Taking place in February 2024, the event is billed as Dubai’s first mega festival.
Dubai has welcomed the biggest stars in the world, from the Backstreet Boys to Beyoncé. Now, it will host its first-ever mega festival, UNTOLD Dubai. The original festival started in Romania in 2015 and is making its debut in the Middle East in February 2024. Ahead of its launch, we headed to where it all started in Cluj, Transylvania.
To the rest of the world, Transylvania is famous for vampires. To local millennials and Gen Z, Transylvania is famous for UNTOLD Festival. Each summer, the city is taken over by youthful Edward Cullens and Bella Swans, as Romania puts on a party.
The eighth edition of the festival took place from 3 to 6 August 2023. One day was not enough to enjoy the experience, as it was epic in scale. The event bought together 10 stages, 250 artists, DJs and producers, and 420,000 visitors.
The festival kicked off in EDM-style. More than 30,000 people gathered in Cluj Arena, and DJ Alok opened the festival. The set included state-of-the-art fireworks, light installations and video displays. If you looked closely, you could spot steampunk-inspired décor, which included a bird spreading its wings across the stage.
Romanians aren’t shy. American singer Bebe Rexha declared: “I am so far from home, but to be here now is a joy”. She then bought two fans on stage to dance to her song Hey Mama. Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren invited 200 fans on stage. Plus, a man proposed in front of the main stage – she said yes.
If you asked anyone who they were most excited to see, we heard two words: Imagine Dragons. The rock band belted out hits from Bones to Radioactive. Martin Garrix played new remixes, and Eric Prydz, French Montana, Years & Years and (who’d have thought) Olly Murs made their debut at the festival. Plus, the line-up included superstar DJs, from David Guetta to Fedde Le Grand.
Cluj embraced the festival fever and it was packed with a who’s-who of Romania. It hit 30 degrees Celsius, open-air bars and restaurants were buzzing, and locals chatted to tourists. While the festival could have been more diverse – we spotted a handful of people of colour, which included a group who flew from Japan – it is bound to be different in Dubai.
UNTOLD Dubai has been created in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and Expo City Dubai. The blockbuster festival aims to revolutionise entertainment. Even the announcement made the headlines – Armin van Buuren playing at the Burj Khalifa, anyone? The event broke two world records: it marked the highest performance at the top of the world’s tallest building, and it used the world’s largest LED screen.
UNTOLD Dubai will be held at Expo City Dubai. The stellar line-up will boast international live acts and DJs. While the set list has not yet been revealed, here are our predictions. Since Armin van Buuren has been at every UNTOLD Festival in Cluj, we’re expecting him to show his support. Plus, we are expecting homegrown acts, such as the UAE’s DJ Bliss who played in Cluj.
When I chatted to one local about having his city taken over with tourists, he sighed: “It’s great to see so many people, but I didn’t get tickets and now I have FOMO”. So, don’t miss out – register now for UNTOLD Dubai tickets.
GO: Visit https://untold.ae for more information.