On Wednesday February 28, Festivals Malta launched its four summer festivals: the Malta World Music Festival, Għanafest, the Malta International Arts Festival and the Malta Jazz Festival.

Speaking at the press launch, Director Festivals Annabelle Stivala spoke proudly about the solidity and uniformity the Festivals Malta brand brings to all these festivals, which fall under its remit. In this special year, as the spotlight shines on Malta as Capital of Culture, Stivala also drew attention to one of Festivals Malta’s primary goals that of increasing local audiences, by, for example organising outreach activities. “The Festivals Malta vision is to nurture creativity, professionalism, participation and cultural education in festivals of the performing arts. We are excited to be launching these four festivals that will start the process of bringing to fruition these important goals.”

Albert Marshall, Executive Chair underlined how by their very nature, festivals serve as a platform for artists. Through its festivals, Festivals Malta not only offers a platform to local performing talent, but through its international cooperation, it “brings new and innovative ideas to Malta”.

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici lauded the commendable impact that these festivals are having on Malta’s cultural calendar: “The great variety together with the high quality of these festivals continues to not only enrich our country’s cultural calendar but also to drive local industry, ever 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.

The full festival line-up of the season opener, the Malta World Music Festival (MWMF), was launched. The festival, which will be held in the stunning Fort St Elmo on 18 and 19 May, just by the Mediterranean Sea. MWMF celebrates the beauty of cultural diversity, the exchange and dialogue of people’s roots and the vitality that is borne out of such experiences and expressed through the powerful medium of music. Early bird tickets are already available for this festival at www.maltaworldmusicfestival.org.

This second edition of the festival follows hot on the heels of a successful first, which left a positive impact on music lovers over and above followers of world music. Under the artistic direction of Renzo Spiteri, the festival has become an important addition to the country’s national cultural calendar. This year’s line-up promises to impress.

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. This festival also offers its patrons a gastronomical experience.

The Malta International Arts Festival opens on 29 June, running through to 15 July. The festival embraces site-specific curation, music, visual arts, theatre, dance, opera, installations, films, community projects, interactive and participatory events, and education, in multidisciplinary fashion, through a celebration of the past, but also by promoting the art of our time. Early bird tickets for this festival will be on sale from 6th April.

Highlights of this festival include the 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.

The summer festivals 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 no other than Chick Corea, Christian McBride and the Michael League music ensemble BOKANTÉ.

Early bird tickets for the Malta Jazz Festival will be available from 17 March.