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Vogue’s December Culture Guide

As the summer heat finally calms down and we become more amenable to the idea of spending time outdoors, December is gearing up to be packed full of events and festivities across the region. From the Dubai International Film Festival to the debut of Modest Fashion Week in the Middle East and Sole DXB, below is a list of all of the events worth clearing your calendar for.

Nancy Ajram Live in Concert in Abu Dhabi
When: December 2

Multi-platinum selling Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram will hit the stage at Abu Dhabi’s Du Forum in Yas Island in celebration of National Day. Tickets start from AED/SAR 250 and will go on sale exclusively at

Riyadh International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition
When: December 3-6

Calling all chocolate lovers: don’t forget to get your caffeine fix at Riyadh’s International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition. The four-day convention will include a staggering array of stands featuring coffee, machines, equipment, products, and mouthwatering chocolate to try all under one roof.

I’m Not A Witch (2017). Courtesy of DIFF

The Dubai International Film Festival
When: December 6-13

The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will return to Madinat Jumeirah. Festivalgoers can expect more than 120 original and thought-provoking films from around the Arab world and beyond.

Young Saudi Artist Exhibition at Athr Gallery in Jeddah
When: December 6

The biannual spotlight on 25 talented young Saudi artists (between the ages of 15 and 30) is set to take place at the Athr Gallery in Jeddah. The gallery invites up-and-coming artists across a range of styles and mediums to present their work. Some of the participating artists include Bayan Abdullateef, Tareq Alkhater, and Rex Chouk.

Sole DXB
When: December 7-9

The three-day global street culture festival returns for its 6th edition. This year, Sole DXB aims to spotlight the influence of Japanese contemporary design. Sneakerheads can look forward to purchasing footwear and other attire from a slew of sought-after brands showcasing in bespoke, Tokyo-inspired booths and pop-ups. Brands include Visvim, Wacko Maria, Undercover, and Non-Native. There will also be interactive talks with influential names in design and fashion, a free film screening of Word is Bond, and an open, winner-takes-all basketball tournament made up of 11 teams from the region. You also don’t want to miss live performances from Pusha T, Anderson Paak, H.E.R, and GoldLink.

Courtesy of Sole DXB

Harry Potter in Concert at the Dubai Opera House
When: December 7-9

Brace yourselves, muggles. Harry Potter is coming to the Dubai Opera House. Fans of the fantastical book and movie series can relive the magic of the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in HD, while the Czech National Symphony Orchestra perform John Williams’ score live. Tickets start at AED/SAR 175 and can be purchased here.

Abu Dhabi Food Festival
When: December 7-23

The annual Abu Dhabi Food Festival, headed by some of the world’s most decorated chefs, is set to provide a mouthwatering culinary experience for foodies across the region. With more than 40 food trucks, tantalizing street food markets, and a series of tasting events in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra, festivalgoers will have a host of scrumptious food options to choose from.

Dubai Modest Fashion Week
When: December 8-9

Held in partnership with Emaar Properties, Red Connect, and Think Fashion, Dubai’s debut Modest Fashion Week will kick off at Burj Park, overlooking the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. The two-day event will see more than 30 international and local modest ready-to-wear, abaya, and couture designers unveil their latest collections on the runway. Tastemakers and influencers of modest fashion from all across the world, including Halima Aden, will be among the special guests. For more information, read our interview with founders Franka Soeria and Özlem Şahin here.

Halima Aden at Max Mara Spring 2018. Indigital

40 Mule by Festember in Abu Dhabi
When: December 13-17

As part of the Abu Dhabi Food Festival, Festember, 40 Mule pop-up dining concept – held under the Patronage of HH Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan– will be held in the capital of the UAE. The six-day event, which is in its third year, invites globally renowned chefs to cook up a feast for attendees.

Dubai Shopping Festival
December 26-January 27

The Dubai Shopping Festival is set to enter its fashion-filled celebrations with a number of stylish events around the city, including pop-up shops, runway shows, and installations. The month-long shopping extravaganza is a shopper’s ultimate haven. Featuring promotions and other finely curated shopping experiences, it’s the busiest retail season of the year.

First published on November 29th 2017

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