Shahid Kapoor performs at the IIFA Awards Abu Dhabi
Shahid Kapoor performs at the IIFA Awards Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Just weeks after the end of the two-day IIFA Awards weekend that was held at Etihad Arena, it has been announced that the star-studded Bollywood spectacle will return to Abu Dhabi in February 2023.

The revelation was made as part of a press conference on June 30, where Miral and its partners unveiled a packed line-up of more than 70 entertainment, sports and gaming events that will run from July 2022 to February 2023 on Yas Island.

One of the top billed event is a concert by Academy Award-winning composer AR Rahman for Diwali celebrations on October 29 at Etihad Arena.

Musician AR Rahman at the IIFA Rocks green carpet
Musician AR Rahman at the IIFA Rocks green carpet Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

This is in addition to earlier announced events such a the music festival Club Social being held from October 28 to October 30 with headliners Clean Bandit and Kaiser Chiefs, a performance by Liam Gallagher and a Battle of the Bands finale; the on-stage adaptation of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ being staged at Etihad Arena from November 16 to December 10; and famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performing on November 24 at Etihad Park.

Circle of Life - THE LION KING - Company of the International Tour - Photo by Matthew Murphy © Disney-1655709745317
'The Lion King' Image Credit: Disney

Also on the events calender is the return of Disney On Ice, which is bringing new show ‘Mickey and Friends’ in October at Etihad Arena; and Abu Dhabi Showdown Week that features Ultimate Fighting Championship event UFC 281 and the National Basketball Association (NBA) pre-season games at Etihad Arena.

The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) and Miral have also announced the renewal of their partnership through a dedicated events fund, a statement said. As part of the renewed two-year joint venture, the fund will bring music, comedy and live entertainment events, which aims to attract 260,000 event attendees to Yas Island.

Saleh Mohammed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said in a statement: “In Abu Dhabi, cross-industry collaborations and bold strategic partnerships remain crucial to elevating our status as a leading events hub. We have always believed that a dynamic events offering is a driving force behind the emirate meeting its ambitious tourism vision and achieving our target of 23 million annual visitors by 2030.”

As Eid Al Adha approaches, it was also announced that this year visitors will be able to witness nightly fireworks at Yas Bay Waterfront from July 9 to July 12.

Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, said: “We are very proud of this line-up of amazing events coming to Yas Island. This is a testament to achieving our vision of positioning the island as a top global destination for entertainment and leisure, as well as a preferred location for world-class events.”

Other notable additions that movie fans can look out for is the kick off of DC Superhero Season at indoor theme park Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi in August until September.

One event that can be pencilled in for 2023, apart from fireworks at Yas Island, is a stand-up comedy show by British screen icon Jimmy Carr on January 7 that will be his first in the UAE capital.

Another one for January 2023 is a performance by comedian Kevin Bridges on January 21 for the European Tour golf tournament weekend.