Organiser plays down Desert Rock venue switch

A venue switch will not adversely impact this year's Desert Rock Festival, according to event organiser CSM.

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A last minute change of venue will not adversely impact the running of this year's Desert Rock Festival, according to event organiser Centre Stage Management (CSM).

CSM had intended to stage the two-day event at a custom-built venue located at the Al Sahra Desert Resort on the outskirts of Dubai. However, construction delays at the new site has forced the company to shift the event to Dubai Festival City (DFC).

In an interview with S&S published in November, Lara Teperdjian, vice president of CSM, said the Al Sahra venue would accommodate more than 50,000 fans over the course of the event. The substitute venue will limit this figure to 30,000.

"Al Sahra will undoubtedly be a great venue when it is completed," Lara Teperdjian told S&S last month. "Dubai Festival City will host all our festivals until the Al Sahra venue is established."

The promoter was also forced to relocate its other major annual festival, Desert Rhythm, to the Dubai Media City amphitheatre at the last minute following the sudden closure of scheduled venue the Dubai Country Club.

"The country club venue was pulled out from under our feet less than a month before Desert Rhythm. We had to put together an alternate plan for the event utilising the Dubai Media City amphitheatre," explained Teperdjian. "However, shifting Desert Rock to DFC from Al Sahra is relatively straightforward by comparison because the venue is ready for use and is well-serviced.

"The switch has affected some plans for the worse, some for the better. The new venue is not suitable for camping so we have had to cancel those plans. We will revisit it once the festival moves to its permanent home at Al Sahra.

"DFC is centrally located and is also a very popular shopping precinct in Dubai, with great access to transport and a large parking area."

Teperdjian dismissed claims the festival would also be impacted by noise restrictions following its move to DFC.

"No advice has been given to us from authorities in regards to [noise limitations]," she says. "The closest residential property from the site is 1.5 kilometres away and the hotels at Festival City are fully sound-proofed."

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