Dubai of past and present: More than 500 drones, fireworks light up sky in mesmerising show

The spectacle will run until January 14 as part of the shopping festival


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 8:22 AM

Last updated: Sat 13 Jan 2024, 12:08 PM

More than 500 drones have been lighting up the night skies of the city as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival’s (DSF) iconic drone show. Telling the story of two Dubai's - one of the past and one of the future - the mesmerising display of colour and creativity has become an integral part of the festival.

According to Kaltham Alshamsi from the DFRE - which organises the event - the show is a result of months of hard work involving over a hundred employees. “The best feeling is during the testing night when everything you envisioned comes to life,” she said. “It is very fulfilling.”

Here are some of the top moments from the show:

The colourful display kicks off at 8pm every night with an image of a book opening. Kaltham explained that the idea they wanted to convey was that of a fairytale book opening to reveal a pearl, which is Dubai!

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The image of a pearl diver pays homage to the UAE’s historic activity of pearl diving and its contribution in turning Dubai to the city that it is. It is an activity that goes back at least 1,000 years - much before oil was found in the country.

After paying homage to the past, the drone show gives a salute to the future of the city with images of a pearl diver and astronaut reaching for the same pearl.

Kaltham said that every drone show requires months of planning and brainstorming. “It is sometimes impossible to put into action the image we have in our head,” she said. “Then we have to go back to the drawing board.”

This year, the takeoff and landing zone of the drones is at Skydive Dubai. “Think of it like a mini airport for the drones,” said Kaltham. The set up for the show starts three hours ahead and requires the drones to be arranged in a particular sequence.

The mesmerising drone show is followed up by a brilliant display of fireworks at 9pm. Different coloured pyrotechnics light up the night sky against the backdrop of the Ain Dubai.

The drone show is held at 8 pm and 10pm and the fireworks show is held at 9pm. The spectacle will continue until January 14 - the last day of DSF - and will be visible from Bluewaters Island and JBR among other places.


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