Mid June, heat building seriously now, and thoughts turning to the granaries, il-Fossos, in Floriana. Part of Malta Music Week 21-26 June, Isle of MTV, now in its 7th year, sees the week go out with more than a grand finale. And with 50,000 or more expected, it overshadows a whole lot of open-air gigs across Europe this summer.
Billed by the promoters as ‘one of MTV’s coolest and most eclectic free European summer music events’, it also launches the MTV’s summer season with what it describes as ‘partying on the sun-kissed Mediterranean island until the sun goes down’. Not the most honed copy as it overdoses on the word ‘sun’ (luckily no sandstorms forecast for this Wednesday), but if you’re living somewhere colder and rainier, the billing does the job of luring you to Malta.
Brits are expected in droves as the headliners are British this year – Jessie J, Rita Ora and Rudimental and there’s Dutch DJ-music producer Afrojack (Nick van de Wall) who’s visiting IOMTV a second time.
A lot of cash is being flung at Isle of MTV and some public cash is promoting Malta Music Week via The Malta Tourism Authority and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Isle of MTV is therefore more than a massive privately-backed affair and seen to have deeper meaning in promoting Malta to the outside world. That’s a moot point. Some, like local DJ, blogger and writer of ‘Shunning Isle of MTV‘, might argue that it’s a duping hyped affair that does little long term for the islands and certainly nothing to help talented local musicians get a leg up. Malta Music Week seems devoid of much home-grown music; we did spot local artist Kristina Casolani. Of course, imports and big-bang events are needed to put an aspect of Malta’s summer tourism scene on the map. Music gigs and clubbing are growing and important incoming tourism niches. There are valid arguments for and against IOMTV, and while we’ve cynics and critics, the 50,000 revelers on the night won’t really care about reading messages into its whys and wherefores. But, summer night ‘partying’ with public promotion will inevitably be giving out signals of some sort. The Lady Gaga IOMTV year certainly did!
Anyway, whether you’re aiming to party with the 50,000 or not, you’ll get to hear IOMTV as wind direction permitting, around half of Malta hears it carried in the night air. Noise is after all par for the course on any summer night across the islands, so perhaps IOMTV’s billing as the launch of a summer of partying is spot on. MT, MTA, MTV – all coincidentally similar acronyms and made for each other. And who’s knocking the fact that THE isle of IOMTV is Malta when the whole IOMTV roadshow could have landed in the Balearics instead! Then again, that can have something read into it too.