Abu Dhabi’s annual Al Hosn Festival is set to make a spectacular return this year, with the culturally-rich, 10-day programme taking place from 25 November to 4 December at the renowned Al Hosn site. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the festival will feature an engaging programme of performances, art installations, film screenings, culinary experiences, crafts and design.

A key component of the UAE’s cultural calendar, the Al Hosn Festival celebrates the UAE’s heritage and craftsmanship and connects them with the contemporary art practices of the emirate. The festival also aligns with the vision and mandate of DCT Abu Dhabi to protect, preserve and promote the emirate’s heritage, as the event showcases Abu Dhabi’s cultural scene, and also provides a platform for artistic experimentation and public engagement.

HE Saood Al Hosani, Undersecretary at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Al Hosn is a symbol of the emirate’s rich history and a source of enormous pride for our people. This annual festival serves as the ideal platform for celebrating both our vibrant Emirati heritage and creative, innovative contemporary art scene. We invite the community to come and experience a stimulating programme of cultural activities for all ages, which allow them to reconnect with the past, understand where we have come from, and look forward to the future.”

The festival will showcase a chronological and thematic programme across Al Hosn’s iconic buildings and outdoor areas. A series of activities centred around Emirati heritage, storytelling and artisanal crafts will take place around Qasr Al Hosn and House of Artisans. Visitors will be able to experience the daily life at Qasr Al Hosn during the 1950/60s with the ‘A Day in The Palace’ exhibition, which will showcase pictures, audio testimonials, and interactive elements to depict the traditional life of Qasr Al Hosn and portray scenes from the daily life of the Fort.

Elements of Abu Dhabi’s intangible heritage will also be celebrated at House of Artisans through demonstrations of Emirati craftsmanship and artisanal techniques. Visitors will be able to indulge in immersive experiences ranging from sensory tours to creative stations for photography.

The journey will continue through the ‘makers village’, which will feature artists and designers from local and regional concept stores, fashion designers, trendy brands, as well as culinary outlets. Open-air film screenings will take place throughout the festival, programmed by ImageNation Abu Dhabi, as well as the much-anticipated second edition of the Gahwa Championships. Visitors of all ages will also be able to enjoy a variety of creative workshops, including a coral sculpture session and an Arabic calligraphy masterclass from the Bait Al Khatt centre.

Lastly, the cultural journey will end with some contemporary artistic expressions, which will interpret the ever-evolving urban landscape of the emirate, which is rooted in rich cultural heritage and identity. Further cultural concepts will also be featured, including an installation by Cyril Lancelin, founder of Town and Concrete.

The visual arts programme of the Cultural Foundation will continue to portray the evolution of Abu Dhabi, from its traditional past to its modern and contemporary expressions. Three exhibitions will be on display: Mohamed Chebaa & The Casablanca Art School; Al Mujamma, an interactive archival installation encapsulating the memories of the UAE community; and Food for Thought: Thought for Change by Rasheed Araeen.

Cultural Foundation will also present a special performing arts programme in its indoor and outdoor theatres, featuring renowned musicians and artists. Additionally, interactive installations and workshops will be available at the Courtyard and the Children’s Library.

Building on the success of the Classic Cars Exhibition which took place at its first edition in 2019, the 2021 Al Hosn Festival will open with a parade of 50 classic cars, in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the United Arab Emirates.

Al Hosn is the original urban block of the city and comprises the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Cultural Foundation and the House of Artisans. Al Hosn is emblematic of the proud cultural heritage of the UAE, bringing to life the rich fabric of its history, people and traditions and highlighting the city’s future ambitions.

Al Hosn Festival will be open to the public from 25 November to 4 December. The entry fee is AED 15  for children ages 5 to 12, and AED 30 for adults. The entry ticket includes a site pass with access to workshops and family courtyards; it excludes separately ticketed performances at Cultural Foundation.

For more information, please visit www.alhosnfestival.ae.