11 upcoming shows, sports events, concerts and festivals in Abu Dhabi

It’s showtime…

Despite only being a little way into 2023, there’s already so much to look forward to in Abu Dhabi. Already scheduled in, are a collection of music festivals, global sporting events, shows from stand-up comedy legends, musical concerts, musical theatre, and much much more. Here’s a little taste of what we’re most excited for…

Zayed Festival

You can still get your fix of sky theatrics and engaging carnival fun at Abu Dhabi’s ongoing Zayed Festival. The weekly firework fiesta continues at the festival every Saturday taking place at 10pm, all the way up to the festival’s close on March 18, 2023. That’s not all that’s going on. There’s plenty of activities for little ones like a dedicated children’s city and go karting, plus cultural parades, an art district and even a dessert museum.

Al Wathba, until March 18, 4pm to midnight (1am on weekends), tickets Dhs5. zayedfestival.com

Masha and the Bear

Are you ready to see the adventures of this legendary duo live for the first time? Coming to a forest near you, Masha and the Bear Live is making its debut in the Middle East for a spectacular musical theatre adventure. Taking place at Etihad Arena, Yas Island, the 75-minute show will take place across two days, Saturday, April 29 to Sunday, April 30, at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. The magical forest experience will bring all your favourite characters to life including Masha, the bear, the panda, the tiger, and the penguin, as they discover the power of dreams and the true value of friendship. Hop aboard the train and prepare to be amazed with dazzling displays, music, snow, confetti, and many more surprises along the way. The immersive and interactive performance is sure to be an unforgettable experience for both children and parents alike.

Masha and the Bear, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Saturday, April 29 to Sunday, April 30. Dhs295 (royal), Dhs275 (VIP), Dhs245 (platinum), Dhs145 (gold), and Dhs95 (silver). etihadarena.ae

The Backstreet Boys

Global pop royalty, Backstreet Boys are back in the UAE for a one-night-only Yas Island date on May 7 as part of their DNA World Tour. The Backstreet Boys rose to fame in 1996 with the release of their first album, and went on to sell over 130 million records. The five-piece, comprising of AJ McLean, Howie D, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell have enjoyed worldwide success for more than 25 years, and are widely regarded as the most successful boyband of all time. Their back catalogue includes such 90s nostalgia-jarring tracks as I Want It That Way, Everybody, Larger than Life and Shape Of My Heart. But sadly, and we swear — we’re not playing games with your heart here — they’ve all sold out.

The Backstreet Boys, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Sunday May 7. etihadarena.ae

Jason Manford

jason manford

One of British stand-up comedy’s most treasured alumni, Jason Manford is returning to the UAE — with former collaborators, The Laughter Factory — as part of their ongoing Selfdrive tour. The date and venue have been set, he’ll be jetting into Abu Dhabi for a gig at the grand, Emirates Palace on May 12, 2023. Speaking of sets, you can expect Manford to be firing off wicked one-liners during his, of the sort “I’m getting my wife a wooden leg for Christmas. It’s not her main present, just a stocking filler”.  In addition to the back catalogue of sold-out arena stand-up shows, he’s won a huge following from his TV work. Appearing as team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats; he was a presenter on BBC’s The One Show; Show Me the Funny; A Question of Sport: Super Saturday; Bigheads; Ripper Street; Ordinary Lies; The Masked Singer; Royal Variety shows; and is a current judge on Starstruck, a British talent show that “tonight Matthew” is a reboot of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ with contestants impersonating their favourite stars.

Emirates Palace, May 12, 2023, tickets from Dhs195 via thelaughterfactory.com website.

Monster Jam

One of motorsport’s most exhilarating, preposterously-sized, gargantuanly visceral, petrol driven extravaganzas is locked in and scheduled to spin rubber in Abu Dhabi in 2023. The stunning-stunts and fantastical automobile mayhem of Monster Jam will be heading to Yas Island’s Etihad Arena for a May 13 and 14 double date tour next year as part of the event’s global 30th anniversary victory lap. Fans of all ages will be able to catch the gravity-defying, 110kph, six-ton, big-wheel escapades of legendary circuit veterans — Grave Digger, El Toro Loco and Max-D (though the full and fina line-up is still TBC). Tickets are available via the etihadarena.ae and prices start at just Dhs135, with pit party access available for an additional Dhs50 and VIP packages from Dhs645.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, May 13 and 14, 2023. Ticket prices from Dhs135, etihadarena.ae 


The cream of Bollywood will be arriving in Abu Dhabi for two nights of Green Carpet glamour, energetic performances, and the presentation of the industry’s most coveted awards. The celebrations of the 23rd Edition of International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards will be taking place at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena, on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27, and there are a range of ticket types available from etihadarena.ae.

