In just a few days, Dubai is going to be a city of thrills, frills, shopping and much more. Come December 17 and you’ll be able to hear muffled giggles through masks and see individuals bursting with excitement as they gather near the Market Outside The Box (MOTB) at Burj Park in Downtown Dubai. Mobile cameras on stand-by mode, DSLRs on tripods, crowds will be waiting excitedly for the clock to strike 8pm to witness two A-list Arab stars belt out spectacular performances.

Wondering who they are? They are none other than music superstars Hussain Al Jassmi and Tamer Hosny. The singing sensations, two of the biggest names in the Arabic music world, will perform on December 17 as part of an incredible double bill of live music for the start of this year’s DSF.

Spectacular concerts are just the tip of the iceberg. As the emirate gets ready to unveil the 26th edition of the seven-week-long Dubai Shopping Festival, authorities are promising that the event is going to easily be a festival unlike any before. If the Arab stars will be performing on the 17th, an international pop star will be on the stage on the 18th. Tickets for these highly awaited performances are priced at Dh50.

"The 26th edition of the world’s biggest and longest-running retail festival will be a perfect celebration of everything Dubai is famous for – unparalleled family fun and shopping, all with a Covid safety approach," says Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE).

"As the flagship event of DFRE’s packed retail calendar of festivities and activations, DSF… offers incredible customer-centric promotions and activations that drive footfall, boost sales and position the city on the global map as a must-visit retail destination for visitors from around the world. This… will welcome 2021 in a positive and fun-packed fashion."

DSF is designed to position Dubai as a must-visit retail destination for visitors from around the world, Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of DFRE
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Throughout DSF, and in line with local regulations, participating malls and shopping destinations will strictly adhere to the required Covid-19 precautionary protocols to ensure a safe and fun experience for the visitors across different places in Dubai that are celebrating the DSF.

DSF Markets

The highly anticipated DSF Markets will make a comeback with a super collection of pop-up events taking place at Last Exit Al Khawaneej and Al Seef, as well as events at Burj Park, Nakheel Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Festival City Mall and community markets around the city.

What makes the DSF markets shine bright among other markets is providing an innovative shopping experience for everyone by combining the heritage of Dubai with the visitors’ shopping adventures.

Taking place at Burj Park in Downtown Dubai and a highlight of DSF, the Market Outside The Box (MOTB) will offer an alternative shopping experience for those looking for gifts or items out of the ordinary as well a huge selection of innovative and exciting food and beverage options.

To be held from December 17 to January 2, the MOTB will have a more Gen-Z outlook, with the theme of the event inspired by Asian pop culture, specifically Korean and Japanese.

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Visitors to Nakheel Mall will be spoilt for choice thanks to a series of retail offers, promotions and special Winter Deals from December 10 to January 3. The mall, located on the Palm Jumeirah’s new rooftop venue, will host a winter-themed Food and Retail Market with a wide range of pop-up vendors and unique products. The venue will also stage its own Santa’s Village and Grotto as well as an ice rink.

Get ready to be entranced with a festive experience at Dubai Festival City Mall’s market at Festival Bay, from 4pm each day until December 29. The spotlight for this event will be on various events like a festive interactive maze, an enchanted polar bear valley, a candy factory and a socially distant Santa’s grotto.

Stroll into a Winter Wonderland with your loved ones until December 24 in the West End Area of Mall of the Emirates. With a festive cheer in the air, the Christmas market will celebrate the season in collaboration with Ripe Market and Ski Dubai. Guests can meet and take photos with a virtual Santa (augmented reality) while following all health and safety measures. After scanning a code on their smartphone, guests will be redirected to Instagram where they can choose between three Santa variations for their photo.

Al Rigga and Al Muraqqabat Community Markets, Hatta Festival and Al Karama Community Market will also be hosting events and performances and experiences, including a Street Style Pop-up Market, a nostalgic DSF Pop-up market and much more.

Al Rigga’s community markets returns hosting events and performances
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Having a bad day during the Dubai Shopping Festival season? Well, you can, um, console yourself as this shopping festival will be hosting various Live Gaming Experiences within DSF Key Locations in Partnership with Global Gaming Brands, as well as augmented reality experiences in retail spaces. Expect exciting games, virtual tournament and incredible prizes as well as interactive gaming zones with more than three gaming zones across DSF markets and shopping malls filled with the latest and popular retro games and mini-tournaments using the latest gaming technologies.

Infiniti Mega Raffle and more daily draws

The DSF will bring back the Infiniti Mega Raffle. Raffle tickets priced at Dh200 can be purchased at selected ENOC and EPPCO petrol stations, Zoom stores and Dubai Metro stations. Shoppers who spend Dh200 at The Gold Souk and Global Village plus participating shopping malls can enter a raffle to land an Infiniti QX60 car and Dh200,000 each day. A total of 45 QX60 vehicles will be given away during DSF with daily draws taking place at Global Village. One person will also win Dh500,000 on the final day of DSF.

