Maritime Senglea International Festival reaches high standards with EU project

03 Sep 2014
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The l-Isla Local Council presents the sixth edition of the Maritime Senglea International Festival, being held from Thursday, 11 September, to Sunday, 14 September, 2014, as part of the one-year Revival of Old Towns and Cities project, funded with support from the European Commission under the Europe for Citizens programme and the Government of Malta, which is also drawing to a close.

The other three partners in this international project, Zarasai of Lithuania, Daugavpils of Latvia, and Fara San Martino of Italy, will be arriving in Malta for the closing conference, being held between 11 and 14 September, when a policy document will be finalised. Both Zarasai and Daugavpils hosted follow-up conferences in May, with Fara San Martino hosting its conference last month.

Each conference had a different theme related to the Revival of Old Towns and Cities, with the Senglea conference focusing on physical infrastructure; Zarasai on the performing arts; Daugavpils on re-imagining the city; and Fara San Martino on active citizenship.

Each town also hosted a festival in parallel with the conference, with the sixth edition of the Maritime Senglea International Festival being held this year; an International Folk-Art Festival held in Zarasai; the Daugavpils Festival; and Gole e Sapore in Fara San Martino.

The common legacy linking the four towns in The Revival of Old Towns and Cities project is World War II, which significantly affected their cultural way of life, mainly through the ruins that survived the intensive bombardments, efforts to preserve treasures in these localities and the displacement of the population. There was a striking decrease in the population inhabiting all four towns, notably Senglea.

Senglea Mayor Justin John Camilleri said for the second year in a row the festival is closely linked to Revival of Old Towns and Cities project. “We have organised this project in strong collaboration with local entities and residents, thus land-marking Senglea’s name locally and on the European map. In this way, we are strengthening l-Isla’s historical, tourism and economic sectors, giving the city and its residents their due.”



We will be welcoming back some 100 delegates for the closing conference of the project and we are proud to have played a valid contribution,” he said.

According to Joe Scerri, Festival and Project Director: “The Maritime Senglea International Festival is so much about the town’s connection with the sea and its distinguished history. As we have also seen from the project, the people of Senglea have been outstanding throughout history and this legacy remains to this day.” Parliamentary Secretary Local Government Stefan Buontempo attended the launch.

The highlight of this year’s Maritime Senglea International Festival is a Grand Closing Concert featuring the Maltese band Winter Moods in a Homecoming Concert. The band which originates from Senglea, has not played in their hometown since 1998 and will be dedicating this concert to one of its founders and ex-guitarist of the band Steve Caruana Smith (SERP), who passed away in 2012; a Latvian contemporary vocal and instrumental ensemble, Vārpa, from Daugavpils, who are playing pop, modern and Latvian music; and a contemporary Lithuanian rock band, Atika, from Zarasai. This is being held from 8 p.m. onwards on Saturday, 13 September, near the Juan B. Azopardo monument along the seafront.

The festival officially opens on Friday, 12 September, at 9.15 p.m. with the unveiling of the Senglean Seamen Memorial by sculptor Cari Privitera and Bankijiet Idjomi Marittimi located along the promenade at Senglea’s waterfront.

A number of exhibitions and a fair are being held from 6 p.m. onwards on Friday, 12 and Saturday, 13 September throughout the weekend along the Juan B. Azopardo seafront. The Għaqda Sajjieda Dilettanti Barklori are holding a Boat Models Exhibition at their premises; Toni Baldacchino is holding a Namur għall-Baħar exhibition near the former Waterfront restaurant; Lewis Zammit will be conducting live mural painting with the theme ‘MC Escher – The Connection Between Senglea and Fara San Martino’near Dar St Anna; and the Malta Artisan Fair is also being held with the participation of local artisans and crafts, food tasting, children’s activities and more.

The Msida Sea Scouts and Band will hold a parade at 8.45 p.m. and an unusual sextet, KażinSka, is playing traditional Maltese marches connecting the traditional with the alternative on Friday.

On Saturday, 13 September, no fewer than six different exhibitions are being held with the theme ‘Exhibition Steps’ from 6 p.m. Cranes is a historical exhibition by the Senglea Historical Society in Macina Street.Kevin Attard and friends are holding filigree demonstrations and workshops in St Lawrence Street.

Ray Domenic Agius is exhibiting paintings on theSanta Marija Convoy in St Peter and St Paul Street. Marica Boxman is showing Marine Floral Art in St Anne Street and different artists from four countries are displaying unique and distinctive silver and pearl pieces with the theme I Gioelli di Nina in Marina Gate Street.

To add to the festival’s attraction a number of alternative experiences are also on offer from 6 p.m. Various artists are painting en plein air along the waterfront between the Macina and St Lawrence Street. Various artists hailing from the town will be showing off Senglean Talent – arts, crafts and hobbies – near the Macina.

The four partners in the EU project, The Revival of Old Towns and Cities, have stands that chronicle the project; Agenzija Sapport and Grupp Gwardjola have an interactive space; Charles Bonnici and Martin Bezzina Wettinger are exhibiting and working at Maltese stone and wood sculpture; the Malta Hospice Movement will be fundraising; and at 9 p.m. the Msida Ġostra are holding the traditional greased-pole competition opposite the Juan B. Azopardo monument.

There are three mobile performances from 6 p.m., with Tama Tnabar, a roaming troupe of drummers, parading along the seafront, a Knights Pageantry at Sea and along the Waterfront from 6.30 and a musico-grotesque parade of Carnival grotesque masks, accompanied by the Big Friends Guggen Band from 7 p.m.

Apart from the Grand Concert, from 8 p.m. there are other performances: Spirit Voices are at The Terrace near Macina Street; the Greenfields, Claritonics Quartet and Ryan Paul Abela are on the Slipway near St Lawrence Street; Xarulu’, Je Je and Sammy Murgo are at The Waterfront outside the former Waterfront restaurant; and the Southern Dancers, Exotic Dancers, Senglea Dancing Group, the Aurora Folk Group and l-Imnarja Folk Group are at The Siren near Dar Sant’Anna.

Maritime Senglea International Festival 2014 is being held under the aegis of European Destinations of Excellence and Aquatic Tourism Eden 2010. The festival also received support from the European Commission’s Europe for Citizens Programme, MEUSAC, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government and Malta Tourism Authority.

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