How stunning 41-minute Burj Khalifa show by DJ in harness on 149th floor broke two world records

A special structure was created for the musician, as the facade of world's tallest building danced to his beats


Nasreen Abdulla

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Photos & Videos: Supplied
Photos & Videos: Supplied

Published: Sun 20 Aug 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 20 Aug 2023, 10:22 PM

When Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren performed a 41-minute mesmerising set atop the 149th floor of the Burj Khalifa, it was a performance that smashed two world records. However, did you know he was wearing a harness? Edy Chereji, the co-founder of UNTOLD music festival has given a sneak peek into what went into making the performance a reality.

“Armin was playing on the rooftop of a terrace,” said Edy. “We had to create a special structure for him to be able to perform there. So to ensure safety, we put a harness on him.” The performance set two world records for a DJ performing on the highest level of a building and with the biggest LCD screen. While van Buuren delivered the performance, the Burj Khalifa transformed into a dynamic LED canvas, pulsating in sync with the DJ’s beats.

The special setup was made in the shape of an A with lights to match the mood of the beats. It took several hours for the setup to be designed and mounted on the 149th floor. “We had to be very careful with the weight of the structure,” said Edy. “We had to work very closely with the engineers from Emaar. Also, it was quite breezy, not a strong wind. The weather was pleasant and for Armin, it was a very special experience to see all of Dubai below him as he played”

Over 100 technicians from around the world worked tirelessly over two days to complete the shoot that took place in two different locations in Dubai. “The first day we shot completely in the desert just at sunset,” he said. “On the second day, we shot at the Burj Khalifa after midnight. Then we shot the same again at sunrise. We wanted to capture the beauty of Dubai at various times and incorporate it into our video.”

Another special A-shaped booth that van Buuren played from in the desert was specially flown in from Holland and was put in place using a large crane.

UNTOLD, one of the world's largest music festivals, is set to make its debut in February 2024 at Expo City Dubai.

Months of Planning

According to Edy, months of planning went into achieving the remarkable feat. “We started talking about the idea in December 2022 as we wanted to announce the arrival of UNTOLD with something truly unique,” he said. “We paid a lot of attention to detail and made sure that everything was perfectly planned.”

Once the plan was in place, the shot took place in April. “It was a very special experience for Armin as well,” said Edy. “UNTOLD has had a long association with him and we were very happy that we were able to stage this record-breaking performance with him.”

The entire shoot was done with 18 cameras, four advanced drones and a helicopter. It produced over 2TB of data that was then carefully combed through and edited into the 41-minute video that debuted on the YouTube channel of Armin on Wednesday at 7pm.

UNTOLD in Dubai

Scheduled to take place at Expo City in February 2024, UNTOLD will be a treat to music lovers. “We are aiming to bring together more than 75,000 audience members,” said Edy. “We will have DJs and musicians from all over the world. Not only will we have some of the biggest names, but we will provide a stage to local and regional performers. The whole festival will be divided into different stages with different kinds of music and will be an event where families can come together.”

Edy said that one of the reasons why he and his team decided to bring UNTOLD to Dubai was because of the vibe of the city. “In Dubai, when you have a dream and you work enough, you can develop one of the most beautiful things,” he said. “The leadership here have big dreams and we feel like we can contribute positively to the vision they have for this country.”


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