Għanafest celebrates Malta’s folk music heritage within a Mediterranean context. A six-hour programme is arranged per day in three different sections: għana – Maltese folk song; local bands and artists; and foreign bands from Mediterranean countries all participate in celebration of the Mediterranean identity. Malta has been experiencing a folk revival in recent years and a new generation of talent is a clear indication of a movement that has grown with the times.
This folk music festival Għanafest serves a prime platform for Maltese folk musicians and singers to expose their talents to wider audiences. Although traditionally Maltese folk music (għana) is performed in the intimacy of bars in Maltese and Gozitan villages, the Għanafest organisation team is committed to supporting a continual revival of such traditional music within a creative and artistic dialogue between the past, present, and future of the art form.
The organisers also seek to involve communities from different Maltese and Gozitan villages by means of fringe events in relation to the festival. Through the collaborations with local councils and volunteers, Għanafest selects local folk singers and songwriters to participate in activities held during prime village feasts. Performances are programmed in such a manner that a holistic effect of the fringe events is reached, and thus increasing cultural awareness and communal experience of local communities in an active manner.
Għanafest invites international artists to participate with Maltese talent annually . The organisers seek to engage these artists not only as performers but also as collaborators with local communities. Such exchanges have proven to be very fruitful, raising the awareness of differing cultures while offering a bridge for such engagements between the foreign and local artistic and social communities. Additionally, the organisers seek to broaden the possibilities of cross-cultural exchanges and increase the profile of local folk music through the participation in international festivals, and collaborating with partners mainly around the Mediterranean region, thus bringing forth the concept of the holistic Mediterranean musical heritage.