By Andy Sambidge
400 sq m Skyline Stage being constructed out over the water off Abu Dhabi's Corniche Breakwater
A 400 sq m ‘Skyline Stage' will be built out over the water off Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater in readiness to host concerts at December’s Volvo Ocean Race Stopover, it has been announced.
Weighing in at over a tonne, the 20m x 20m stage, complete with 12m x 6m video screen, has five metres of underwater construction.
A team of 11 commercial divers are currently working on the project with two rescue divers and a commercial rescue team on hand.
"The Skyline Stage will be an incredible venue for our live concerts happening throughout the three-week stopover," said Mohammed Al Zaabi, from Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
"We have hundreds of people working on building the Destination Village which will be the perfect destination for residents and visitors throughout the festive period."
The Stopover begins on December 12 with the opening of the purpose-built Destination Village on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater.
The event’s curtain raiser will be the Arabian debut of BBC Worldwide’s highly acclaimed ‘Blue Planet in Concert Live’, which will be performed on the Skyline Stage accompanied by the 75-piece National Symphony Orchestra, Abu Dhabi, led by celebrity guest conductor, George Fenton.
The on-water action begins when the fleet of 65ft racing yachts arrive in Abu Dhabi on December 14, 15 and 16 following a gruelling 6,000-nautical mile journey from Cape Town.
Public viewing platforms in the Destination Village will enable visitors to welcome the boats and meet the crews, including Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, the emirate’s own contender.
The Volvo Ocean Race restarts on January 3 when the yachts leave for China.
As well as Blue Planet, the entertainment will also include Sting’s guitarist, Dominic Miller performing a free guitar, harp guitar and oud concert with award-winning British musician, Jason Carter, and Jordanian composer and fusion artist, Kamal Musallam, on December 16.
On December 27, there will also be a live performance of the Grammy-nominated ‘Lulu Project’, a collaboration between Kamal Musallam and Emirati folkloric group ‘Sokoor Al Magabeel’.