Dubai – MENA Herald: Seated on brightly coloured bean bags in Burj Park under a moonlit sky while enjoying music by home-grown talent is one of the ways that people are chilling out at the Market OTB with their friends and families.

Market OTB, the unique lifestyle marketplace that has become a popular attraction of Dubai Shopping festival, is not only about shopping for fashion by upcoming designers but it is also a platform to encourage fresh music talent as well as other ‘pop-up’ films from Cinema Akil. Market OTB has also showcased renowned musical talent by Juliana Down, Abbo, Adam Baluch, Francoise Crosbie and many more.

At the mainstage, which boasts of the hashtag #dsfstage, gleaming with neon coloured lights, DJ Andy Swift starts off the evening with a music mix from various genres and decades, such as ‘Sweet Dreams are Made of This’ by Eurythmics, and ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. The mood into a relaxing space sets in with ease as the sun goes down. It is this chilled out mood that attracts people to Burj Park where they can sit on bean bags, enjoy conversations and good weather, tune in to the live music and films, or do some yoga.

One Indian family is clearly engrossed in the music show going on at the mainstage. 45 year old Mahendra Dhawley said: “I’ve been coming here everyday with Myiesha, our 7 month old daughter. Music seems to have a magical effect on my daughter.”

His wife, 33 year old Pallavi Mahendra, added: “Family time is key for us and music is something that my husband and I enjoy. Market OTB is such an amazing idea of an open park space for all artistic endeavours to come together so that the public can enjoy.”

Evening entertainment has seen Joanna Broomfield, one of the popular musicians on the Dubai scene, wooing the audience with her gentle voice as she strums the guitar. Two Palestinian friends, both 18, Qassem Ahmad and Yazan Juma Saleh have wandered into Market OTB as a result of hearing her voice from a distance. Qassem said:, “We were on our way to The Dubai Mall when we heard beautiful singing and we followed it right into the Market OTB. We enjoy all genres of music and on an evening like this, the music played by this singer is just perfect.” Yazan couldn’t agree more, as they both settled into bean bags and remained there for much of Joanna’s performance.

Healthy living is another key concept Market OTB has offered people mainly through yoga, piloga for kids and adults, flybarre and sculpting exercises. Yoga mats are neatly laid out on the grass and some people have come prepared bringing their own yoga mats. The 45-minute yoga session is delivered by Urban Yoga with simplistic yoga movements. Even children join in as it’s a fun way to get a stretch in the park. 25 year old Ivar Mai from Estonia said: “This is the first time that I’ve ever tried yoga. I wanted to try something new so that’s why I’m here. Though I go to the gym, play volley ball and have done some combat exercises, I found yoga a bit challenging especially the stretches. Still, I’m glad I tried it!”

Two friends, 26 year old Patrycya Czyzewska from Poland and 25 year old Milda Bietaite from Lithuania have been following the daily event happenings on the Market OTB facebook page. Patrycya said: “I’m a yoga enthusiast and doing yoga in the outdoor is key for my enjoyment. The concept of healthy living, live music, freshly prepared food and stalls with talented designers is something that I love especially when it is held in an outdoor environment.”
Another form of entertainment that has been used at Market OTB is the alternative films thanks to Cinema Akil. It follows a pop-up concept showcasing movies across all genres and decades. They have been showing two movies alternating during the Market days: the Albert Mayales documentary ‘Iris,’ and Bill Cunningham New York and Open Speech from Ex-Head of Tribeca Film Festival.
Butheina Hamed Kazim, co-founder of Cinema Akil said: “UAE is a vibrant place where people from various walks of life, with different experiences come together. I wanted to bring to the UAE the different perspectives from around the world through cinema. I opted to go for the pop-up format so that we could bring cinema to the people in places such as Market OTB. We took part in Market OTB last year and we have decided to continue doing it this year. Market OTB is all about community engagement where the organisers have focussed on independent designers and artistes emerging from the region. We looked at movies that celebrated fashion icons who were also independent designers and that’s how we chose movies that involved design and fashion but also highlighted the individuality of the people filmed”.

Market OTB is a main DSF attraction developed by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and the organisers of DSF 2016 in association with Dubai Design and Fashion Council.

DFRE has partnered with Emaar to bring Market OTB to a central location, Burj Park, for the benefit of both residents and tourists. This year’s edition features lots of new initiatives that promote grassroots talent and home-grown businesses in the region all sponsored by GMC, Red Bull Music Academy and Rainbow.

DSF runs until 1 February under the tagline ‘Unwrap The Exceptional’ and shoppers have just a few days left to make the most of the festival’s 21st edition and avail themselves of the best in shopping, winnings and entertainment.