When it comes to arts, culture and music events in Malta and Gozo, you’ll find a wide variety of festivals and events pertaining to all kinds of art forms. What’s more, while Malta events offer local artists and musicians the opportunity to showcase their talent, many events in Malta also include big names on the international sphere. In fact, some of the events held in the Maltese Islands are of international acclaim and are ranked among the best festivals in Europe.
Malta: A Hub Of Entertainment In The Mediterranean
Actually, Malta events vary considerably in genre, venue and target audience. Yet, most will include some form of visual arts or performing arts, such as dance and live music performances. Many of the events in Malta are coordinated by independent events organisers. However, several others are organised and/or supported by the Arts Council Malta and the Malta Tourism Authority.
Expect a wide variety of theatre and dance performances and concerts ranging from classical music to jazz and contemporary music. In addition, expect contemporary art exhibitions to short film festivals. Finally, there’s the traditional village festa, a cultural and religious feast dedicated to the village patron saint; a celebration complete with brass bands and fireworks displays. Indeed, the Maltese love their fireworks and any occasion is a good excuse for fireworks.
As a matter of fact, the Maltese love a good celebration and any opportunity to be merry. Therefore, as one might expect, full-blown arts and music festivals may run for days and weeks at a time. And if that wasn’t enough, European Capital of Culture Valletta 2018 adds even more oomph to a impressive calendar of events. Naturally, all these events are happening on a lively, sunny island that’s a real hub of entertainment in the Mediterranean. And we’re about to tell you what’s happening where and how on the island of Malta and the island of Gozo.
18 Highlight Events In Malta
1. Village festa (all-year-round, especially June-September)
There are over forty village feasts pertaining to the parishes of different localities around Malta and Gozo. An integral part of Maltese culture, these traditional events are a celebration of the patron saint of the local parish. Fireworks are a huge feature of the ‘festa‘, as are brass bands and food stalls serving Maltese food and drink, for example.
2. Local Council cultural events (April-October)
These cultural events by the Local Councils generally relate to that part of Maltese culture tied in with the locality. For example, reenactments at Medieval Mdina, bread making in Qormi, olive oil making in Zejtun or strawberry harvesting in Mgarr. There is even a chocolate festival in Birkirkara! In addition, expect food stalls, music stages and various activities for all ages.
3. Malta International Fireworks Festival (April)
The crème de la crème of international fireworks enthusiasts comes together under one sky against a unique Maltese backdrop. To this effect, the Malta international fireworks festival competition is set across three days in different locations.
4. Malta World Music Festival (May)
Set within Fort St Elmo, the Malta World Music Festival showcases world music by local and international world music ensembles. It aims to use the universal language of music to celebrate cultural diversity and exchange to inspire vitality and unity.
5. Earth Garden (June)
Earth Garden offers an incredible musical journey plus activities for all ages across four nights. Set within Ta’ Qali National Park, it is effectively a pop-up festival village with five music stages, a live jamming area, healing fields, an ethnic market, tempting food stalls and on-site camping, all nestled among the trees.
6. Valletta Film Festival (June)
Within the setting of the fortifications and ruins of Valletta, the Valletta Film Festival showcases various foreign films in the open air. An international jury awards five Triton awards for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Best Cinematographer and Best Screenplay.
7. Ghanafest (June)
The two-day Ghanafest festival centres around local artisanship, local food and Malta’s traditional folk song. In addition, it presents world music from the Mediterranean basin. Overall, the festival aims to highlight the unity in diversity of the traditional genre. The charming festival is set within the beautiful Argotti Gardens on the bastions of Floriana.
8. Victoria International Arts Festival (June-July)
The Victoria International Arts Festival includes a varied programme across a whole month in the island of Gozo. It includes theatre, music, dance and visual arts from various genres at a variety of historic venues.
9. Isle of MTV Malta & Malta Music Week (June-July)
Big names such as the Chainsmokers, Calvin Harris, Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg have graced our shores for the annual massive Isle of MTV concert. The Malta Music Week progresses into various music events at different venues, ranging from pool parties to live street concerts.
