"Hello, is it me you're looking for" sang the iconic musician on the screens especially set up by Flash Entertainment and Yas Marina Circuit in Yas Mall here, to announce the third and final act performing in the Formula 1 after race concerts this year. Lionel Richie the classic pop singer, famous for his melodic tunes such as 'Hello' will perform on the second day of the race weekend, on Saturday, November 26, "flanked" by Chemical Brothers on Friday and Rihanna on Sunday night.
The announcement on Tuesday took many die-hard F1 Grand Prix fans by surprise. And many, like Sultan Al Romaithi, were not very impressed.
"There used to be a pattern with the after-race concerts, which used to include a rock band, a pop group and a soul or R&B band, but this year there is a techno duo and two pop singers. Very disappointing," said Al Romaithi.
John Lickrish, CEO, Flash Entertainment, is convinced, though, that Lionel Richie will attract a big crowd and the concert will turn into a great sing along event.
"In choosing the after race concerts, we always go through a series of legacy artists. Lionel Richie is a fantastic performer and a great fit for Formula 1," Lickrish told Khaleej Times.
"Getting artists to sign up is always a challenge. Normally we'd offer a span of up to two weeks for the artists to choose a date from, but with Formula 1 we only have three days, and that was the challenge," he added.
As in previous years, the after race concerts are only opened to Formula 1 Grand Prix ticket holders. For everybody else, there will be live, and free, concerts on the beach, on Abu Dhabi Corniche, in the week prior to the race.
The entertainment programme of Formula 1 Grand Prix, will start on October 2 with Get Driver Fit, a fitness challenge for residents here and continue with several other fitness programmes, as well as the usual F1 Fan Zone and Beats on the Beach.
For the first time this year, all ticket holders of Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will have free access to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld during the race weekend. The free access will only be granted on each corresponding day of the ticket.
By Silvia Radan
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