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Al Hosn Festival presents an immersive eight-day programme of performances, art installations, retail experiences and more

Abu Dhabi has announced the full programme for the inaugural Al Hosn Festival, a new cultural event set to activate the Al Hosn cultural site in downtown Abu Dhabi from 12 to 19 December 2019.

Al Hosn Festival will be a new cultural experience which reflects and reimagines Abu Dhabi’s heritage and will offer a dynamic schedule of events and activities for all ages, featuring innovative performances, art installations, traditional crafts, retail, design and culinary treats.

Each element within the Al Hosn site – which includes Qasr Al Hosn, House of Artisans, the Cultural Foundation and outdoor areas – will be activated with immersive programmes that capture the journey of Abu Dhabi, from the birth of the emirate to the creative place it has become today.

A multidimensional event for the whole community

Qasr Al Hosn

As the home of Abu Dhabi’s heritage, Qasr Al Hosn will host during the festival a programme that celebrates the emirate’s rich past and fascinating history.

The Living Museum will depict daily life at Qasr Al Hosn in past times, focusing on activities that would have occurred within the palace during the past centuries.

Actors will re-enact 15 traditional scenes of Qasr Al Hosn daily life, depicting the welcoming of delegates, the art of falconry, the culinary experiences of cooking and feasting, children playing in the palace, wedding ceremonies, children memorising the Quran, and preparations for the seasonal movement between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Visitors will hear stories about the palace’s original inhabitants including Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikha Salama bint Butti.

Outside of Qasr Al Hosn, elements of Abu Dhabi’s intangible heritage will come to life through demonstrations of traditional handicrafts and skills with The Living Heritage. Artisans will demonstrate their skills in Al Sadu, Ghazal, Henna and many other traditional cultural practices, and visitors will experience the scents, colours and textures of Abu Dhabi’s traditional products displayed in an outdoor souq.

These special programmes will be accompanied by guided tours, ongoing traditional performances as well as Al Ruhool, a temporary exhibition of classic cars that explores the evolution of transportation means through history.


House of Artisans

House of Artisans will host series of workshops focused on Emirati handicrafts, weaving skills and artisanal techniques, where participants can get hands-on with crafting techniques in an intimate setting. Attendees can learn the basics of Al Sadu weaving, create their own bookmarks, learn to spin raw wool, try traditional doll-making, and more.

House of Artisans will also hold competitions highlighting Emirati culinary and artistry excellence. During the days of the festival, Abu Dhabi creative and talented cultural practitioners will compete in the Artisan Handicrafts Competition, in categories including Al Sadu, Talli and Khoos. Meanwhile, the Product Innovation Competition invites makers to design and produce creative lines using authentic Emirati handicrafts.

Foodies will enjoy the Emirati Culinary Challenge, which allows chefs of all levels to showcase their skills in whipping up traditional and contemporary Emirati dishes. The competition will take place over the course of the festival, with contestants facing elimination in each round.

The Sneaker Station at House of Artisans will spotlight footwear innovation, with top regional sneaker designer Bespoke dxb providing hands-on experiences for the public. These include introductory workshops to designing and customising sneakers, and the opportunity to customise shoes on the spot, using 100% Emirati handmade materials.

The festival will also feature sessions with Dominic Chambrone, the craftsman known as “The Shoe Surgeon”. He will reveal a new pair of shoes he designed that combine his unique modern techniques interwoven with aspects of traditional Emirati crafts. Visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in two workshops with The Shoe Surgeon himself, learning how to craft shoes using a variety of traditional materials and techniques including local camel leather and Al Sadu and Talli material.

At Bait Al Gahwa, visitors will experience the communal practice of making and serving traditional Gahwa (Arabic coffee), which has been an integral part of the Emirati tradition of hospitality and generosity for centuries.


