x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Kelly Rowland wows the Dubai crowd marking end of Eid

Stars from the West, including the rapper T Pain, the hip hop artist Sean Paul and the X Factor judge Kelly Rowland joined an array of Bollywood's finest at a festival marking the end of Eid.

Kelly Rowland performs at Meydan.
Kelly Rowland performs at Meydan.

DUBAI // From Bollywood to Hollywood, it was a meeting of East and West as a host of stars took to the stage last night for a musical extravaganza to mark the end of the festive season.

All week long, musicians from countries including the United States, India and Lebanon have been flying into Dubai for the Eid festival Shoppiesta.

The US hip hop artist T Pain opened proceedings at last night's grand finale, singing a mix of chart hits and quirky covers such as the chart-topping Low, Hey Baby, and Like a G6, as well as Wiz Khalifa's Black and Yellow, supported by a crew of dancers and rappers.

He was followed by the hip hop star Sean Paul before the former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland, who is now a judge on the UK television talent show X Factor, was due to take to the stage.

An array of Bollywood's famous faces were due to perform a one-off song and dance show in Hindi and English, suitable for the diverse Dubai crowd. A lone male, Shahid Kapoor, was set to be joined by an all-female cast of actresses including a former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, and Malaika Arora Khan, the wife of the Bollywood actor Arbaaz Khan.

The audience was as colourful as the shows promised to be.

Children and adults came dressed in Bollywood-themed attire while hip hop fans donned baseball caps and low-slung jeans.

In spite of the sweltering heat, 7,000 tickets had been sold by yesterday afternoon for the outdoor shows at the Meydan racecourse, and organisers said more people were expected to buy tickets at the door.

Sanjay Mahajan, a 28-year-old accounts assistant, went to the event with friends. "It's just nice to be doing something outdoors again now it's a few degrees cooler," he said.

Tickets were priced from Dh100, much cheaper than the usual Dh250 or more for concerts in the country's two biggest cities.

Vijay Kumar, a 20-year-old Indian student, said: "It's great that the tickets are so reasonably priced. We get to see all these amazing artists and for much less than concerts usually are here."

He said that the ticket prices allowed people on lower incomes or with big families to enjoy a family night out.

An Indian mother of two, Nikhita Patel, 43, brought her children and husband to the show to see some of their Bollywood idols.

She said: "As a family we always watch a lot of Bollywood movies together but it's important for me that the children actually get to feel the excitement and see these artists in real life since we're not in India.

"It keeps them connected to our culture and they've been really excited. The costumes and the music are something that are always more exciting to experience as a live show than on the television."

It is the third time performing in the UAE for Rowland, who has recently collaborated with artists including Tinie Tempah and David Guetta.

She is currently promoting her latest album, Here I Am.

Alison Bradley, 30, from Canada, was a Destiny's Child fan before the band split and continued to follow both Ms Rowland and her bandmate Beyoncé Knowles as they pursued solo careers.

"I saw Beyoncé in Abu Dhabi during the F1 and she was amazing so I really wanted to see Kelly too," said the administrative assistant. "She's an amazing singer and to get to see a show with so many other acts like Sean Paul all at the same venue is great. It feels like a mini festival. I've never seen any kind of Bollywood show so it's nice to have all these things mixed together which is what I love about Dubai."