Guns N’ Roses

Get ready to rock: Guns N’ Roses are heading to Abu Dhabi. The rock & roll icons will headline Yas Island’s Etihad Arena on Thursday June 1. It’s been five years since the powerhouse band, who’ve been rocking all over the world since the group formed in 1985. They were last in Abu Dhabi in 2018 as part of a stellar F1 after-race concert line-up. As they head to Abu Dhabi as part of the Middle Eastern leg of their world tour, Guns N’ Roses will perform some of their best-loved rock anthems from the last four decades. This includes Sweet Child O’ Mine, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Welcome To The Jungle.

Live Nation presents Guns N’ Roses, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Thursday June 1. livenation.me

Paw Patrol

PAW Patrol Live Abu Dhabi

If you’re looking for some exciting news to share with the kids, this will perk up a bunch of ears – Paw Patrol Live is returning to Abu Dhabi this summer. Taking place across four days from Thursday, June 8 to June 11, the interactive live show is bringing all of your favourite animals to life. Kids and adults alike will teleport to the world of Paw Patrol including Adventure Bay, The Lookout, Seal Island and other destinations with the use of classic theatrical scenery and a high-tech video wall. The adventure-fueled stage show includes plenty of audience interaction so little ones are encouraged to engage. Since its debut in the autumn of 2016, Paw Patrol Live has been seen by over four million people, with fans from over 40 countries. The unforgettable broadway experience and the exciting storyline have captured the hearts of parents and kids alike.

Etihad Arena, June 8 to June 11, tickets start from Dhs105 pawpatrollive.com / abu-duabi.platinumlist.net

International Basketball

basketball abu dhabi

The UAE’s basketball fans were gifted with a court-length nothing-but-net scorcher in October of 2022. Two top tier NBA teams, the Milwaukee Bucks (who also happen to be 2021 league champions) and the Atlanta Hawks, met in Abu Dhabi for a pair of pre-season warm up matches. And, as announced by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) at the ITB Berlin (the world’s largest tourism trade fair), the sport will make a triumphant return to the capital this summer. Abu Dhabi will host three games in August, with the the national squads of USA, Germany and Greece competing for regional glory.

Venue TBC (athough likely Etihad Arena), August, ticket price TBC

T10 Abu Dhabi

A tournament featuring cricket’s fastest and most exhilarating format, the T10s will likely be returning to Abu Dhabi for a fifth time later this year. The Abu Dhabi T10 is known for its quickfire wicket-shattering, big swinging, six-smashing, lightning-bowled, electric paced matches, typically concluded within a couple of hours. The UAE was literally the epicentre of the cricketing world two years ago, hosting the T20 World Cup, the IPL and the 2021 edition of T10 Abu Dhabi which took place in late January/early February. The tournament pulled in some A-List cricketing legends too, with impressive performances from the likes Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, and Faf du Plessis. Dates for this years tournament have now been confirmed as taking place between Tuesday November 28 and Saturday December 9, 2023.

Formula 1 Etihad Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It’s one of the highlights of Abu Dhabi’s global sporting event line up, the thrilling final race in the F1 calendar — and now with confirmed dates already locked in, tickets to see the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023 have gone on sale. And, rather excitingly, those booking in now, getting themselves in pole-position, will be rewarded with early bird prices crossing the finish line with up to 20 percent off the full price. The thunderous roar of elite engineering will be hitting the tracks of Yas Marina Circuit this year over the weekend of November 26 to 29. As always, ticket holders will be granted access to whichever artist or artists (currently all acts are still to be announced) are performing at the Yasalam after race concerts on that day, in addition to all the fun and gastronomic extravagance of the race village, the roving entertainment, and aerobatic displays. But, as a welcome little twist this year, you’ll also get entrance to one of the Yas Island theme parks too — Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, or Yas Waterworld.

General admission tickets start at Dhs450 for Sat-Sun access. Grandstand tickets start at Dhs1,200 and there are hospitality packages available from Dhs1,450. Tickets can be purchased through the yasmarinacircuit.com website.

Images: Provided