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[WATCH] Carnival Village to double-up as music rehearsal and performance space

Plans for the Carnival Village will incorporate William Mangion’s expensive and much-maligned quest for 'garage spaces' for bands, as the Marsa-based Creative Centre will provide both rehearsal and performance space for local musicians. 

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
7 February 2015, 12:20pm
This year's edition of the Carnival will take place between February 12 and 17
This year's edition of the Carnival will take place between February 12 and 17
Owen Bonnici (Photo Ray Attard)
Owen Bonnici (Photo Ray Attard)
Jason Busuttil (Photo Ray Attard)
Jason Busuttil (Photo Ray Attard)
Artist's impression of the new Creative Centre in Marsa
Artist's impression of the new Creative Centre in Marsa
Artist's impression of the new Creative Centre in Marsa
Artist's impression of the new Creative Centre in Marsa
Artist's impression of the new Creative Centre in Marsa
Artist's impression of the new Creative Centre in Marsa

Video is unavailable at this time.

During a press conference on this year's carnival celebrations, the Malta Arts Council also announced plans for a new space that will house both carnival enthusiasts and local musicians.

Carnival director Jason Busuttil on this year's edition of the Valletta Carnival
Located on the Marsa ring road on the site that is currently used by the ‘Government Garage’, the Creative Centre will serve as a Carnival Village, in which carnival float makers and artisans will get to ply their trade in a substantial and much-needed space. But the long-gestating project will be wended to another much-anticipated and debated need in the local cultural sphere, as the Centre - build in a warehouse accommodating five floors and also incorporating a cafeteria and an interactive museum - will also house rehearsal spaces for bands, in addition to an amphitheatre which could be used for gigs.

“We want to do away with the ‘silo mentality’ in our approach to art. Art thrives in cross-pollination,” Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said, adding that the total cost of the centre will amount to €6 million, with €80,000 spent so far on planning and consultation. The project, which Bonnici said is set to start "immediately", is targeted for completion in 2018, to coincide with Valletta taking on its title as European Capital for Culture.

The Centre appears to be a response to the public outcry against singer and Labour ‘billboard activist’ William Mangion being awarded a €20,000 contract since 2013, shortly after Labour’s election victory, to identify a location where bands can meet for rehearsals. 

Asked to comment on the level of Mangion's involvement in the Centre, Bonnici said that Mangion worked within the Arts Council to help the centre come to fruition.

“His role was not simply to 'look for garages', but to engage in a dialogue with musicians. His one-year contract has now ended, and it may or may not be extended,” Bonnici said.

The minister was also hopeful that the Centre will help towards the cultural regeneration of Marsa.

This year’s edition of the Carnival will take place between February 12 and 17 in Valletta Festivities kick off­ at Pjazza Teatru Rjal with hoisting of the Carnival Flag and reading of the Carnival bandu, and will end with the Carnival Grand Finale along St Anne Street, Floriana.

While St George’s Square will remain the centre of carnival action, the celebrations will incorporate various streets and squares in Valletta and extend to several towns and villages that will be hosting their own carnival activities through the initiative of local councils.

Carnival Festivities Director Jason Busuttil said that this year’s edition of the carnival will continue to build on last year’s success – when the carnival was once again relocated to the heart of Valletta. He also announced that the qarcilla, a popular highlight that was re-introduced to Carnival last year, will be performed at St John’s Square at regular intervals in the evening. Saturday will also feature the participation of the Dutch Street Band WIJ Zender. Brought to Malta through the support of Valletta 2018 Foundation, this band is a carnival group that characteristically entertains the crowds by playing their own comical versions of ‘carnival music’.

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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