The Malta International Arts Festival is like a giant artistic hub offering audiences a cultural experience from around the world. Held in Valletta the arts festival in 2019 will be in its fourteenth year. The 2019 festival offers daily events from 29th June until 13th July 2019.
It is one of many festivals that Malta holds annually. It is always well attended by locals and tourists alike, and many of the biggest name artists in their field flock to the island every year to take part. The Malta International Arts Festival is a cultural feast of new comers and established artists alike, drawing on a diverse international flavour. Like most Malta festivals the aims are ambitious and promotes local talent where it can. This part of the Arts Council of Malta’s remit.
No matter if you are a connoisseur of the arts or just interested, or perhaps you want a good night out, the Malta International Arts Festival has something for you. This is your chance to:
- Immerse yourself in contemporary and traditional arts from around the world
- Discover Valletta. The events often take place in or near historic buildings significant to Malta’s diverse history
- Hear new, traditional, and exciting music, immerse yourself in thought provoking theatre, ponder over sculptures and paintings
- Become part of a big event feel and join in the celebration of art
- Join in the fun by attending workshops
- Enjoy an outing with the kids. There’s something for everyone, with some events geared towards young children.
The 2019 line up is yet to be announced. It is a good idea to keep informed via the Malta International Arts Festival’s Facebook Page. Alternatively, you can subscribe to their mailing list on their official website and receive alerts via email.
Incidentally, the organisers are calling for artists so now is your chance to apply to showcase your work at the event.
Once the line-up has been announced you can purchase tickets for the events via the official Malta International Arts Festival website. Last year, Early Bird tickets could be purchased from early April. As such, it is advised to follow the Facebook page or sign up to the mailing list, so you don’t miss out on purchasing tickets at a discount.
Pricing is yet to be announced.
Transport – Getting there
Valletta is well served by public transport and it is a good idea to use it to get around.
The Valletta bus terminus puts you right in the centre of the things and reaching the various venues are short walks way.
Car parking in Valletta is free after 6pm but is advisable to arrive sooner. You can park in the centre of the city or park just outside the centre and walk down the perimeter road.
If you’re catching the Sliema to Marsamxett ferry, many of the venues are easily reachable from the port. Check times of the ferries so you don’t miss your favourite events and indeed the ferry home.
Highlights of Years Gone By
To give you an idea of the diversity and the talent, here are some choice selections from the festival.
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam is considered to be one of the best symphony orchestras in the world. In 1998, the title Royal was bestowed on the orchestra by Queen Beatrix. Here, you can see some of its fine musicians in action:
KABU+ kicked off the festival in 2018 and the installation performance crossover featured in 2017. Will it feature in 2019? Time will tell.
KABU+ saw members of the the Big Band Brothers perform in detachable cube structures while Israeli-born dancer Oded Ronen, Imagery in Motion also featured. Intriguingly, an interactive sound installation called Bandli featured swings that played music once in use.
Ultima Vez is a contemporary dance company with an international audience. They operate out of Brussels and Flanders and appeared in the 2018 edition of the Malta International Arts Festival. Here is a flavour of their art:
Another Way Agbeko
Agbeko’s raucous-leaning jazz has been delighting audiences across the world since their formation in 2015. The band are strongly influenced by the 1970’s Nigerian, Ghanaian and Ethiopian club scene. Have a listen:
For the kids:
Alice’s Dream featured a giant puppet and was the brainchild of Catalan Company Teatre Nu. As you have probably guessed the performance is based on Alice in Wonderland. What you might not have guessed is that the audience becomes part of the production. Take a look:
The Malta International Arts Festival is arguably one of the most important festivals of its kind in the world. Malta is exceptionally good at putting together talent from around the world, and in some instances merging it together to create something new. Few countries can do this.
If you have a chance to experience the festival is it an opportunity not to be missed. Malta’s unique position in the middle of the Mediterranean attracts Europe’s and Africa’s finest.
Malta’s commitment to showcasing homegrown talent is to be treasured. Few countries invest in their people like Malta does, and the results of this investment are showcased year on year. In terms of the arts Malta is the place to be, and the Malta International Arts Festival will enrich you.
If you are planning a trip this July, you should go to Valletta and see some of the finest art in the world.