Step Music, in partnership with leading music streaming company Anghami, has announced the full lineup for its first edition.
The 12-hour music fest takes place on April 7 at Dubai International Marine Club, and features 17 of the region’s best acts across a range of genres including indie rock, hip-hop, electronic music and pop, performing only original music.
Headlining Step Music are the biggest independent Arabic-language band in the world, Mashrou’ Leila. The Lebanese indie rock band fuse the artistry of a music workshop with the punch of stadium rock. With their distinct approach to storytelling and orchestration, Mashrou’ Leila have created some of the most melancholic ballads and raucous anthems in contemporary alternative Arabic music. They regularly play to sold-out venues around the world.
Also performing on the outdoor Pepsi Stage are three of the hottest acts to come out of the region’s alternative rock scene – ‘Lebanese rock & roll’ band The Wanton Bishops, who are currently touring Europe with their electrifying live act; Jordanian indie veterans Autostrad and Lebanese indie-pop act Adonis.
On the indoor DMS Stage, visitors will see the best of the best hip-hop acts from the Mena region.
Aritsts include Muqata’a – the Palestinian musician and beat-maker who enjoys legendary status in hip-hop circles for his profound socio-political rhymes and his distinctive sound – and Iraqi-Canadian MC Narcy, whose smart, humorous, socially aware brand of hip-hop has won him fans around the world.
Also performing are Flipp & Daffy, the rap duo whose single ‘Ee Laa’ racked up more than 13 million YouTube views and topped the iTunes MENA charts.
They are joined by UAE-based artists, Malikah, The Recipe, and Moh Flow. All are renowned lyricists pushing boundaries with their hip-hop sounds and concepts.
Also performing at Step Music is Armenian-American musician and composer Bei Ru, known for blending Middle Eastern rhythms with drums, electronic sounds and live instrumentation.
Earlier in the day, an exciting roster of established and emerging local talents – Esther Eden, Layla Kardan, Sail Into Night, Pimms Brooke, As Per Casper and Saffron Collins – will be performing.
Closing out the night are DJs Mark Shakedown – who hosts his popular show “The Shakedown” on Radio One Lebanon every Saturday night – and Fady Ferraye, famed for club residencies in Amsterdam and Beirut.
“The lineup we have for Step Music is seriously incredible. It is diverse, it is cross-genre, and it is truly reflective of the region’s independent music scene. We are bringing together some huge acts, many of whom perform to sell-out crowds. To have them all together for a 12-hour music event makes a massive statement. We believe there is enough musical talent in the region to front a festival without having to bring in international commercial headliners,” said Big Hass, Step Music Curator, and host of Saudi Arabia’s first FM hip-hop show ‘Laish Hip-Hop?’.
"At Anghami we believe in amplifying moments with music, providing people with personalised recommendations, and the music they love. Big artists or small, good music is good music, and we are excited to bring together, in partnership with Step Music, such a great fusion of artists for an amazing 12 hour show. April 7 will be a day to remember," said Anghami’s head of marketing, Rami Zeidan.
As the latest addition to Step Conference, the Mena region’s largest gathering for the technology, digital and entertainment industries, Step Music will also feature a conference element. It aims to bring together industry leaders, record labels, producers and artists to explore the latest trends and challenges in Mena’s music industry, and how it will evolve in the future.
“We have so much musical talent in the Arab region, but there’s no real infrastructure in place to support and celebrate it. Step Music is a platform for independent local and regional artists to perform their original music and showcase the diversity that exists in the region’s music scene. It also gives artists opportunities to learn from and connect with industry players from all levels – giving them the step up they need to progress in their careers and contribute to the development of the Middle East music scene,” said Adam Grundey, Step Music Curator, and former editor of Rolling Stone Middle East.
Step Music starts from 12 noon on April 7 and is open to everyone, of all ages. Tickets to live performances cost Dh180 ($18.3) and include access to all 17 acts as well as food trucks, vendors, and other activities. For access to Step Music’s panels and talks, as well as live performances, tickets cost Dh290 ($29.5).
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