Ministry announces acquisition of six band club premises facing eviction

Minister states government’s €6 million investment is aimed at protecting the significance of band clubs as cultural centres in towns and villages

The Ministry for National Heritage has announced a €6 million investment to acquire properties belonging to six band clubs facing eviction due to legal issues with rent laws.

Minister Owen Bonnici said the aim is to protect the cultural significance of these cultural centres in towns and villages across Malta and Gozo.

“Six band clubs are literally being saved,” Bonnici said.

During a press conference held at St. Elmo, Bonnici said the government has already reached an acquisition agreement with two clubs and is in negotiations with three others facing the same threat of eviction.

Meanwhile, agreements with Stella Maris Band Club, were finalized months ago.

The other five clubs in question are: Anici Banda & Social Club – Ħal Qormi, Socjeta Fil. GM Fra Antoine De Paule Banda Kristu Re – Paola, Circolo San Giuseppe Sagra Familja - Kalkara, La Stella Levantina - Ħ'Attard, and Marija Regina Band Club - Marsa.

Minister Bonnici highlighted the government's commitment to protecting band clubs due to their social and cultural significance in communities.

“How can you not lend a helping hand to the Maltese musical societies when they most need it after doing so much good since their founding?” he said.

The Arts Council Malta Chairman, Albert Marshall, stated that this initiative is aligned with one of Strategy 2025's goals, which is to invest in and foster diverse artistic and cultural expression while also protecting Malta's traditions.

To manage the affairs related to the acquisition, the Band Club Management Board, led by James Pearsall, has been established within Arts Council Malta.

A controversial law introduced in 2018 had prevented landlords from evicting band club tenants for breaching their lease agreements. However, this law was ruled unconstitutional by a court in 2020 as it breached fundamental rights.