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National Day: Behind the scenes

The celebration of UAE's 40th National Day at the Zayed Sports Stadium was success thanks to a number of bright minds and brilliant ideas

  • Spectacular success
    The 40th National Day celebrations at the Zayed Sports Stadium on Friday were a spectacular success with army Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News & WAM
  • Spectacular success
    Schoolchildren held a parade at Mirdif City Centre yesterday while residents drove around in cars adorned in tImage Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: Friday's spectacular celebration for the official ceremony of the UAE's 40th National Day at the Zayed Sports Stadium became a successful mega production thanks to a number of bright minds and brilliant ideas.

The teamwork of 69 show crew, 112 professional performers, 24 stage managers, and 1,200 volunteer performers under the direction of internationally acclaimed creative directors resulted in stunning performances that highlighted the country's cultural heritage and beginnings.

"The success of this has surpassed all expectations and this could be clearly seen in the stadium as participants stood side by side in celebration. The ceremony itself was seamless in promoting the national identity and a fitting tribute to the nation's rich history, culture, and achievements," said Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Chairman of the Higher Committee for National Day.

Sea of colour

The state-of-the-art arena saw the presence of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and other Rulers of the UAE, along with 70,000 people.

A sea of red, white, black and green — the nation's colours — covered the area as young and old, men and women, Emiratis and expatriates alike celebrated the Spirit of the Union.

Who made it happen

  • Multiple Grammy Award-nominated creative directors
  •  Creative director of the 53rd annual Oscars, US half time Superbowl
  • Creative director of European Music Awards 2011
  • Lighting designer of world touring productions


  • 112 international specialist aerialists, skaters and acrobats from 25 countries
  • Hundreds of local volunteers
  • 200 traditional dancers
  • 1,200 UAE volunteers from schools and universities
  •  5,000 coat hangers
  • Specialists from 24 countries

Pyramid-shaped stage:

  • 65 metres wide with eight sloping decks

Tower & portal

  •  27 metres tall and 18 metres wide, weighing 449,408kg.


  •  1,696 fixtures with 20 kilometres of cables.


  • 205 speakers weighing 13 tonnes with 219,600 watts of amplification
  • Projection:
  • 80 projectors covering roughly 4,400 square metres.