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Dubai Desert Rock Festival

By:   |   Jun 22, 2018   |   Views: 669   |   Comments: 0


Center Stage Management (CSM) embarked on a mission to develop and bring a full fledge rock festival to the Middle East. The first annual Desert Rock Concert featured two rock bands, The Rasmus and Juliana Down. The headliner, Limp Bizkit cancelled their appearance 48 hours before the show, allegedly because frontman Fred Durst felt nsafe coming to the region. Despite the cancellation (10,000 tickets had been sold) some 3,500 fans attended.


Dubai Desert Rock developed into a full day festival and featured well-known rock bands from around the world, including The Darkness, Machine Head, Sepultura and Within Temptation, which, together with two local rock bands Juliana Down & Nervecell played for an audience of more than 6,000 people. DDRF has now become internationally known as The Middle East Annual Rock Festival.


Dubai Desert Rock showcased its most renowned line-up yet, consisting of Testament, Reel Big Fish, 3 Doors Down, Megadeth, and local Dubai band Mannikind. Due to a conflict between the UAE's moral codes and the lyrics of Saxon's "Crusader" the band was not allowed to partake in the festival. The gates opened at 3:00 PM, and the last performance ended at approximately 12:30 AM. The additional attractions to keep fans busy and entertained throughout the day included, among other things, a skatepark show, hair designers, temporary airbrush tattoo artists, graffiti boards for budding artists to make their mark, cars customized and on display inspired by MTV's hit TV show "Pimp My Ride" and several vendors.


For the 2007 installment of Dubai Desert Rock Festival the following bands performed:

March 9:

Iron Maiden

The Prodigy

Stone Sour

In Flames


Lauren Harris

Junkyard Groove

March 10:

Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation


The Bravery

Prime Circle

Junkyard Groove


The year 2008 marked the festival's 5th anniversary and was the biggest rock festival to be held in Dubai to date. The festival was held in Dubai Festival City. There was a 50m suspended bar in the air as a world premiere.

2008 Line-ups

March 7:


Machine Head

Killswitch Engage

As I Lay Dying



The Galeej Gurus (Shamal winner)

March 8:


Velvet Revolver

Marky Ramone

Juliana Down

Spoon Feedas

The Galeej Gurus (Shamal winner)


Dubai Desert Rock Festival 2009 took place at the Dubai Festival City on March 6th. This year's event was a one-day affair in contrast to the last two editions. This years festival was dedicated to metal as seen in the poster. Final confirmation Opeth, Chimaira, Arch Enemy, August Burns Red and Nervecell have been confirmed to perform, with Motorhead to headline. Also performing are two bands namely Hatred from Germany and Scarab from Egypt who won entry by winning the 'United We Rock' and 'United We Rock- Middle East Edition't respectively.

So the line-up was :


Arch Enemy



August Burns Red





^ Blabbermouth.net - ROBERT PLANT Confirmed For Dubai's DESERT ROCK FESTIVAL - Feb. 20, 2007

^ Softpedia Audio News - Wet T-Shirt Contest @ Dubai Desert Rock Festival - Iron Maiden and In Flames, sworn to rock Dubai!

^ Dubai Desert Rock Festival 2008

^ a b Shamal details

^ a b shamalbattle.com

^ 2009 headliners

See also

Rock festivals

Global Metal

External links

Dubai Desert Rock Festival website

Center Stage Management website

Battle of the band contest website

Interviews with top bands at 2008 Dubai Festival

Categories: Metal festivals | Rock festivals in the United Arab Emirates | Music festivals in the United Arab EmiratesHidden categories: United Arab Emirates articles missing geocoordinate data | All articles needing coordinates

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