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11 December 2023

MOTN Festival draws 200k visitors to Abu Dhabi for festive season


The sixth edition of the Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN Festival) wrapped up on 1st January with more than 200k visitors of all ages enjoying a festive season of mouth-watering world cuisines, music, novel art installations, shopping, fun family activities and games, and a front row seat to Abu Dhabi’s grand New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Corniche.

The region’s ultimate entertainment event in the capital, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), which began on 9th December and was extended until the first day of the new year, brought people from all over the world to the Abu Dhabi Corniche for unlimited joy and immersive experiences across six themed zones – Inspire Space, Thrill Zone, Amusement Park, Food Hub, Live Arena and Shopping District.

The MOTN Festival opened with Miami Band, one of the region’s biggest music sensations, bringing thousands of fans for a rocking time in a sold-out show on the corniche, followed by their phenomenal closing concert on the Live Arena stage on 18 December. Other headline performances on the Live Arena stage for music lovers this year included the melodious Iraqi singer Aseel Hameem and Egyptian artist and TV personality Mohamed Hamaki, as well as regional and indie talents, such as Abri & The Everlasting, Amjad Shakir and As Per Casper.

Festival-goers also had some serious fun and activities this year with more than 15 never-before-seen Instagrammable experiences from various corners of the world, including the UK, Italy, Netherlands and Canada, making their Middle Eastern debut at the MOTN Festival.

The MOTN Funhouse returned with ANIMA, a mind-boggling light installation that interacted with the public in real-time. Families got to have great moments together in the Haunted House, Basketball Hub, Youseum – the social media museum – and the Superobject Arch by Office Kovcks art installation. Youngsters could test their luck and skill in the various arcade games, and virtual and real-life activities in the Thrill Zone.

This edition of the festival brought culinary experiences from across the globe to suit every taste. More than 36 local and international F&B outlets and food vendors took foodies on a gastronomic tour, bringing a symphony of flavours and cultures to excite their tastebuds.

The festival hosted chic and trending cafes and street food concepts, such as the UK-based bakery Peggy Porschen, The Knot Churros, New York-style baked cheesecakes from Whipped London, and juicy old-fashioned burgers from Patty & Bun for the first time this year.

The MOTN Festival’s Shopping District, a curated retail space along the corniche, featured 62 local and global brands, including London’s premier vintage clothing and international streetwear store, Dukes Cupboard, which showcased international names such as Supreme, Calvin Klein, Nike and Rolex, as well as Chicago Bulls merchandise and other vintage apparel.

For the first time, the festival was extended from 23 December to 1 January 2023 to give families the opportunity to create unforgettable memories during the festive season.

Visitors to the MOTN Festival also had the best view of Abu Dhabi’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display on the Corniche.

Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “The MOTN Festival evolves and innovates every year to meet festivalgoers changing expectations and sentiments, making this the region’s ultimate entertainment festival. This year, we welcomed an unprecedented number of visitors who came with friends and family to create special moments and enjoy the different immersive shows, immersive art and activities, and global shopping and food concepts all in one place. We thank all the participating organisations and our partners for bringing the best experiences from around the world to make this our biggest and most successful edition yet. We cannot wait to have visitors back in the capital for a more dynamic and thrilling edition of the MOTN Festival in 2023.”