Dubai: Lights, fire, water and music combined to usher in the New Year as more than a million watched the Burj Khalifa dazzle in a sea of colours.
Synced to live orchestral music, a feat never before attempted, the fireworks display enveloped the tower in a rich wash of colours.
Young and old, men and women from around the world, including thousands of tourists, swung to tunes in awe of the spectacular display of pyrotechnics.
People swarmed the Downtown Dubai as bees head to the hive, coming in numbers unimaginable and occupying every inch of the space available at the sprawling arena.
In what was one of the world’s most dazzling New Year parties, people came in from far and wide and camped at the arena along with families and friends as early as noon yesterday,
“This is the second year in a row that I have come to watch the show. It is really amazing and one of the finest moments of the year. This year the arrangement is much better than last year and the crowd is fantastic as well,” said Faiq Mubayaz, who came all the way from Azerbaijan and stationed himself on the bridge connecting Dubai Mall to Souq Al Bahar since 3pm.
Coming in hoards from different directions, people used various modes of transport, with many walking several kilometres to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.
“I parked my car at Jaffiliya and walked with my friends all the way to avoid the rush on the metro and I knew taking car inside is impossible. The atmosphere here is brilliant and its worth the pain,” said Edwin Demello.
Metro was jam-packed from as early as 2pm even as cars snaked in from every direction towards Downtown.
Motorists also parked their vehicles in the surrounding areas from where they could get a good view of the show and enjoyed from the comforts of their vehicles.
The series of shows that culminated into the fireworks included a live performance by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, one of Europe’s leading music ensembles. The world-renowned musicians performed at Burj Steps, overlooking Burj Khalifa.
The New Year’s Eve Gala also had a dance of lights, water and fire on the Burj Lake. Choreographed live to perfection, the show glitzy projections on a huge 210 metre long screen.
However, the highlight of the evening was the sea of people that reflected the true cosmopolitan outlook of Dubai, with its unique mix of several nationalities.
“It’s a fabulous show and it’s the best place to be in for New Year. I have enjoyed New Year at various locations but this the best experience I had in years. But what I enjoyed most was the ambience and the mix of people, it’s a great feeling being here,” said Dominic from Germany, who watched the last year’s show on YouTube and decided to be here.
The show was telecast live to over two billion viewers, and simultaneously streamed online at www.mydowntowndubai.com.
Apart from the Dubai Mall area, the nation ushered in the New Year with celebrations across different parts of the emirates including Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, Dubai Creek, Global village, as well as Abu Dhabi Corniche and Emirates Palace.
At Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, a 20 minute long fireworks display dazzled the skies of the capital. Thousands of people gathered at the corniche, where a separate set of fire works lit up the sky.
All the guests will come out and gather at the dome area in the hotel premises to watch the fireworks.