If you thought all the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fun was contained to Yas Island, you’d be wrong.
The whole city will be hit by race fever as the Yasalam festival brings ten days of full-throttle action in the lead-up to the big race.
‘Live Across the City’ will see lots of live music, events, activities and shows roar into town ahead of the sporting spectacle, which celebrates its tenth anniversary on November 25.
Highlights will include a city-wide car parade, a motorsport-themed festival at A’l Bahar and a new supercar taxi scheme which gives guests the chance to cruise around the capital in luxury.
The festivities are being organised in a joint effort by FLASH Entertainment and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.
H.E. Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Tourism Sector at the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi said: “It is a great privilege to be hosting the tenth Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the capital.
“Formula 1 is just one of the many reasons why Abu Dhabi is an ideal destination, providing an array of attractions and events that cater to both families and young travellers.
“We hope this year’s tenth Grand Prix will inspire the local community and international visitors alike to directly get involved with what Abu Dhabi has to offer, not only through Formula 1 but through the other activities available in the UAE.”
The action kicks off with a parade of vintage and modern cars from around the UAE, which will pass through the city from 2.30pm on November 16 before coming to a stop at A’l Bahar at 5pm.
The 200 participating cars with gather beside Louvre Abu Dhabi before taking in Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Highway, Mina Zayed and the Corniche until it arrives at the Yasalam Pit Stop at Nation Towers car park, across from A’l Bahar.
They’ll be joined by a float for the parade, which will have six entertainers and a live DJ to help the crowds get into the party mood.
But that’s only the start of the festivities, with a packed schedule to keep people of all ages entertained at A’l Bahar until November 25.
The Corniche venue will feature an activation village with local bands and DJs daily, as well as the finale of the Emerging Talent Competition on November 22 when the top 4 budding music talents in the GCC take to the stage.
No fewer than 28 live acts will thrill crowds across the ten days, with the party going from 4pm to 11pm each day.
They include the likes of King Daffy, Flipperachi and DJ Outlaw on November 17 and Sons of Yusuf on November 23.
For the motorsport fans, the Pit Stop will also host an impressive display of unique cars to admire.
There’ll be a mix of more than 60 supercars, customised and classic vehicles on display at the Nation Towers parking area, provided by Street Meet Abu Dhabi.
And a number of F1 cars will be used as canvases to display mesmerising Year of Zayed artwork.
Visitors can race with their friends at the Race Room, or have a go at painting their own model Formula One cars.
While the gamers among us can race around an F1 replica track on remote-controlled cars.
Then during the race weekend itself, from November 22 to 25, fans can get the A-list experience with a fleet of 15 Super Taxis touring the city, including luxury motors such as Lamborghini, Maserati, Corvette, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Mercedes models from 12pm to 8pm daily.
Ride-hailing app Careem will surprise customers with free-of-charge branded cars to transport guests, with discounts and promotions also available to other users.
A number of super cars will take passengers on short tours of the city to give tourists and residents an early taste of the Formula One thrills.
They’ll take in capital landmarks such as the Louvre on Saadiyat Island, Emirates Palace and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Organisers of Live Across The City hope to make sure the whole of Abu Dhabi can get into the F1 weekend spirit, rather than just those with tickets to the big race.
And that’s without even mentioning the Yasalam post-race concerts, which will bring music stars Guns N’ Roses, Sam Smith, The Weeknd and Post Malone to the capital.
It promises to be an action-packed warm-up to get the capital ready for Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and co. rolling into town.
Prices vary. November 16-25. Various venues, including A’l Bahar, Abu Dhabi Corniche. www.yasalam.ae