Updated | ‘Mużika’ contractors also serving Labour rally, but €640,000 stage is not the same

Updated with denial from government: Mużika, Mużika stage to be set up one week after dismantling of Labour rally stage on Thursday night, but party will not disclose invoicing by same contractors TEC and Nexos

Labour celebrates on Sunday at the MFCC
Labour celebrates on Sunday at the MFCC

The Labour Party has denied that an extravagant €640,000 stage and lighting design for the production of the Maltese music spectacular Mużika, Mużika, is being used for its final campaign rally at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali.

Labour is denying that the Mużika, Mużika service providers – Nexos, TEC, Besteam and Raymond Vella – are providing the same stage for Thursday’s rally, despite similar services being rendered to the party for its rallies.

As it happens, the original Mużika, Mużika festival had to be postponed due to the 27 March elections. Government agency Festivals Malta issued four tenders calling for stage, lights, sound, and LED screens for the song festival, which was scheduled for 24-26 March at the MFCC.

The €640,000 procurement went ahead anyway after Festivals Malta postponed the Mużika, Mużika song festival to 21-23 April.

Besteam Audio, Nexos, TEC Ltd, and Raymond Vella (RVC Ltd) form part of a consortium of companies with NNG Promotions, also called Festivals Malta Limited (not to be confused with its namesake government agency).

According to the negotiated procedure tender details for Mużika, Mużika, Nexos will provide lighting and rigging for €210,000; Raymond Vella & Co will provide LED screens for €141,000; TEC will provide stage construction for €146,700; and BeSteam will provide audio for €140,000.

But the ministry for culture – which is responsible for Festivals Malta – is denying that any of the logistical and technical equipment for Mużika, Mużika will be used for the Labour rally. “We must stress that the stage design being used for Mużika, Mużika is an original concept and there is absolutely no correlation to any other event,” a statement sent to MaltaToday read.

An OPM spokesperson also told MaltaToday that the Labour rally stage will be dismantled on Thursday night, while the “completely different” stage for Mużika, Mużika will be reassembled during the first week of April.

When asked whether the Labour Party would publish the invoices for Thursday’s rally organisation – whose contractors also include long-time collaborators TEC and Nexos – the spokesperson refused to disclose such information.

Festivals Malta is a government agency tasked with the organisation of major festivals and cultural events in Malta and Gozo. The committee is chaired by former ambassador Norman Hamilton, veteran One TV broadcaster; Albert Marshall, a former One TV CEO; Jason Micallef, the current One TV chairman; lawyer Charlon Gouder, who was formerly a One TV host; and Chris Galea, Labour’s mass events coordinator.