10. Sliema Arts Festival (July)
The Sliema Arts Festival is a unique concept bringing several local and international street and contemporary artists to work together to create street art while exposing their talents. In the years when it’s on, the festival includes six arenas of art and music with over 100 artists.
11. Malta International Arts Festival (July)
The Malta International Arts Festival presents a varied two-week programme of visual arts, theatre, music and dance performances at historic and open air venues. A broad range of genres aims to inspire a taste for the arts in different audiences. In addition, international guests offer master classes and workshops.
12. Malta Jazz Festival (July)
Few events have a setting as spectacular as the Malta Jazz Festival. An open-air stage on the water’s edge at the Grand Harbour, shimmering with the warm reflections of lit-up fortifications, hosts jazz music by internationally acclaimed musicians. Most certainly, this is one of the most prestigious music events in Malta.
13. Farsons Beer Festival (July-August)
Across ten days, the Farsons Beer Festival showcases the best of local musical talent from all genres. Despite being one of the biggest music festivals on the island, entrance is free. Locals and visitors crowd at Ta’ Qali National Park for the great entertainment and several cold beers.
14. Glitch Festival (August)
Glitch Festival is an electronic music festival featuring multiple stages. In fact, it tends to include an impressive line-up of international big names such as Nina Kravitz, Jeff Mills and Floorplan. Furthermore, your playground for the night includes a rooftop pool area, an underground vault, a 16th century Maltese hunting lodge and much more at Gianpula.
15. The Bubble (September)
The Bubble festival is unique in its not-for-profit concept to raise funds for various NGOs. Wholehearted passion goes into creating an ‘atmosphere of learning, creativity, fun, relaxation, charity, sharing of new ideas, and awakenings to what’s going on outside our Bubble’. Within a familial community vibe, expect contemporary art, music and workshops, with on-site camping by the beach.
16. Notte Bianca (October)
The city of Valletta remains wide awake this night with all shops, museums, churches and Auberges open. This includes Auberge de Castille and other places that are usually not open to the public. In addition, contemporary art and several street performances embellish the streets and make Valletta come alive during the Notte Bianca.
17. Birgu Fest (October)
The Birgu Fest is a two-day event similar to the Valletta Notte Bianca. This time, expect medieval reenactments and an artisan market as well as open houses and entertainment. Furthermore, the event includes Birgu by Candlelight, when the previous capital of the Knights returns to the shimmer of candles at night.
18. V18 (Throughout 2018)
A massive V18 cultural calendar has emerged from Valletta being European Capital of Culture 2018, with over 400 events across 365 days. Events in the cultural calendar include all art forms. For example, these include a variety of visual arts, art exhibitions and contemporary art; contemporary music and live music from jazz to classical music; other performing arts, including a variety of dance and street performances; and cultural events tied in with traditional culture, including the mandatory firework display.
Malta’s Impressive Events Venues
What’s special about Malta is that you can enjoy summer festivals and concerts under the stars and at a choice of historic venues. Indeed, can you imagine the spectacle of the Malta International Fireworks Festival lighting the sky above the Grand Harbour? Or the mood of the Malta International Jazz Festival on the water’s edge, surrounded by warmly lit city bastions? Verily, open air venues include the ruins of the Royal Opera House, erected in 1866 and destroyed by a WWII air raid; Fort St Elmo, with its important role in the Great Siege of 1565; and the massive space at the Granaries in Floriana from the mid-19th-century. And that’s not all. Indeed, the Mediterranean Conference Centre was the Sacra Infermeria hospital of the Knights of St John. Meanwhile, the Manoel Theatre is the oldest theatre still operating in the world, since 1732. And there are many more!
As you can see, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to arts, culture and music events in Malta. And few places in the world can boast such impressive venues as those in the Maltese Islands. Furthermore, find out how else to entertain yourself in Malta.