theyab bin mohamed bin zayed tours mother of the nation festival in abu dhabi on dec 9
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (second from right), Member of the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi, toured the event on Friday Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The sixth edition of the exiting Mother of the National Festival opened at Abu Dhabi Corniche today.

The yearly event includes a range of family-friendly activities and installations at the beachfront location, and has become a mainstay of the annual Abu Dhabi calendar.

Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed, Member of the Executive Council, inaugurated the 10-day festival, and toured the venue ahead of its public opening today.

Range of activities

Continuing until December 18, the event features art installations, international and local music performances, interactive workshops, and activities that can be enjoyed by families.

During the inauguration, Sheikh Theyab was accompanied by Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), Maryam Eid Al Mheiri, director-general of Abu Dhabi Government Media Office, Saood Al Hosani, undersecretary at the DCT Abu Dhabi, and Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, director general of tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi.

Opening night

This year, organisers have lined up a bigger number of attractions for visitors.

Khaleeji musical sensation from Kuwait, Miami Band, will be back by popular demand tonight after playing to a packed festival audience last year. The four-member group, which rose to fame in the 1990s with songs like ‘Juwaira’ and ‘Ma’ak Radhi’, will take the stage to serenade fans with their popular hits.

“[The Festival] only gets bigger and better every year and continues to be the region’s ultimate entertainment festival, with 10 days of non-stop fun and excitement which are sure to create unforgettable moments. With six unique zones and many more international vendors this year, the festival truly has something for everyone. This one-of-a-kind event enhances Abu Dhabi’s reputation as an unparalleled destination for unique large-scale events that convene the best acts and entertainment from around the world in one place,” Al Geziry said.

timings and tickets
4pm–12am on weekdays
4pm–2am on weekends
Dh30 general admission tickets when purchased online
Dh35 general admission tickets when purchased onsite
Dh85–Dh140 for add-on bundles that offer access to multiple zones or activities

Themed zones

There are six themed areas at the festival this year.

In the Inspire Space, visitors will enter a world of creativity, with Funhouse featuring an interactive digital art installation by ANIMA. Youseum, the social media museum for shareable moments, is coming to the Middle East for the very first time. Also making its debut regional appearance is London’s premier vintage clothing and international streetwear store, Dukes Cupboard, offering international merchandise and vintage apparel. Foodies will relish tasty treats from London street food joint Truffle Burger as well as two offerings from Australia – traditional knafeh from Knafeh Bakery and the Mediterranean-inspired flavours of Bar Biscotti, both setting up their very first UAE pop-ups at this year’s festival.

The Thrill Zone offers heart-pumping physical and virtual reality games for all ages. There is a multiplayer interactive and collaborative game Versus, designed with new VR technology developed in Canada, and Pixel Haus, an inclusive space featuring billiards, arcade games and skill-based activities. Visitors can also try out The Haunted House, or collaborate with family and friends at Arcade Heist to plan a bank robbery.

For children, there is a colourful Amusement Park, with an interactive exhibition themed around popular YouTube character CoComelon. A series of uniquely designed rooms for role-play, as well as carnival rides, play spaces, skill-based games, and innovative activities will help engage young visitors. Within this zone, there is Taiyaki, a cute, fish-shaped Japanese cake made with a secret family recipe by Spain’s La Pecera, as well as delicious treats from the UK’s The Mac Factory and The Treats Club Dessert Bar.

At the Food Hub, a variety of F&B concepts celebrate traditional dishes, offer street treats, and provides tastes innovative food pairings. Among these are Insta-worthy desserts from a number of UK brands, including The Knot Churros and Whipped London, and burgers from Patty & Bun.

Regional stars and A-list artists will perform their hits at the Live Arena.

Finally, the Shopping District will include retail options in fashion, accessories and beauty products, as well as UK-based bakery Peggy Porschen with its cupcakes and sweet treats.