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Dubai Jazz Festival attracts big acts

Jason Mraz and James Blunt headline the 2012 Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival.

Musical heavyweights Jason Mraz, James Blunt, Jools Holland and James Morrison are set to headline the 2012 Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival, the event's 10th anniversary.

The nine-day fest, with more than 200 performers across 27 concerts, will also cover genres such as blues, funk, swing, acid, rock, contemporary, modern and fusion.

It will be held at Dubai Festival City February 16 to 24. Officials have promised "wallet-friendly ticket prices".

Other top artists in the line-up are Jonathan Butler (r&b/jazz fusion), Brett Dennen (folk/pop) and Spyro Gyra (jazz fusion).

Anthony Younes, managing director of ChillOut Productions, the festival's organiser, said the next instalment will be "the finest in the event's 10-year history". It will be "one to remember", he stressed.

The 2011 edition attracted 50,000 audience members and Younes hopes to reach the same number next year.

"Since launching in 2003, we've strived to meet the expectations of our rising fans," said Younes. "To accommodate all of them, we have moved to our new home, Dubai Festival City, to take the festival to a level never before seen."

Brian LaBelle, senior vice president of Skywards, said the jazz festival "has done much to contribute to the growing arts and cultural scene in Dubai".

Shows will be hosted every night at the Al Badia Golf Course, allowing thousands of music enthusiasts the opportunity to sit back and enjoy a cross-mix of genres in a chilled-out atmosphere.

"The festival will be held in the most tranquil of settings, at the golf course. Access in and out is very easy," said Ian Plumley, head of sales and marketing for Dubai Festival City, who referred to the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival as "one of the things to do when you come to Dubai".

Grammy-winning artist Blunt, who rose to fame with hit songs You're Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover, performed at the festival in 2009.

Mraz rose to fame in 2008 with his hit song I'm Yours, which spent an impressive 76 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

The first weekend of the Main Gigs section (February 16 and 17) will feature 15 international jazz artists. It will be followed by the Jazz Garden event (February 18 to 22). The second weekend of Main Gigs (February 23 and 24), as with the first weekend, will host high-energy concerts from the music world's finest acts.

For further information on ticket prices and performance dates, visit www.dubaijazzfest.com

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