Sunday | April 08, 2012

Dubainight in The National

An Amazing Sandance
Posted by: Felicity Campbell


Apr, 07 2012


Friday's Sandance at Atlantis in Dubai was absolutely amazing. After tales of the last time's horrific beverage queues, the venue being massively overcrowded and the toilets just a warzone, the organisers listened and did something about it. Refreshingly, they put their hands up, admitted the problems, and said explicitly what they were doing to fix them. The result was a much better event this time round. Tim Derry, part of the Sandance team, said organisers had paid attention to social media comments over the previous Sandance, and as a result, had taken measures to make things go more smoothly. Extra toilets were added, the logistics of the standing and seating areas were changed, and extra beverage stands were set up. "We made commitments to people and I hope we delivered what we promised. It is a five star festival, and we want to give people a five star experience." blog_sandance_2.jpg

And how they did! Instead of the rushed and panicked feeling of a packed out concert, the mood was very chilled and easy going. It was easy to get refreshments, good food was available (try the burrito if you go to the next one) and clean toilets. It was a pleasure to be there. �

And of course there were the acts. What an amazing line up. Kaiser Chiefs, Armand Van Helden, Zane Lowe, Rizzle Kicks and Soul II Soul.

The act of the evening for me was Rizzle Kicks. Let's face it. The UAE gig diary has at times read like a parade of has-beens from decades past. Well times are changing. Organisers got it spot on. Rizzle Kicks are currently ripping up the music scene in the UK and now I know why. When they first came on the stage, I was cynical purely because of their age. I couldn't have been more wrong. Fantastic. They took over the entire stage with their charisma and energy. They won the audience over from the start and got them all working together. I chose to sit on a bank with a view over the crowd. It was so great to see all those people chanting back to Rizzle Kicks in unison with the skyline of Dubai twinkling away over the calm ocean behind them.

Rizzle Kicks were so good and the crowd so het up, I honestly had to feel a little sorry for main act Kaiser Chiefs having to follow them. But it was another brilliant performance, which saw lead singer Ricky Wilson jumping off the stage, rushing through the audience with security in hot pursuit, mounting a speaker, toasting the crowd and continuing the concert from on the top of it. So refreshingly un-Dubai. It was a small brush with fame for me as on his mad-cap run he nearly knocked me over on my way to the (clean, uncrowded) toilets.

blog_sandance_-3.jpgAs always, Dubai favourites David Craig, Da Sendri, Smokingroove, Charl Chaka and Mark Pickup gave excellent sets. Smokingroove told me that he had really enjoyed the night. "This was by far one of the best Sandances yet. Kaiser Chiefs and Rizzle Kicks gave amazing performances and I really enjoyed taking over from Armand Van Helden."

And if twitter this morning was anything to go by, everyone else had an amazing time as well.
Here's what a few people had to say.

@ForeGolfKids: Ricky Wilson is my new hero (not the "I don't believe it" one!) Cracking gig last night @Rickontour #sandance #yorrrrrkshire

@TheEccleses: Fabulous time at #Sandance last night. Kaiser Chiefs were amazing followed by a brilliant set by @zanelowe

@Rachebabez: Best time of my life PERIOD #Sandance @RizzleKicks performance!

And one from Ricky Wilson himself who seems as taken with Rizzle Kicks as I was. @Rickontour: Dear Jim. Can you fix it for me to go to a water park with Rizzle Kicks?

Watch this space for more information on the next one, because if it was anything like last night, believe me, you want to go.

* Felicity Campbell and Karl Smith
Pictures courtesy: �2012 Dubainight / Thomas SAITO
�2012 Dubainight / Romain GODON

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