Keys or Snow Patrol hit the stage, proceed with caution.

FOMO Friend
Everyone’s got that one mate who’s doesn’t know a single track on the set list, but can’t deal with their mates having a party without them. So they get a ticket and come along anyway. Fomo is real, people.

OAP Partygoer
Generally, raving at music concerts and festivals might not be the first place you would expect the elderly to hang out. But there’s always a few reliving their youth, looking as though they could out party you with ease.