Making a welcome return to Barasti Beach, the Corona Sunsets Festival was back in force offering a free, weekend-long beach party for Dubai’s EDM fans. With acts including DJ Nicky Romero and Sam Feldt, promoters Urban Events joined forces with eclipse Staging Services to produce three memorable nights at the famed party location.
Located at the iconic Barasti Beach, in the shadow of the impressive Marina skyline, was this year’s Corona Sunsets Festival. The three-day EDM extravaganza has gradually become an annual event for the beach venue, taking place in late October to the delight of the Dubai’s dance music fans.
For its second year running, Urban Events was contracted to lead the concept creation for the festival. Leading the charge was company Director, Tammy Urwin. Taking on the role of Event Director, she talked to TPMEA about how she and her team approached the 2018 edition.
“This year marks the 10th anniversary of Urban Events,” exclaimed Urwin. “We work on a huge cross-section of projects, from private media dinners to festivals of up to 30,000 people. Sunsets is very much a global project for Corona, but their Dubai stop is definitely one of the ﬂagship events due to its scale.”
Urwin stated that on average, Corona’s other pop-up events usually only attract up to 8,000 people. Whereas the Dubai event is on a much bigger scale with close to 30,000 punters in tow. “Our role at Urban Events is to create the concept in collaboration with Corona,” explained Urwin. “We then talk to the teams at eclipse and the staging crew at Al Laith to make these ideas reality.”
The 2018 theme was sustainability. From a selection of recycling bins, furniture made from re-used materials, all the way to the bar staﬀ producing 100% sustainable cocktails, the commitment to the theme was undeniable. “We even had our suppliers fill out sustainability forms explaining why they had used certain materials – and how much of the equipment would be re-used,” stated Urwin.
Taking the helm for eclipse was Project Manager, Conor Kerestesi. The PM has become eclipse’s go-to specialist for weekend dance spectaculars at Barasti, looking after Corona’s Sunsets along with Smirnoﬀ’s similar project – Sound Collective. “Sunsets is always a great event,” began Kerestesi, while looking over the festival site from the upper deck. With the crowd already starting to fill the sandy dance ﬂoor he pointed out some of the highlights, specifically the towering Mandala structure upstage from the DJ booth which has become synonymous with the event. “The Corona Mandala is the heart of the visuals and we build the eﬀects and the attractions around this theme,” stated Kerestesi adding, “But every single time we apply small updates and surprises for the crowd, to make sure that all around entertainment is fully guaranteed.”
Despite his fondness for the event, Kerestesi conceded that on both years, he had experienced various logistical issues on site. “Last year was the first time we had run an event with the new pool, located several metres from the main stage edge,” he explained. The team actually finished building the pool a few days before the event, which was certainly an interesting experience. The latest incarnation also witnessed changes to the site with construction work taking place behind FOH; cutting into 16m of the audience space of prior renditions of the festival. Not only that, this meant eclipse had to alter its plans for incoming temporary generators, and spend a considerable amount of time on heavy cable management.” Despite the challenge, Kerestesi was able to liaise with all parties to find a solution. “In my experience, if you get the right people together at the right time and are willing to share information, a solution can always be found.”
More on this in TPMEA Issue 016 (pages 20-25).