Published on Friday 19 January 2018

Last December Arts Council Malta launched Festivals Malta as a separate public cultural organisation. Lara Darmanin explains the significance of this major step forward

The rebranding of the Festivals Directorate as Festivals Malta is one of the key actions (Action 11) in Arts Council Malta's Strategy2020. Launched in December 2015, Strategy2020 proposed the establishment of Festivals Malta, including the Carnival Experience, as part of the Valletta 2018 legacy programme.

The hiving off of Festivals Malta from its ‘mother entity’, Arts Council Malta is a strategic attempt to facilitate the growth of more than 158 separate activities across eight festivals and five national events, leveraging a team of 20 talented, passionate and dedicated professionals along with eight artistic directors, who shape the current festivals directorate responsible for the programme of Arts Council Malta.

Festivals Malta will drive for greater focus on excellence in the execution of festivals and will create a unique brand identity around this sector. It will also be the organisation responsible for the implementation and running of the EU-funded Carnival Experience project, a tremendous opportunity to create a ‘year-round’ carnival experience… as well as the implementation of the Rock Hub which will be an incubator for emerging musicians and bands.

Furthermore, Festivals Malta will enable cooperation between events and festivals, regardless of their source, to promote artistic expression, cultural excellence and democratic expression, and this same cooperation will be tapped into to create economies of scale between festivals.

Festivals Malta will also be a focal point for outreach to other international festivals, providing opportunities for local talent while also bringing new and innovative ideas to Malta.

Festivals Malta will create Malta’s global brand as that of a ‘festival island’, building on our authenticity and hospitality – a place where people travel to enjoy their favourite performing art.

The key objectives for Festivals Malta up to 2020 are to:

  • Provide the right international orientated platform to sustain growth and development, as part of the Valletta 2018 legacy.
  • Focus Festivals Malta on having the highest standard events and festivals, benchmarked against top international festivals.
  • Implement the first phase of the Festival and Event Strategy in collaboration with public cultural organisations in order to reach excellence and innovation in the implementation of festivals and artistic events in Malta.
  • Continue to build on the current portfolio of festivals and events, bringing in new ideas and innovation.
  • Establish a strong network of affiliations with festival organisations, which will also include regional festival partnerships.
  • Drive further brand recognition for the Festivals Malta product.
  • Leverage synergies and optimise costs across the various organisations wherever possible.
  • Provide the right tools and enablers including the introduction of an integrating ticketing system that works across festivals, events and public cultural organisations.
  • Drive participation locally with more focussed and effective marketing tailored to each festival.
  • Engage with schools and communities on all levels to encourage participation in the arts.
  • Nurture tradition, emerging talent and identity through the Malta Carnival Experience and the Rock Hub.
  • Enable a national arts and culture calendar, offering a consolidated programme and driving greater synergies, impact and alignment across public and private cultural organisations
  • Work closely with the Maltese travel industry to grow Malta’s image and brand internationally as an expanding niche in cultural tourism.