[WATCH] Setting the stage for Isle of MTV 2016

And so it's back -- the annual free music festival at the Granaries in Floriana, this year featuring incorrigible rapper Wiz Khalifa, electro house wizard Steve Aoki, British songstress Jess Glynne and up-and-coming electronic quartet Clean Bandit

Teodor Reljic
28 June 2016, 2:58pm
Jess Glynne • Photo by Chris Mangion
Jess Glynne • Photo by Chris Mangion
Setting the stage for Isle of MTV • Video by Raphael Farrugia
Annual free music festival Isle of MTV returns to the Granaries in Floriana tonight, with the line-up completed by Wiz Khalifa, Steve Aoki, Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne -- who dropped out of last year's edition of the concert due to health reasons but will now be taking the MTV-sponsored stage this evening. 

A golden goose for the Tourism Ministry, the concert, now in its tenth edition, was touched by a spot of controversy this year, with Wiz Khalifa posting pictures of himself apparently indulging in some marijuana at the Blue Grotto. In his response to the issue, Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis attempted to deflect the unpleasantness by stating that "these artists have their own style" and that although Malta is a "free country", they will be expected to adhere to our laws. Reading between the lines, it's unlikely Khalifa will be investigated, we can therefore expect tonight's show to carry on as planned. 

Though mercifully more windswept than some of its earlier editions, and with press fully primed for a tell-tale gaffe by Khalifa in particular, the press conference announcing tonight's concert, which kicks off at the Granaries at 18:00, was a largely business as usual affair. 

Clean Bandit emerged as the least dazed of the bunch, offering up some relevant answers about their working method and stylistic influences, with Grace Chatto describing her and fellow band member Jack Patterson's acedemic pedigree in music and filmmaking in Moscow. 

In fact, the band's strange name also has its roots in Russia. "While we were living in Russia, a lady called my sister a 'clean bandit', which means she's a total bandit – like a real rascal," Grace said, before revealing that the band will be collaborating with Elton John on their next album – a sophomore effort following New Eyes (2014). 

"Working with Elton John is really crazy... he's just so lovely, and so quick in the way he works, too – he'll just get into the studio and won't stop playing. He'd be composing songs even as he's talking to you!"

Far more taciturn then her fellow performers, Jess Glynne simply described Malta as "yeah, really hot", and when asked about her style choices, said she doesn't really follow any particular designers, but relies on casually browsing through fashion magazines and Instagram for ideas. 

Meanwhile, Wiz Khalifa said that tonight's concert marks the beginning of his European tour, after which he will embark on 'The High Road' tour with former Isle of MTV guest Snoop Dogg. Asked about what he thinks of Malta, he name-checked his fateful visit to the Blue Grotto, telling MTV presenter Becca Dudley that, "It's really tight, you should check it out".

With promises that security for the concert – which is set to attract a 50,000 strong crowd – is set to be strengthened, this year's edition will also be streamed live for the first time, airing a series of prime time recordings on the screens and the addition of a Snapchat team who will be documenting the event as some of this year’s additions. 

With Glynne and Khalifa as prime attractions for the concert, Clean Bandit (founded in Cambridge in 2009) will slot in as breakthrough talent, while genre-hopping American DJ Steve Aoki – whose 2013 album Wonderland was nominated for a Grammy – will perform the closing set. 

Video by Raphael Farrugia

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