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Hi-Tech and stunning theatrical extravaganza on Dubai Creek planned for Dubai Shopping Festival 2003

Travel News Asia 11 January 2003

Celestial forces are expected to come together for the opening ceremony of the eighth Dubai Shopping Festival beginning on January 15th, 2003. Nature's elements Earth, Wind, and Water will be used to create a visual spectacle never seen before in the world.

The prelude to the opening ceremony will be a big carnival parade at 5:00 PM just behind Children's City where more than 35 troupes representing local, GCC and international troupes will be performing folkloric shows.

In a press briefing organised at the Dubai Creek Park, the venue for the event, Mr. Saeed Mohammed Al Nabouda described the meticulously planned multidimensional opening ceremony as one of the biggest and most daring event staged in Dubai. He said, "The Opening Ceremony of Dubai Shopping Festival 2003 will have several 'firsts' to its credit, and our promise is that it will dazzle the world with its creativity, splendour and technical brilliance.

"The spirit of the ceremony is the theme of Dubai Shopping Festival - a ceremony created with the essence of ONE WORLD, ONE FAMILY AND ONE FESTIVAL and the endearing message of universal peace that comes from United Arab Emirates. 

"Dubai Shopping Festival opening ceremonies have a history of setting the highest standards of event management and execution. This year too, as in the past, groundbreaking technologies have been explored to create an unforgettable experience for the DSF visitor. Some of the world's most talented and technically qualified producers, choreographers and musicians have been bought together to execute the project.

"Spectators can expect the unexpected from this fast paced opening ceremony. A five kilometre radius space will be utilized for its eight act presentation that will begin with a tribute to Dubai's Creek, the lifeline which created The Pearl of the Gulf - Dubai."

The performers and the creators

The majestic opening ceremony will have several star attractions. Amongst these attractions is the music by legendary French group, 'Deep Forest' known for their hits in the 'World Music' genre. Michel Sanchez and Eric Mouquet of Deep Forest have jointly composed an original sound track for the opening ceremony with inputs from another legendary group of the European Classical Music genre, URBAN SAX, led by visionary composer Gilbert Artman.

Pierre Marcout, Chairman and Artistic Director of Prisme International, the group which is the producer of the show said, "Deep Forest is known for their effortless blending of global ethnic, folk sounds and modern rhythms, while URBAN SAX's, a group of 70 jazz musicians are known for their surreal, undulating soundscapes and their showmanship. Getting the two together for one show is compelling and the results will be there for everybody to see."

In the hour-long show, the music will be harmonized with a visual feast comprising fireworks and performances of 200 artists - water ballet dancers, acrobats, paragliders, sports men and more. Elements like formula boats and traditional boats will also be used. 

The Unique Stage and its Settings

The 3,500 people seating area and the main stage, an architectural achievement is set up on a huge barge extended into the Creek from the Helipad. At 40 metres length and 15 metres breadth, the mammoth stage is serviced by a specially designed scissor lifts and truss system. The backdrop of the stage is the buildings silhouette of Baniyas Street and Al Maktoum Road, Deira set at a distance of 5 kilometres, while the closer backdrop is the Al Maktoum Bridge. A 30-metre special tower crane with an arrow of 45 metres will be used to magically transport performers to the stage.

According to Ibrahim Abdul Rahim, Events and Projects Director, DSF, "We were very keen to have the backdrop as Dubai's skyline, because the ceremony is an accolade to Dubai's past and its present. However, the biggest challenge of an open air venue, the scale of the urbanscape of Dubai, is to create drama and excitement at all levels of vision."

Sound effects, lighting and fireworks

A seven-beam laser YAG 80 watt technology, the latest in laser show equipment, close to 300 moving lights and 1500 computerised light units will be used at various levels - within the water, near the buildings at a distance, the Maktoum bridge, and obviously the stage.

Added Pierre Marcout, "The other challenge presented by an open air venue is the sound; the key is to balance the spatial and acoustic potential of the venue. We are going to use a computerised surround sound system, which will create a kind of closed-door effect, comparable to the sound heard in a cinema. Sound will be digitally controlled on a multi-track basis which will enhance the performance of the two live bands."

The fireworks for the event have been custom made for the event and have been designed by famous firework designer, Christophe Berteneau, designer of the Paris Millineum Firework.

Traffic Control and special arrangements for the Opening Ceremony 

Major General Abdul Aziz Al Bannai, Chairman of the Security Committee of DSF, "Months of planning have gone into making the opening ceremony a success. The crucial element is the logistics on the 'D-day'. Since Al Maktoum Bridge will be one of the stations from where fireworks will be fired, we will close it for a two and half hour duration from 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM."

Parking for the invitees has been arranged at the Creek Park, the Dubai Courts and the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. The Creek Park regular visitors can park their cars in the old location of the Global Village, since the Creek Park parking will be blocked for the invitees of the opening ceremony. Boat service will be provided from the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, and the Creek Park trains will also be utilised to ferry guests. While the actual show begins at 8:00 PM, we recommend that the invitees come at least forty minutes prior to the show to ease the pressure on the traffic.

"Since 15th is also the opening day of the Global Village, we strongly recommend the regular office goers to utilise Ras Al Khor highway, the Shindagah Tunnel, the Rashidiya Highway and the Emirates Highway for commuting."

The activities of the Creek Park will begin at 5:30 PM with several parades. Two giant LCD screens will be projecting the happenings of the opening ceremony to the general visitor of the Creek Park.

Within the city the fireworks and light show can be seen from the bridges, Al Seef Street and the buildings located at Deira City Centre.

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