New Year's Eve in Abu Dhabi: Over 1 million visitors witness 4 record-breaking shows at Sheikh Zayed Festival

The cultural and entertainment festival will run until March 18 in Al Wathba with a minimum entry of Dh5

By A Staff reporter

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Published: Sun 1 Jan 2023, 5:31 PM

Last updated: Sun 1 Jan 2023, 7:56 PM

The Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi welcomed more than a million visitors during the New Year's Eve celebrations at Al Wathba, where four Guinness World Records were shattered with the largest fireworks display and drone show.

People from the UAE and abroad thronged the festival, where three records were broken during more than 40-minute-long impressive fireworks and one through a jaw-dropping drone show. It was a nearly hour-long spectacle, with as many as 3,000 drones up in the skies creating an extraordinary visual experience leading to the 2023 countdown and simultaneously, at the other end, the much-anticipated fireworks went off at midnight.

The organisers stressed that such a show was held for the first time in the region and was documented by the Guinness World Records.

Photo: Ashwani Kumar
Photo: Ashwani Kumar

The spectacular drones swarming together made several giant messages and shapes in various hues like 'Hayakum', 'World's Coolest Winter', 'Hello Future', '2022-2071', 'Rashid Rover' etc. It was the formation of the largest multirotor/drone QR code that broke a record.

record-breaking QR code formation. Photo: Ashwani Kumar
record-breaking QR code formation. Photo: Ashwani Kumar

Three records were broken with more than 40 minutes long fireworks in terms of quantity, formation and duration.

Alwaleed Osman, official adjudicator, Guinness World Records, confirmed that four records were broken and noted that it was a hectic process to ensure all guidelines and specifications were followed in breaking all four records.

Photo: WAM
Photo: WAM

"I was at the drone site. I had to check all the drones were launched properly. Then rush back to see if the QR code made by the drones was readable through a camera phone," Osman told Khaleej Times.

As the fireworks started, he made a dash to the fireworks control centre to follow the proceedings and later reviewed the video footage in slow motion to ascertain all three records were broken. The records were broken for most pinwheels launched in 30 seconds, most repeated firework image formations in 30 seconds and most girandola launched in 30 seconds.

"We are pleased to be at the Sheikh Zayed Festival to witness its 2023 New Year's celebrations, and we extend our congratulations to the organisers, who consistently break records annually in order to delightfully entertain the audience," Osman added.

Photo: Ashwani Kumar
Photo: Ashwani Kumar


The scintillating fireworks, drone and laser show mesmerised the capacity crowd, the majority of whom stayed on at the festival site for a few more hours.

The celebrations of the participating countries included entertaining international folklore and cultural presentations that roamed the Festival grounds and pavilions, turning the area into a global artistic destination. Visitors experienced the art and culture of these countries through its cultural dances and live music presentations on the various pavilion stages around the grounds.

The cultural and entertainment festival will run until March 18 in Al Wathba. Entry fee is just Dh5.

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