A Landscape of Possibilities

Programmes for Al Hosn landscape will activate the outdoor areas of Al Hosn, providing a unique journey for visitors as they travel throughout the site. Spanning between historic Qasr Al Hosn and the modern heritage building of Cultural Foundation, the Al Hosn landscape is an oasis for all aspects of Abu Dhabi’s cultural scene, a place of exchange and possibilities.

During the festival, three new site-specific art commissions will be revealed in Al Hosn’s landscape. The Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem’s Directions, ‘From Place to Place’; Korean artist Jeongmoon Choi’s Drawing in Space; and The Bean Bag by artist collective XPOZE will be welcoming visitors to experience the immersive art installations they have created to transform and compliment the Al Hosn landscape.

A retail market will offer innovative products spanning art, literature, fashion and jewellery, by creative local and international brands including Local and Frame, Taschen, AlJoud Lootah, Kinto, Alia Bin Omair, Montroi, Operate.SQ, and Bespoke DXB.

Across the outdoor area, visitors will enjoy musical performances in various genres. Participating artists include Daneel Sayegh, Karrouhat (DJ), Khalifa Naser, DJ Badir, Noura Al Mazrouei, Raz Moussa, Adam, Ahmad Almansouri, Gohary, Masha and Hadi.

Cinema Akil will be hosting a series of open-air screenings of short and feature films, including family favourites such as The Never Ending Story, My Neighbour Totoro, The Sound of Music and Nearby Sky.

Creative workshops for kids will be taking place throughout the festival, including The Doodle Factory, We Make Carpets and Shoe Surgeon workshops.


Cultural Foundation

During the festival, the Cultural Foundation will offer a series of performances and creative initiatives, in including Najat Makki: Luminescence exhibition, highlighting Najat Makki’s experimental and open approach to various geographical and historic influences, as well as the exhibition The Tribute: A Dedication to Najat Makki, featuring the work of 19 Emirati artists who have been influenced by Makki and her dedication to the arts in the UAE.

On 12 December, the rock band JadaL will present songs that span generations. The band was formed in 2003 by composer, music producer, guitarist and vocalist Mahmoud Radaideh. They are one of the first successful Arabic rock bands in the world, with an ever-growing fan base.
On 13 and 14 December, Che Malambo, the Argentinian dance company, will inspire audiences with its percussive dance and music performances. Since its premiere in Paris in 2007, Che Malambo has performed around the world, including a highly successful 32-city tour from 2015-2016.

On those same days, the Iftah Ya Simsim programme will focus on Arabic learning content for young children. The show models important skills such as self-discipline and independence, and core social values such as sharing, caring, understanding and respecting others.

On 15 December, Maywa Denki will perform a unique musical performance with their original music instruments. Maywa Denki is a Japanese art group with a unique performance style that transforms each musical piece to a ‘product’ and their concerts to a ‘product demonstration’.

STREAM programmes and workshops at Abu Dhabi Children’s Library will be offered to encourage creativity and the development of lifelong learning skills.

Information and Entry Fees

Entry fees to the Al Hosn Festival are 15 AED for children aged 5 to 12 and 30 AED for adults.
Passes for all eight days of the Festival are available for 50 AED for children aged 5 to 12 and 100 AED for adults.

For more information, and to purchase tickets for the Al Hosn Festival, visit:


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AdamAhmad AlmansouriAl Hosn FestivalAL HOSN SITEAL SADUAl Sadu weavingAlia Bin OmairAlJoud LootahBait Al GahwaBespoke dxbChe MalamboCinema Akil in Abu DhabiDaneel SayeghDJ BadirDominic ChambroneEmirati Culinary ChallengeGhazalGoharyHennaHOUSE OF ARTISANSIftah Ya SimsimJeongmoon ChoiKarrouhat (DJ)Khalifa NaserKintoLocal and FrameMasha and HadiMohammed KazemMontroiNajat MakkiNoura Al MazroueiOperate.SQQASR AL HOSNRaz Moussarock band JadaLShoe SurgeonSTREAMTaschenthe Cultural FoundationThe Doodle FactoryWe Make Carpets

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