Kanye West and Joss Stone will headline this year's Desert Rhythm Festival in Dubai, which will be staged at the Dubai Country Club from 26 to 27 October. Other artists confirmed on the bill include UK Ska legends Madness, Ziggy Marley, Black Violin, Helena Paparizou, Mika, Arash and Abri.
Dubai-based organiser Centre Stage Management is pitching this year's festival as an all-family affair, with various themed food and beverage tents, children's play and activity areas and free entry for children aged under 12 who are accompanied by a ticket carrying adult.
CSM vice president Lara Teperdjian said these initiatives would serve to broaden the appeal of the event.
"Our aim with Desert Rhythm is to ensure it appeals to a broad cross-section of the community," she said, noting that it contrasted distinctly with CSM's other major annual festival, the heavy metal-focused Desert Rock. "The introduction of these initiatives should ensure the long-term success of the event."
Teperdjian also confirmed that plans for next year's Desert Rock festival were well advanced, despite declining to confirm which acts would headline the two-day event. However, she did reveal that CSM planned to provide camping facilities for punters to stay onsite at next year's event and is considering adding a second concert stage, which would expand the festival's scope considerably.
"Desert Rock will always retain its heavy metal roots, but we believe there is scope to add complementary features to the event without diluting its core focus," Teperdjian said.
"As a result, we are planning to include a dance music tent at next year's festival to appeal to club-goers. A second stage would also allow us to add a large number of acts to the bill. It's something we're considering at the moment."
Teperdjian also confirmed CSM's 'Shamal' battle of the bands competition would return in 2008, with the winner being invited to perform at Desert Rock.
"We established Shamal because we recognised how difficult it was for young musical artists to receive recognition in this country," she said.
"There are a lot of barriers placed in front of them. For example, you have to be 21 to perform in a club and even then there aren't that many venues for them to play in.
"We invite bands from across the Middle East to submit demos and from that pool we select eight finalists. These acts then perform in front a panel of music industry identities. This year's winner received a two-year recording contract among other prizes and we are hopeful of providing similar incentives for the winner of next year's competition."
Teperdjian also revealed that CSM is planning to stage another festival in Dubai next April, but was reluctant to provide further details at the time of press.
In the meantime, tickets for next month's Desert Rhythm festival are now available from the Dubai Country Club and Virgin Megastores in the UAE, and are priced at Dh200 for each day of the festival, or Dh300 for a weekend ticket.
Further information is available from the festival website located at www.desertrhythmfestival.com