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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 March 2019

DJ Nicky Romero and Rabeh Sager to perform at Mother of the Nation Festival

Abu Dhabi’s annual entertainment festival kicks off on Tuesday with prizes adding up to Dh180,000

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Inside Quantum Imaginarium at the Mother of the Nation Festival's media preview. Leslie Pableo for The National for Haneen Dajani's story
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Inside Quantum Imaginarium at the Mother of the Nation Festival's media preview. Leslie Pableo for The National for Haneen Dajani's story

The finishing touches are being applied to the temporary buildings on Abu Dhabi Corniche in preparation for the annual Mother of the Nation Festival this week.

The 12-day festival returns with five new concepts that combine futuristic elements with entertainment and local culture.

Spread over a kilometre of the Corniche, the festival is split into four zones.

One is dedicated to the Special Olympics, which begins in the capital on Thursday.

At the Special Olympics zone, those who have signed up to take part in the Unified Sports programme – where people with and without intellectual disabilities are paired up to train and play sport together, – will play beach volleyball matches with athletes from 10 of the participating countries.

“The goal is to mix special athletes with society and to play alongside other players,” said Shaikha Almazrouei, project manager of strategic planning and legacy for World Games Abu Dhabi.

Videogame fans will be at home at the eSports Arena, where they can compete in tournaments against international professional gamers for prizes totalling Dh180,000.

“It will include popular e-games like Fortnite and Street Fighter,” said Ahmed Al Harmi, unit head of festival development.

“Gamers such as Mosaad Al Dossary, a Saudi Arabian who won the Fifa eWorld Cup grand final last year, will be there to take on challengers.

“And the games will be played live, so even people outside the festival can follow them through the festival’s app,” Mr Harmi said.

In the Happiness Zone, children will be challenged to find their way through a maze built inside a giant inflatable giraffe, or get lost in the moving grass inspired by the savannah.

At Art-Zoo – the world’s largest inflatable park that is being brought to the Middle East for the first time – children will be able to climb and jump around giant penguins in an inflatable Antarctica.

“We also left an empty space with sand for children to play freely, to take some time away from electronic games,” Mr Al Harmi said.

At the Progress Zone, visitors will be greeted by a web of neon string before being “shrunk” to enter the world of quantum mechanics.

And in the Particle Zoo, they will witness the “construction of the universe” through interactive props and screens.

A few steps from the Progress Zone lies a set of futuristic-looking chairs and a stage with screens behind it.

“This is the Gastrobeats zone – where local artists, whether UAE nationals or residents, will be performing live music and demonstrating dishes from around the world,” Mr Al Harmi said.

The zone combines food with music to provide an engaging experience for resident foodies.

The festival will also hold sailing and kayaking races for Special Olympics athletes at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club.

A number of regional and international artists will perform on the festival’s main stage.

They include the electronic dance music DJ Nicky Romero, who will be performing for 75 minutes on March 22. Saudi star Rabeh Sager will perform on March 15.

The festival begins tomorrow and runs until March 23. It will be open from 4pm to 12am Sunday to Wednesday and from 2pm to 12am Thursday through Saturday.

Updated: March 11, 2019 09:54 AM

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