Full Moon Desert Drumming

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Dubai Drums - Full Moon Drumming
Dubai Drums – Full Moon Drumming

Did you notice the full moon this past weekend?

Every month, Dubai Drums organize full moon drumming out in the desert. As we would find out, there was much more fun to be had in addition to just drumming.

We met up at the Dubai Drums camp somewhere in Al Awir around 6:30pm where we transferred to Toyotoa Land Cruisers outfitted for dune bashing and desert safaris. Our ride was only a short 2-minute one to reach the drumming camp so not much opportunity for bashing but there was one dip that made Wee Scotch and I giggle uncontrollably.

I almost kicked myself for forgetting my DSLR camera but at least I had my iPhone cam.

Full Moon Drumming Camp - Dubai
Entrance to the Full Moon Drumming Camp

Upon arrival Wee Scotch and I went on a camel ride. I never worry about putting him atop horses, elephants, and camels – he seems fearless and takes everything in stride.

It was probably the shortest camel ride in my life (not that I’ve been on many) but my son was so excited and happy about it – it’s a joy to see.

Dubai Drums - sandboarding
Sand Boarding

We took a brief walk around the camp to watch people sand board and roll down the huge sand dunes.

As the setting sun said its goodbye, we plopped ourselves on some cushions, flipped over our drums and began drumming – following instructions from our facilitator, Julie-Ann Odell.

Julie-Ann Odell - Dubai Drums
Julie-Ann Odell – Dubai Drums

Julie-Ann started Dubai drumming many years ago:

“My name is Julie-Ann, and if anyone had told me ten years ago that I would be an African drummer performing in front of hundreds of people and getting them all to drum together as a tribe, I would have laughed and thought they’d been in the Dubai sun a little too long. This definitely wasn’t a road I had ever dreamed of venturing down in any way, shape, or form. As far as I was concerned, I was headed down the road to being a Public Relations Professional…”

To continue reading her journey and how it all started, click here.

Dubai Drums - Full Moon Drumming
Dubai Drums – Full Moon Drumming

She had a natural way of teaching us to drum as a group using neumonic techniques like having us drum to catchy staccato phrases like, “Chocolate cake is the best.” After a few minutes, I started feeling a slight tingling on my palm and had to take off my rings (I was so scared to drop them in sand especially when it was completely dark already) because they were starting to hurt my fingers and impeding my drumming.

Unfortunately, the attention span of Wee Scotch was about five minutes so he and I didn’t do much drumming after the initial warm-up. He did however, sit mesmerized through the entire belly dancing show – all of three whole dance sequences.

After the belly dancer, there was also a fire dancer and capira dancers.

Full Moon Drumming - belly dancer
Full Moon Drumming – belly dancer


Full Moon Drumming - Fire Dancer
Full Moon Drumming – Fire Dancer

The rest of the time we spent running up and down sand dunes and sand sledding.

There was plenty to keep the kids busy including a bubble machine and face painting.

Dubai Drums - bubble machine
Bubble machine


Full Moon Drumming - sledding on the sand
Sledding on the sand

I couldn’t stop marveling at how fine the desert sand was and how soft it was under my feet. Very different from the beach sand on the Dubai coastline.

So as you can see there was much more to do other than drumming and except for the lack of dune basing in SUVs, it was very much like a desert safari complete with henna tattoos and Shisha. Although I didn’t see the section where you dress up in abayas and/or dish dash.

Dubai Drums - shawarmas
Dubai Drums – shawarmas

A buffet dinner and unlimited water were included in the ticket price and the food selection included salads, tabbouleh, schawarmas, butter chicken, stir fried noodles, and my favorite were the grilled meat skewers. Soft (and hard) drinks were not included but were inexpensive.

Dubai Drums - grilled food
Dubai Drums – grilled food

By the time we left at 9:15 pm (after the fire dancer) the fire pit / bonfire hadn’t even been lit yet so the night was young but it was time to get Wee Scotch to bed.

Full Moon Drumming
Friend and Drumming Partner from “My Nutty Dubai”

Full Moon Desert Drumming: organized once a month by Dubai Drums. Click here for their website where you can book tickets online and for maps and directions. Tickets are 200 dhs for adults, 100 dhs for kids 6-13 years, free for children 5 and under.

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  1. I have done this long before I started blogging… no pics only fabulous memories. I want to do this once again so that I can blog on it and can add it to my ‘Things to do in Dubai…http://ishitaunblogged.com/2012/07/02/things-to-do-in-dubai-like-a-tourist-in-my-own-city/‘ But unfortunately every month there is only one full moon night and haven’t been able to make it since!

    I didn’t realise from your photographs that you forgot your camera. Lovely reading.

    1. Yes, I have been keeping this activity in mind for over a year – so glad to have finally done it. Wish my son had more of an attention span but was still lots of fun nonetheless.