DSF’s Nissan Grand Raffle will give away 45 brand-new Nissan vehicles this shopping season. Five of the carmaker’s most popular models are available along with cash prizes of Dh10,000 every week. Shoppers need to spend Dh25 on non-fuel items at any EPPCO or ENOC petrol station in Dubai to stand a chance to win daily.

Shoppers at Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) malls can enter a raffle to win cash prizes of up to Dh100,000 each week just by spending Dh200. The Spend & Win raffle will be held from December 17 to January 30.

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Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group (DGJG) will host a grand raffle from December 17 to January 30 with a total of 25kg of gold to be won.

Residents and visitors who buy jewellery at any of the 180 participating DGJG outlets across Dubai including in Deira Gold Souk, Meena Bazaar and the city’s malls, can enter the raffle. Shoppers who spend Dh500 on gold jewellery will receive one raffle coupon and customers who purchase diamonds, pearls, or watches worth Dh500 will receive two raffle coupons.

Lights, camera, showtime!

The festive spirit for DSF this year will be on show with world-class street performers entertaining residents, visitors and shoppers across the city. Musicians, artists and more will host exciting and fun-filled moments at La Mer, City Walk, Al Seef, Dubai Festival City Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, The Pointe, City Centre Mirdif and Mall of the Emirates throughout the festival.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Fans of the legendary folk-rock act Simon & Garfunkel can enjoy the duo’s most famous songs and career highlights at the Dubai Opera during DSF. The live performance venue will host the critically acclaimed The Simon & Garfunkel Story on December 19, with shows at 2pm and 8pm. This immersive concert-style event features state-of-the-art video projection, unique lightning, and a live band.

Arabic music lovers will be spoilt for choice with two great live shows on New Year’s Eve. Dubai World Trade Centre will host a New Year’s Eve show by Arabic singer Nassif Zeytoun. Stars such as Wael Kfoury and Mouhamad Khairy will take to the stage on New Year’s Eve at the Festival Arena at the InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City.

Get ready to have your funny bones tickled as comedian Jack Whitehall will bring his International Stood Up Tour to Dubai as part of Dubai Shopping Festival with a show at Dubai World Trade Centre on January 14, while popular live stand-up show The Laughter Factor will return for a series of gigs during DSF.

Picture-perfect lighting

City Walk
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Dubai’s streets, malls and landmarks will be lit up this DSF with dynamic decorative and branded lighting. Made up of illuminated palm trees, decorative lights on lamp posts and Metro bridges, plus immersive and captivating lighting at the DSF markets, the lights will dazzle onlookers and spread the spirit of fun. Participating locations include La Mer, City Walk, Al Seef, MOTB, Last Exit Al Khawaneej, Airport Road, T3 Dubai Airport arrivals, Maktoum Bridge, Garhoud Bridge, Al Rigga, Muraqabat, Canal Bridge and Financial Centre Metro bridge.

Cultural events

Take part in the cultural activities and events this DSF with the signature components including the Hatta Village Cultural Festival, containing the Traditional souks & SME concepts, Kids Funfair Zone, local food trucks and lighting & decorations.

Buckle up, we are landing

The Dubai Airport, across Terminals, is set to spread awareness and joy this DSF with On-Arrival and Transit Environment Activations for international travellers. For starters, the Modesh & Dana Characters will be seen welcoming tourists accompanied with the customised DSF Decorative Lighting with creative installations across key arrival points.

Fireworks with a ‘phygital’ twist

This edition is bringing back the highly enjoyed fireworks, with a "phygital" twist. A new facelift of programming for fireworks, drones, multisensory installations utilising the latest technology is being implemented to bring DSF to the people – physically, visually and virtually – creating uniquely immersive ambient environments across Dubai in locations including Downtown, La Mer, Al Seef, The Beach, Bluewaters, Dubai Festival City and The Pointe.

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The highlights will include the DSF Drone Show alongside waterside dining offers, weekend fireworks across different waterfront locations, New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, Dubai Frame, Global Village and more, and a multilocation projection.

Art events and exhibitions

Art enthusiasts can rejoice as this DSF is bring in Seasonal Art shows and Cultural Events across different citywide locations like Al Quoz, Satwa, Al Fahidi and DIFC.

The highlights include art house movie Screenings, modern art consisting of sketch displays and live workshops inspired by local talents at Market OTB and DSF Outdoor Markets, global art exhibitions in city galleries including XVA Gallery, Opera Gallery and Al Serkal Arts Foundation and local art exhibitions in cultural art centres including Al Jalila Arts Centre and Al Jameel Arts Centre.

All’s well that ends well

As the popular saying goes, all good things must come to an end. From January 28 to 30, a multi-artist closing concert consisting of regional megastar performances will be broadcasted live with an evening of closing celebrations, the main stars being the fountain and fireworks show.

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