The answer to the question on your lips is yes". I myself wondered loudly reading the piece of news about the 2007 Dubai Desert Rock Festival as my surprise came from much too many directions.
OK, Dubai is a very capitalist and cosmopolite country but nevertheless, still Arab. Now, I must admit I don't have extensive knowledge on how Arab culture and metal music mix... yet I guess you'll agree with me that this is a new and spectacular thing.
Secondly, I wasn't expecting big names such as Iron Maiden and In Flames to go on Dubai soil for a hell of a gig. Sorry if I was mistaking gravely but this is something new... Well, in Iron Maiden's case, this may very well be some "what about a gig in Dubai?"-thing but In Flames have not yet grown to Maiden's level...
Third, Dubai is well-known for the immense sums of money spent on Everything. I was wondering if they built some sort of special venue for metalheads but I learned that the DDRF would be held in the perimeter of the Dubai Country Club, so no new Wacken Open Air-like built in Dubai. At least not this year...
Tickets are pretty OK as far as the price is concerned, $95 for the whole weekend (including 2 night accommodation, breakfast, hotel taxes and service charges) or $65 a day. Funny thing as I was reading about a wet t-shirt contest taking place at the DDRF and I went like WTF? After reading the text carefully I noticed that only men could enter this contest and things went back to normal. Nevertheless, the title of my article has irreversibly changed... ha-ha-ha!
Now, what more can I say? It looks like March 9th and 10th will be pretty heavy in Dubai as the first day will feature bands like Iron Maiden, In Flames, Prodigy while the second night will have Robert Plant and Incubus. Junkyard Groove is a local rock act which will be present in the DDRF's stage in both days; is Dubai going for the metal? Anyway, in the end, I must tell you that the 2007 DDRF is not at all at its first edition but the 4th! Bands like Sepultura, Within Temptation, Testament, Machine Head, Limp Bizkit and legendary Saxon were there as well!
Hopefully, Dubai will add a new name in the rock/metal history besides the classic ones such as Monsters of Rock, Wacken Open Air, Metal Camp, WithFullForce or Earthshaker! Metal on, Dubai!
Photos by DDRF.