PLAN YOUR SUMMER: FOUR FESTIVALS TO LOOK FORWARD TO

Summer may feel still distant, but with sales of early bird tickets for the Malta Jazz Festival starting on Saturday (17 March), Festivals Malta reminds us that it is never to early to prepare for four exciting summer festivals.

The four festivals, officially launched on 28 February, are the Malta World Music Festival, Għanafest, the Malta International Arts Festival, and the Malta Jazz Festival. The season opener, the Malta World Music Festival (MWMF), will be held in the stunning Fort St Elmo on 18 and 19 May. MWMF celebrates the beauty of cultural diversity, exchange and dialogue, along with the vitality expressed through the powerful medium of music.

Under the artistic direction of Renzo Spiteri, the festival has become an important addition to the country’s national cultural calendar. This second edition of the festival follows hot on the heels of a successful first, which delighted the lovers of world music. Early bird tickets are already available for this festival here.

One month after the MWMF comes the festival that celebrates Malta’s folk music heritage: Għanafest, on 22 June and 23 June at Argotti Botanic Gardens, Floriana. This festival serves as a prime platform for Maltese folk musicians and singers to expose their talents to wider audiences. The festival boasts three different sections: għana – Maltese folk song, local bands and artists, and foreign bands from other Mediterranean countries, all celebrating the Mediterranean identity. On top of the musical delights, the festival will offer its patrons a gastronomical experience.

The Malta International Arts Festival opens on 29 June, running through to 15 July. It embraces site-specific curation, music, visual arts, theatre, dance, opera, installations, films, community projects, interactive and participatory events, and education. All is designed in multidisciplinary fashion, through a celebration of the past, but also by promoting the art of our time.

This year’s highlight is a grand concert by the world-famous Royal Concergebouw Orchestra at the Manoel Theatre on 1 July. Another act to look out for is the literally gravity defying Aria by Italian dance company No Gravity at the Manoel Theatre on 8 July. The dance performance melds baroque music and costume with fantastic costumes, stilts and delicacy.Early bird tickets for this festival will be on sale from 6th April.

The summer festivals will come to a grand close with the Malta Jazz Festival, which opens on 16 July and ends on 21 July. Running over six days in Valletta’s historical setting, the festival presents the myriad styles which constitute the contemporary jazz world, without surrendering to the complacency of a line-up featuring pop or non-jazz acts. This vision is reflected in its eclectic line-up festival.

Living up to its reputation of having hosted some of jazz’s most important icons over the past 27 years, the festival boasts three stellar lead acts. If you have followed our news, you already know about the upcoming visit of Chick Corea, but in addition, Malta Jazz Festival is bringing stars no other than Christian McBride and the Michael League music ensemble BOKANTÉ.

In this special year, as the spotlight shines on Valletta as the European Capital of Culture, Festivals Malta director Annabelle Stivala drew attention to Festivals Malta’s goal to increase local participation: “The Festivals Malta vision is to nurture creativity, professionalism, participation and cultural education in festivals of the performing arts.” At the launch of the festivals, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici underscored the importance of festivities to Malta’s international branding: the festivals are “strengthening Malta’s global brand as that of a festival island, building on our authenticity and hospitality, where people can travel to enjoy their favourite art form.”

For more information, visit the official website.