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Be.St Carnival Group: Why Be A Thug When You Can Be A Dancer?

by Karl Azzopardi

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Reading this title has probably caused some confusion in your logically-inclined brain. Good! That means Carnival is working its magic. 

Yes, the season of comical nonsense and thought-provoking satire is upon us after a year of slumber. Covid-19 has delayed its arrival, but the King of Carnival emerged triumphant from his battle against this wretched beast and the time to celebrate is finally here! 

This weekend (20th-22nd May) Carnival companies will be parading the streets of Valletta boasting their two-year's worth of hard work and dedication in the form of grandiose floats, show-stopping costumes and spirited dancers. 

One such company is none other than Be.St Carnival Group, and this year, they're giving an interesting twist to a crime series that has been on everyone's lips this past year or so!

The Inspired Aspiring to Inspire

Be.St Carnival Group is led by Paul Chircop (left) and Stiefnu De Battista (right) – cousins who have shared a love for Carnival since they were children running around Maltese Carnival mammoth Paul 'Il-Pampalun' Curmi's warehouse. As their wonderous eyes indulged in this explosion of colour and floats, they started sketching their ideas which then led them to take over Chircop's late father's company then known as Beqqu Stiefnu Carnival Company.

De Battista describes the company as a local cultural group with a mission to inspire interest among youths towards this age-old Maltese tradition, as Il-Pampalun had done for them. It does so by conducting educational workshops, participating in local activities and, most notably, through its involvement in yearly Carnival competitions.

Be.St Carnival Group competes across all Carnival categories – floats, costumes and dance – and has quite a number of wins under its belt thanks to its diverse team of artists, volunteers and aspiring young helpers, together with some generous supporters.

The company's impressive portfolio of vibrant floats and costumes stems from its appreciation of cultural traditions across the globe as well as popular movies or series. From Toy Story to Oliver Twist and Aladdin, the mastery of this Carnival group stretches beyond imagination – and this year is no exception!

Gangsters, Gamblers & Dancers!

Now comes the answer to the question you've probably been pondering since coming across this article – what do thugs have to do with dancers?!

Well, this year, the company was inspired by a Netflix favourite that you've surely heard of this past year – Peaky Blinders. One would think that a series riddled with crime and bloodshed would have no place at Carnival, but, leave it up to Be.St Carnival Group to add some unexpected twists and turns that make it a fitting addition to this year's Carnival.

"We decided to take some elements from this series and develop a new satirical story where the gang people meet these lovely dancers and they decide that dancing is much more interesting than crime," explains De Battista. "So we present a scenario of gangsters turning into dancers!"

Be.St Carnival Group will be going head-to-head with other Carnival companies this Friday, 20th May as part of Section A of this three-day-long festival, so make sure that you book your tickets and witness the magic!

A Uniting Force

Unsurprisingly, like many companies and businesses all over the globe, Be.St Carnival Group had a rough couple of years, struggling to find volunteers and sponsors due to the restrictions and economic strains that came with the pandemic. Yet, it powered through with unwavering dedication, using virtual methods to maintain communication with participants and helpers to keep the Carnival spirit alive. 

This can be seen as a testament to the uniting force that De Battista believes Carnival to be, especially this year. "I believe that this year's edition is very particular and special, not because we are celebrating Carnival in May, but because now that the election is over, and Covid-19 is almost over, it is the right moment to unite as a country."

De Battista went on to say that Carnival is one of our country's strongest assets as it is unique and different to other festivals around the world, describing it as a tourist magnet and, most notably, the largest school of art in Malta. 

"This festival is made up of volunteers, tailors, welders, engineers, artists, sculptors, painters, dancers, choreographers, lighting designers, fashion designers and so many more creators. Let's make the best out of it, let's be creative, let's be satirical" - let's celebrate Malta's culture and talent!

Visit Yellow's Culture section if you wish to read more about our islands' characteristics and traditions.


About Karl Azzopardi

Karl is a content writer who loves getting lost in the natural beauties of this world as much as he does in the fictitious lands he finds while poring through his unending book pile.

If he's not with a new recipe, he's probably hanging out with his friends' cats or dancing alone on the roof to nothing in particular.