x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Musicians play and so do children on the Corniche

Castles in the sand and songs in the air as thousands attend the second night of free festivities.

The Lebanese singer Rola Saad belts out a tune last night on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
The Lebanese singer Rola Saad belts out a tune last night on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.

ABU DHABI // It could have been any day at the beach. Children built sand castles near the water's edge, families lounged on blankets and friends enjoyed a picnic.

But it is not every day that international artists take to the stage ahead of a Grand Prix weekend. Thousands turned out at the Corniche for last night's Beats on the Beach concert, which featured the Lebanese singer and fan favourite Rola Saad, the British ska band The Beat and the reggae star Sean Paul.

Yusra Alturk, 27, and Mariam J, 25, came with a group of friends.

"We plan on coming all of the nights," said Ms Alturk, who lives in Abu Dhabi. "We are coming for all the Arabic singers."

The group also planned to see the Lebanese singers Fares Karam and Haifa Wehbe over the weekend.

On this second night of Yasalam events, performers lit up a stage that was illuminated with white strobe lights and green lasers. Flags in red, white, green and black, as well as chequered flags, lined the beach and flapped in the wind as hundreds of people sang along with the music.

Sheena Kennedy, 37, watched her two young sons - Noah, 8, and Zach, 6 - danced in the sand.

"We can see everything from our balcony across the way, but the kids were really keen to see the action themselves," Mrs Kennedy said.

She was impressed with the beachfront activities and the schedule of events for the weekend.

"There's so much going on," she said. "Given that it's just the second year, it's amazing how much they've come up with."

But for at least two Yasalam visitors, the night's focus was not on the music.

"I'm a racing fan," said Roger Longes, 28, who took a break under a tree with friend Prem Tamang. "I just came to take a look around."