"It is exciting to see a stage being built in an area you are familiar with, knowing that tomorrow, a huge band is going to play there,” says Ibrahim as he drives around Dubai Festival City, an area that holds rocking concert memories for him.
“I do love going to Abu Dhabi, but it would be nice to have that excitement of going to a concert in Dubai, seeing my favourite band perform on a stage built in my city’s backyard,” he adds, while Metallica’s Enter Sandman plays in his shabby Wrangler.
Ibrahim is not the only concertgoer suffering from nostalgia. In fact, the common perception on the streets is that money is being flashed around with a blank yet chunky chequebook, flooding the deserts of nearby Abu Dhabi with the A-lists of music.
Everyone knows who the feeder is: Flash Entertainment. The Abu Dhabi-based event organising company has been responsible for bringing over the likes of British alternative band Coldplay, metal kings Metallica, and, most recently of all, pop queen Madonna, who is set to take the capital’s stage in June.
So where’s the money coming from?
Think again before making the assumption that moneybags Mubadala is the backer.
The investment company, which is owned by Abu Dhabi government, no longer sponsors Flash’s concerts, contrary to what most people may believe.
John Lickrish, the managing director of Flash Entertainment, says that this has been the case for four years now.
“We do not have any back-up from Mubadala. Concerts were run out of there at one point, but not anymore. It stopped in 2008,” he points out.
Instead, Flash is now part of Abu Dhabi’s government-backed media free zone, Twofour54.
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