x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Grand Prix concerts to start with Beyoncé

The American R&B singer Beyoncé will kick-start a weekend of entertainment during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Beyoncé is one of the performers confirmed to play during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Beyoncé is one of the performers confirmed to play during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi // The American R&B singer Beyoncé will kick-start a weekend of entertainment during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, performing for tens of thousands of race ticket holders on October 29. Those who have bought tickets for the Formula One racing are guaranteed free access to stage performances on the days for which they hold tickets, said John Lickrish, managing director of Flash, the concert organiser.

The 25,000 people with three-day tickets will also be able to attend the opening concert. Relatively few people who have not bought race tickets will be able to attend any of the concerts; a limited number of show tickets will be given to members of the public. After Formula One stars such as Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and the world championships leader Jenson Button leave the track for the day, the entertainment will be far from over.

Beyoncé, a multi-Grammy Award winner, has been confirmed to play the opening night, sources close to the organisers have said. Aerosmith, the rock band known for hits including Walk This Way and I Don't Want to Miss a Thing, will perform the grand finale for the festivities, after Formula One's first day-night race on November 1. The 22,000 people who have bought Saturday and Sunday passes will be able to attend the evening events on both days, organisers said. "We are aware of the confusion, but it is simple: if you are able to get on to the racetrack on any given day, you can come to see the artist that evening," Mr Lickrish said.

To accommodate all ticket holders, the concerts will have a capacity matching that of the circuit - which seats more than 41,000. "It is very likely on the Saturday and Sunday we will have the vast majority of people who are at the race coming to see the gig. We will be able to get them all in," Mr Lickrish said. "If people have read something saying it will only be a few thousand who can see the concerts, it is totally wrong. It will be more like 40,000 plus."

A huge stage has been constructed opposite the Yas Island track's North Grandstand at the Ferrari World Concert Arena. Sources close to the organisers dismissed media reports that the US band No Doubt, headed by the singer and fashion designer Gwen Stefani, and the Canadian singer Nelly Furtado would perform on October 30 and 31. Organisers have also denied that the Australian rockers AC/DC or the Irish band U2 will play, as had been rumoured. Two more acts will be announced early next week, they said. A stage is also being constructed on the Corniche, where events will be held in tandem with the Formula One entertainment.

Last week, the developer Aldar Properties handed the Yas Marina Circuit over to the organisers of the Grand Prix, two and a half years after construction began and six weeks before the track's first race. The race weekend is expected to attract almost 60,000 fans, and organisers said 90 per cent of the tickets had already been sold. lmorris@thenational.ae