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The Oil Barons Ball is held at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Courtesy Oil Baron's Ball
The Oil Barons Ball is held at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Courtesy Oil Baron's Ball

You shall go to the UAE's 2013 Oil Barons Ball

Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse will be awash with Stetsons and spurs tomorrow night for the 10th anniversary of the Oil Barons Charity Ball. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the mainstay of the UAE’s social calendar is bigger and bolder than ever before.

Oil be back

One of the region’s largest outdoor charity galas, the glamorous event has been dubbed “The Glitter Ball” this year in celebration of its milestone birthday. In keeping with the dress code of silver and purple, guests will be entertained by the Abba tribute band Take A Chance, who will perform the Swedish group’s best-known hits from the 1970s and 1980s.

“The Glitter Ball concept is perfect for a band such as ours,” says the singer Fearn, who plays Frida. “Our wonderful fashion, glittery make-up and sparkling personalities will shine through.”

“The audience should expect the unexpected,” says Ade, aka Bjorn. “Whether it be Frida and Benny having a falling out or our bass player forgetting his keys – which he needs to open his amplifier – it should be a wonderful night and we are all looking forward to it very much.”

Eyes on the prize

As the event has grown in size and stature over the past decade, so too have its numerous prize-giveaways. Up for grabs tomorrow are sports hospitality packages to the Dubai World Cup and London Saracens Rugby. That’s in addition to – listen up ladies – a dazzling two-carat diamond. Guests are encouraged to check out the offerings online before the event or participate in auctions and contests on the night between gourmet courses. All proceeds will go to Friends of Cancer Patients, the Sharjah-based society providing medical, financial and emotional support to sufferers and their families in the Emirates.

Smashing records

The Oil Barons Ball of 2011 raised a headline-grabbing Dh997,000 for Friends of Cancer Patients, more than double the amount raised the year before. While it was the single biggest contribution the charity received since the ball’s organisers became patrons five years ago, the committee is determined to top that amount this year. Arguably destined to attract the most generous donations are the items listed for the silent auction. With a reserve price of Dh7,500, you could be the lucky recipient of a Tour de France winner’s jersey, signed by nine previous champions.

Or, how about a classic black-and-white photograph of Sean Connery posing with his secret agent’s gun, reminiscent of the 007 role he played seven times? Bidding for Bond starts at Dh7,000, while a signed guitar by The Rolling Stones has a reserve price of Dh12,000.

Business & pleasure

Philanthropy and fundraising aside, the yearly ball also has a more serious corporate side that involves the appointment of an Oil Baron. Nominated by the public and the readers of the industry publication Pipeline magazine, the person bestowed with the accolade has normally risen to the top of their profession and made waves in the energy field. Requirements for receiving the lifetime achievement award are that he/she must be recognised as an innovator, have a strong community spirit, have lived and worked in the region and actively promoted the Gulf’s oil and gas sector.

Those on the judging panel this year include heavyweights from Shell Abu Dhabi, Oxy and Ernst & Young. Alistair Davidson, the co-founder of SPD, received the honour last year and will present a 10-gallon Stetson hat to the new Baron tomorrow.


Tickets, available to all, are priced at Dh1,286 for individuals and go up to a tier one table for 10 at Dh11,019. For more information, visit www.theoilbaronscharityball.com



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