It’s no coincidence that two of the most successful recent additions to the F1 calendar – Singapore and Abu Dhabi – are both night races which also stage world-class concerts during the race weekend.
The benefit for spectators is that the majority of race tickets also include free entry to the various concerts over the weekend, making for a big weekend of entertainment. The benefit for organizers (and the sport of F1 in general) is that the concerts help to draw more non-traditional fans to F1 events. The organizers in Singapore and Abu Dhabi are seemingly competing with each other to attract even bigger names to their events each year and 2013 is no exception.
2013 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix
Since the Singapore event began five years ago, the city has hosted some big name acts for the race weekend including Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey and Linkin Park.
For 2013, The Killers will be headlining on Saturday night, Rihanna is lined up to perform after the race on Sunday night and a special Justin Bieber concert will be held on the Monday night. Also performing over the weekend will be Tom Jones, Bob Geldof and up and coming UK singer/songwriter Laura Mvula. Big Bang from Korea will keep local fans of ‘k-pop’ happy with their concert on Friday night.
All the concerts, with the exception of Justin Bieber* on the Monday after the race, are free to F1 ticket holders. The bad news is that tickets are selling fast for this year’s event, and some ticket categories have already sold out as of early this month. So if you want to catch some big name music acts and haven’t yet got your tickets for the Singapore Grand Prix, you had better hurry up!
*Fans can buy a stand-alone ticket for the Justin Bieber concert, with a big discount for holders of F1 race tickets.
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The Yas Marina complex has staged race weekend concerts from some of the biggest musical acts in the world since joining the circuit in 2009, including Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears,Kanye West,Eminem and Linkin Park.
Headlining the post-race concert at Yas Marina in 2013 will be huge-selling electro rockers Depeche Mode. They will be joined on the Saturday evening by Muse, arguably one of the best live rock outfits in the world. Local tastes are also catered for on the Friday night of the weekend when Amr Diab, Hussain Al Jassmi and Elissa will be playing. The concerts are held as part of the month long Yasalam Festival which also includes free concerts, film screenings and community events in Abu Dhabi.
Other F1 concerts
Many other races do organize concerts on a small scale involving mostly local artists. Earlier this year, the organizers of the Malaysian Grand Prix outside of Kuala Lumpur staged a Guns’n’Roses concert which was free to grandstand ticket holders (and presumably not that expensive to stage, given that Guns’n’Roses are no longer the draw they once were).
There are still opportunities to see big name acts on race weekend even when the concerts are not part of the race itself. The Rolling Stones scheduled their show in Montreal this year to coincide with the end of the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, no doubt benefitting from the increased tourist numbers in the city for the race.
Until last year, the promoters of F1 were endorsing “F1 Rocks”, which staged a series of concerts over race weekends around the world with performers such as Lenny Kravitz, Eminem and Jamiroquai, as well as dance music events at clubs in host cities. It appears that F1 Rocks is no longer active. The last concert promoted was a Santana concert at the Indian race in 2012 and the website (f1rocks.com) has not been updated this year. The venture can’t have been helped by the farce surrounding a Metallica concert which was to be held on the weekend of the first F1 Grand Prix in India in 2011. The concert was initially postponed after poor crowd control saw security barricades breached, but was then cancelled outright after the promoter failed to secure a license to hold the concert on the following day.
F1 Destinations is hoping more F1 promoters will try to replicate the success of Singapore and Abu Dhabi by organizing big-name concerts at their own F1 events in coming years, as the formula is clearly successful and helps F1 as a sport to win new fans.