Music producer says dead summer paves way only for state-sponsored events

Music producer Howard Keith says private entertainment sector will be hit hardest by government decision to allow mass gatherings

Music producer Howard Keith has expressed reservations on the sudden lifting of mass gatherings.

“All throughout the pandemic we were told to stay cautions, and indicators showed that no events would be happening, now all of a sudden government will be allowing mass events,” Debono said.

MaltaToday reached out to Debono after a Facebook post he wrote in reaction to the Prime Minister Robert Abela’s announcement that a 75-person limit on public gatherings will be scrapped given the government’s decision to lift its public health emergency.

“All those events who always managed their model working with private sector or additional gate money to empower the arts are in for an ugly turn of events,” Debono wrote.

The music producer said that he was astonished to wake up and hear the PM’s declarations, given recent indicators that no mass events would be happening in the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Howard Keith also pointed out that privately organized events will be bearing the brunt due to a slowdown in private sponsors.

Mass gatherings are NOW allowed. Well now that the main festivals of this summer ,NON GOV ones that is , have been...

Posted by Howard Keith Debono on Sunday, 14 June 2020

“Earth Garden for example, which is a homegrown festival that has continued to evolve organically throughout the years, has already lost €80,000 and even though we had a contract with the Malta Tourism Authority, we were informed no funds would be given,” he said.

“Of course, we were already out of pocket by that time so we expected some help, but also understood as long as this translated into a level playing field with all mass events. First priority should have been to see who were the worst hit due to the pandemic,” he added.

In his Facebook post, Howard Keith suggested the money used in the organization of mass gathering events should have been directed towards the local music scene to regenerate it during this hard-hit reality.

“Government events will now be back to business as usual. It’s unacceptable that the private sector has to compete with government events in the entertainment sector,” he told MaltaToday.

He went on to say that money invested in government events mostly goes to international artists and organizers.

In his Facebook post, Debono said that those events who always managed their model by working with the private sector or additional gate money to empower the arts are in for an “ugly turn of events”.

“All those who never managed to do anything successful leaching from gov money will be moving forward business as usual,” he said.

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