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Ira Losco's top tips for upcoming festivals in Malta

by Ira Losco

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I've recently visited Madrid to perform and the first thing I did was look through their music/cultural calendar to see what I could cram into my 3-day flying visit to the vibrant Spanish capital.

Sure enough I found plenty to do and managed to squeeze a trip to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, a walk through the Mercado de San Miguel and to sample the "best Tacos in Europe" as the locals would have it at an eatery sat on a corner which has a line of people waiting to scoff their glorious culinary treats all the way up the road. We waited…..we conquered!

Living the experience of visiting a city as a tourist has its pros and cons. The pros are that everything is new and exciting. Nothing seems too hard to do or too long a wait when you're seeing things through new eyes. The cons are that sometimes you might end up with very commercial, touristic attractions that don't necessarily reflect the true pulse of the city or country you're in.

There is no better way to discover or re-discover your own city than by being a tourist in your own country and use the numerous digital tools which in recent years have become easily available at the tips of our fingers.

I've drawn up a little list of what you might want to do in the next few months here in Malta and with summer fast approaching, these events are great for going solo or with the family.

Eco Market Malta - 25th and 26th May 2019

I was rather impressed to hear about the first edition of Eco Market Malta. Aimed at promoting Environmental Sustainability and Conscious Consumerism, this event definitely deserves a spot on my calendar. As the negative effects on our environment are visible, Eco Market Malta serves as the perfect opportunity to facilitate a shift towards a more environmentally friendly way of living and make a positive impact by helping us consumers become more aware of what we buy and use. As a result, it's going to be an eco-friendly haven, boasting products and responsibly ethical businesses featuring hand-made crafts, fashion items, beauty products and many other items at the beautiful grounds of The Gaia Foundation in Għajn Tuffieħa. Expect to find food that contains no artificial colours or flavours and guilt-free local delicacies, as well as clothing or homewares from ethically and sustainably sourced materials.

A series of workshops, inspiring talks by industry experts as the likes of NGOs, social enterprises and voluntary organisations and educational and fun activities for kids make this a great experience for adults and children alike who love our planet and want to become active participants in protecting it.

Earth Garden, 30th May - 2nd June 2019

The award-winning Earth Garden has been the top festival on the local scene for 12 years. With over 25,000 visitors both local and foreign every year, it wows its audience with 4 stages and various other areas such as the music playground jamming area, food court, healing fields, camping, as well as a fun park. Having been described by many youngsters as the festival they lost their virginity to for all festivals to come, Earth Garden kick starts summer in Malta and is attended by those who have a keen interest in non-mainstream bands and acts. The Roots Stage has welcomed some of the most popular world music/reggae and ska acts around the globe. Other areas such as Strawberry Hill, Enchanted Forest and the Electronic Sphere offer an eclectic variety of artists with a mix of music that includes alternative rock, reggae house, electro and drum and bass. Amenities such as the healing, yoga and meditation areas, as well as the option to camp throughout the weekend on site,  make it an even more appealing experience. It is truly Malta's own mini Glastonbury.

If you've decided to camp, have a look at our ultimate survival guide to camping in summer.

Isle of MTV Malta Special, 9th of July 2019

I still remember hearing the audience roar as they announced the lineup during the first edition of the Isle of MTV Malta. The feeling of elation hearing people scream as they heard my name mentioned was inexplicable, as was the incredulousness of having Maroon 5, Enrique and Akon performing in our island for the first ever edition of the iconic music station's event. Twelve years on and the Isle of MTV Malta edition is still going strong in il-Fosos square. This festival has elevated pop music in Malta and given audiences on this island a chance to watch mini-concerts by artists they probably would never have had the opportunity to watch, especially artists who do not tour Europe. This festival is so popular with mass audiences because it showcases artists who are currently breaking the pop scene or dropping their album imminently. Previous hitmakers have included Jason Derulo, Lady Gaga, Jess Glynne, David Guetta and others. The annual festival offers a world-class line-up for free and promises a great night out under the stars. This year's lineup is set to feature Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha.

The Malta Jazz Festival, 15th - 20th July 2019

If you are a jazz aficionado then this is the festival for you. The three-day event which debuted on our shores back in 1990, is held annually outside Our Lady of Liesse Church and is known for featuring world-calls saxophonists, drummers and vocalists such as Mike Stern, Nathalie Cole and Wayne Shorter to name a few. This year's festival is set to be as jaw-dropping as the previous ones boasting an eclectic mix of contemporary jazz styles that are currently dominating the musical scene. Expect artists like Jazzmeia Horn and Omar Hakim, on-stage collaborations and instrumental master classes to dominate during the festival. Enjoy the incredible lineup of both local and international artists with the three cities as your backdrop while listening to excellent musicianship by the sea in Malta's capital city.

The Farson's Beer Festival, 25th July - 3rd August 2019

One of Malta's most anticipated annual outdoor summer celebrations, the Farson's Beer Festival promises 10 days of the best local talent and award-winning local and international beer at the Ta' Qali National Park. Known for drawing thousands of locals and foreigners, the festival offers a jam-packed programme of entertainment including no less than three stages, a large number of bars and food stalls, as well as an entertainment area for the little ones. This is one event for all the family that cannot be missed.

The Glitch Festival, 14th - 16th August 2019

Is house and techno music your thing? Then the Glitch Festival dubbed the house and techno paradise is the place to be. Set to take place at Gianpula Village with the ancient city of Mdina as the event's setting, the festival's 4th and biggest edition to date will see electronic music enthusiasts dance to the sounds of industry's heavyweights in its 6 stages. The festival's 2019 edition will see a carefully curated lineup of stars like Octo Octa, MCDE, Peggy Gou amongst others. What else can you expect? From rooftop pool parties to secret cave raves and the ultimate boat party finale that will bring the entire festival to a close, this is certainly a summer must.

In need of some camping gear? Get everything you need from these camping equipment stores found across Malta and Gozo and avoid ruining your night by reading some tips on how to survive a festival.

Keep on discovering local with Yellow

Ira Losco
About Ira Losco

One of the biggest names in Maltese music with a career spanning over 15 years, Ira Losco has performed in over 20 countries alongside industry heavyweights like Sir Elton John, Katie Melua, Maroon 5 and others. Also known for her participation in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002 and 2016, her chart-topping singles like 'What I'd Give', 'Me Luv U Long Time' and 'One in A Million' have catapulted her to the top of the local music scene and have seen her win more than 20 music awards.

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