A performance tonight by Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 Ambassador Hussain Al Jassmi will highlight the start of the one-year countdown to the Expo 2020 Dubai. The show at the Burj Park in Downtown Dubai will coincide with events across the rest of the emirates, which organisers say will provide “a taste of what visitors can expect when the World’s Greatest Show opens its doors on October 20, 2020”.

[The World’s Greatest Show in the Making: an Expo 2020 Dubai site tour]

The Dubai show will also feature Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor and will served as a prelude to an equally anticipated LED lights show on Burj Khalifa for the ‘One Year to Go’ countdown on the Burj Khalifa at 8.20pm. Tickets to the special show were sold out within just two hours by people from 76 nationalities. Those who do not have tickets are advised not to seek admittance at Burj Park.

The simultaneous shows across the UAE will feature 100 performing artists from 26 nationalities. Each event will also offer a wide array of delicious cuisines, a craft area for kids and the chance to meet the Expo 2020 Mascots for the first time. There will also be more details to be announced today about what to expect at Expo 2020.

“As we mark One Year to Go until the UAE welcomes the world to Expo 2020, these spectacular nationwide celebrations will usher in the final leg of a historic journey and a major achievement not only for Dubai, but for the entire UAE,” said Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said in a statement. “So far, 2019 has been the year of delivery and the Expo 2020 site has been transformed by the completion of key construction milestones such as the Thematic Districts and the crowning of Al Wasl dome. The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo. Our One Year to Go festivities offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from 20 October 2020.”

A led light show on the Burj Khalifa marks the two-year countdown to the Expo 2020. The world's tallest tower will once again light up to commemorate the 'One Year To Go' event
Gulf News Archives

Apart from the ticketed event in Dubai, organisers expect thousands more to attend the free festivities taking place simultaneously from 5pm to 10pm in the other six emirates. The venues are Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

Here’s what to expect at each event:


Performances by pop singer Sandra Sahi, who has amassed more than six million YouTube views with her songs Coconut and Hala Bre7at Heli, soulful North Carolina native Stephon Lamar, award-winning singer-songwriter Layla Kardan, and the classical stylings of Emirati Trio. Also present are DJ Kaboo, Zambian speed painter Victor Sitali, art collective The Domino, painter Chinedu Eneogwe (aka Wisdom) and MCs Enjy Kiwan and Mo El Torky.


Live performances by Indian band ROOH, who featured on the soundtrack to 2017 Hindi movie Julie 2, classically trained singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, the diverse and harmonious Benna Duo, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki, Pakistani poet Namal Siddiqui, artist and designer Ahd Hany and MC Hassan Alsheikh.


The Ajman celebration will be headlined by an Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.


The festivities will have performances by As Per Casper, whose debut album Hit the Ground topped the iTunes Middle East charts, singer and oud player Mohamed Hosny, poet Suhaib Alises, illustrator Dina Sami, an acoustic fusion band and MC Ibrahim Ustadi.


The brilliantly named Nutella Riot, comprising singer-songwriter Noush Like Sploosh and guitarist Matt BLK, will offer fresh takes on pop classics. Also in the line up are the emotive Souldier the Artist, qanoon musician Ahmed Jarour, Palestinian-American spoken word performer Yaz Makh, Emirati artist Jaber Alhaddad and MC Abdulla Al Muhairi.


Performances by Syrian singer-songwriter Ghaliaa, who in 2018 released her first singles Why, Praying and Kel El 3alam, Emirati rock artist Bafoory, India’s Aman Sheriff, who has performed hundreds of shows from the UAE to Los Angeles, including opening for veteran pop-rockers The Stereophonics, spoken word performer Adel Awad, mural artist Sijin Gopinathan and MC Rania Younes.


The ticketed event at the Burj Park will be headlined by superstar songbird Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi

Apart from Mariah Carey, Hussain Al Jassmi and Shraddha Kapoor, other performers are Khalifa Nasser, Shamma Hamdan, Abri & Funk Radius and DJ Bliss. The special countdown show on the Burj Khalifa at 8.20pm (2020) will mark one year until the next World Expo. Five UAE-based musicians representing a mix of genres – from a qanoon player to a beatboxer – have been chosen to create a special track marking One Year to Go. The group will perform the song live for the Burj Park crowd and a short documentary titled Musical Encounters, detailing the story of how the track came together, will be released after the event.

In line with Expo 2020’s subtheme of Sustainability, organisers also announced that single-use plastic water bottles will not be sold at any of the celebrations. Instead, free drinking water and 98 per cent biodegradable and compostable paper water bottles will be provided free to all visitors, performers and staff. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own reusable drinking bottles.

Organisers expect these measures will save more than 100,000 plastic water bottles across all events. This initiative is part of the wider ‘Be Water Wise’ campaign – a collaboration between Expo 2020 and the UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia UAE, to combat water shortages in the region, keep the sea plastic-free and invest in innovative, sustainable solutions to help preserve the planet.