Clubbing in Dubai: The Making of a “Party Capital”

Part of the Contemporary Gulf Studies book series (CGS)


The aim of this chapter is to assess the changing identity of the city of Dubai to becoming a hub of party entertainment in the Middle East. In 2012, Lonely Planet, named Dubai and Tel Aviv “today’s party capitals of the Middle East.” The juxtaposition of these two very different cities in the Lonely Planet’s world ranking of “Ultimate Party Cities” testifies to the transformation of Dubai’s identity in recent years. Israel has already had a reputation of a party outpost in the region thanks to, among others, a number of music festivals organized there (Best Festivals in Israel, Secret Tel Aviv. Retrieved October 23, 2018 from, n.d.), hence the inclusion of its capital in the ranking testifies to a long-standing tradition of entertainment. But Dubai, thanks to “the swank bars and clubs of the Middle East’s most decadent desert getaway,” (Lonely Planet, Ultimate Party Cities. Retrieved March 1, 2018 from, 2012) has grown its party reputation in the last decade and in the ranking, has outwon Beirut, a top contender traditionally known to be the party capital of the Arab world. This rapid transformation of Dubai’s identity is thus especially interesting to analyze.

This study will look in detail into the development of Dubai’s clubbing entertainment, particularly into the growth of the electronic music scene, from the point of view of the development of tourism industry. Electronic music has become in the last decades a global phenomenon, widely popularized on all continents and a major money generating business.

This research was conducted collecting data on the ground from nightclubs and through the analysis of their websites and local news starting from 2015. In addition, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with Dubai Brand Manager in 2016 and music producers involved in the clubbing scene in Dubai in 2018. The study builds also upon my past findings about the development of tourism in the Arabian Gulf region.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities and Social SciencesZayed UniversityDubaiUnited Arab Emirates

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