Pharrell took to the stage at the du Arena on Saturday. Image Credit: Courtesy: twitter.com

Some of the biggest stars in the world came to play in the UAE over the weekend. Of course, much of the action happened on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as British royals, Spice Girls, American internet breakers and rappers came calling.



Prince Harry kicked off the party — on a horse — when he participated at the Sentebale Polo Club on Thursday at the Ghantoot Polo Club, Abu Dhabi. The event was held to raise funds for the charity he co-founded, Sentebale, which raises funds for children in need in Lesotho.

Later that day another Brit announced her arrival: Geri Halliwell, who, just last week, announced her engagement to Formula One team principal Christian Horner.

“Brits abroad,” the Spice Girl captioned her photo.

That evening, the party began as Yasalam, the entertainment programme of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, kicked off celebrations on its first night. The after-race concerts — for F1 ticket holders only — saw regional stars including Egyptian superstar Tamer Hosny, Lebanese actress and singer Carole Samaha, Emirati singer Fayes Al Saeed and Arab Idol 2013 Mohammad Assaf took the stage at du Arena.

“Great fans, great atmosphere,” Assaf tweeted later.

Meanwhile, things were heating up on the Abu Dhabi Corniche as the free concert series, Beats on the Beach, began with Filipina sensation and former internet star Charice.

“The beautiful venue! Party at the beach!,” tweeted the singer, with a shot of the crowd.

Rapper Juicy J, who took to the stage later, also tweeted a shot of the crowd with the caption: “50k people Abu Dhabi thank you! Now it’s time for the after party.”

UAE regular Jason Derulo also peformed at O1ne Yas Island club that night, before his scheduled gig at Beats on the Beach on Friday night. Before he took to the stage though, he took off to the desert for some dune bashing, and tweeted a photo with the caption: “We in #AbuDhabi baby! Got four wheelers on these sand dunes! #livelovelife.”



Reality star and internet ‘breaker’ Kim Kardashian announced her arrival on Twitter. She turned up two days earlier than scheduled, thanks to her India trip being cancelled.

“Words can’t describe how grateful I am to be back in Dubai. I love it here so much!,” the social media queen posted, along with a picture of her and her ‘glam squad’ at Atlantis, The Palm, which is where we’re assuming they’re staying. Later, she went on a cruise around the Dubai Marina, with her squad, and a random addition: Fast and Furious star Michelle Rodriguez.

At the du Arena after the races, it was the turn of DJ Armin Van Buuren to take the party to the next level with some of his biggest dance hits including This is What it Feels Like. The top DJ and producer, who was supported by Dubai duo Hollaphonic, tweeted after his performance: “My first time playing an F1 event! Thank you Abu Dhabi!” He also headed to O1ne Yas Island club later that evening.

Back the beach, around 45,000 revellers (according to Yasalam organisers Flash Entertainment) gathered to be entertained by R&B superstar Miguel, who led the celebrations. He was followed by chart-topper Derulo, Bollywood hip-hop singer Hard Kaur and Emirati singer Ruwaida Al Mahrooqi.

British singer Conor Maynard celebrated his birthday at Project Etoile, the pop-up club of Emirates Palace’ Etoile at the du Forum. He was joined by Miguel, the UAE’s biggest fan Tyrese Gibson and Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda for a very awkward photo op.

Later, things looked a bit relaxed as the birthday boy prepared to cut his cake.

“So I was given an actual sword to cut my cake... only #InAbuDhabi,” he tweeted, with a photo



Mrs West began her evening at Yuan the signature Chinese restaurant, bar and lounge at Atlantis, The Palm. Dressed in a sleek black dress with nude sandals, the starlet stopped by the restaurant with bff Carla Dibello and her entourage, before jetting off south to the capital. There, she dined at the pop-up Japanese restaurant called Roku, by The Podium Lounge at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. Of course she posted a photo, captioning it “Yas Beach with the crew! #AbuDhabi #Formula1”

Singer Miguel took some time off peforming and making appearances as he posted pictures of himself in the desert. “Dude, trust me, I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to go that way,” he captioned a photo with a picture of him on a camel.

Rita Ora had time for a promotional junket, heading to the newly-opened Yas Mall in the morning to open the Adidas store. She was also the major attraction at the Project Etoile pop-up club, as well as Beats on the Beach, which also included Tinashe, Ragheb Al Ama, and Sabine.

Estelle was also back in town, performing all her hits at the Amber Lounge, where she will also be on Sunday night, while T-Pain was the headliner at O1ne Yas Island.

“I’ll be performing @O1NEYASISLAND tonight! It’s going to be one hell of a party! #O1NEYASISLAND #F1 #Formula1 #AbuDhabi #IamTPain,” the rapper teased before his performance.

Back at du Arena, things got a bit spicy as Pharrell, one of the biggest acts of the weekend, took the stage for the after-race concert. The singer and producer was joined on stage later by Ginger Spice Halliwell for a rendition of one of his biggest hits: Happy, with which he closed his show.

“I just sang Happy with Pharrell! Abudabi [sic],” Halliwell tweeted later.

Then, music’s man of the moment tweeted his own announcement: “Hey UAE, I loved F1 so much I’m coming back for Dubai’s biggest NYE party. Check out #DXBNYE!”



Tonight will see iconic rock band The Who close the Yasalam after-race concert series. O1ne Yas Island will host house DJ Solomun while English band Rudimental will make their UAE return at the Podium Lounge and Estelle returns on the Amber Lounge stage for the second night.

Kim Kardashian won’t be too far away either. She will host a ‘celebrity bash’ at VIP Room Dubai’s pop-up club at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi, where rappers Future and French Montana will perform. She will then bring the party to Dubai on Monday when she will open the perfume store, Parfum Monde, and launch her seventh fragrance Fleur Fatale, before hosting a dinner later that night at Toko, Vida Downtown Dubai.