Brian May to headline 2014 national festivities

63 events planned for multiple national anniversaries, former Queen guitarist to hold concert in April.

Former Queen guitarist Brian May
Former Queen guitarist Brian May

Former Queen guitiarist Brian May is among a number of local and foreign artists who will this year participate in over 60 events and initiatives to celebrate the multiple anniversaries of national events.

With Malta celebrating its 50th anniversary of Independence, the 40th anniversary of Republic Day, 35th anniversary of Freedom Day and 10 years of EU membership, the Foundation for National Festivities appointed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has lined up a number of events to celebrate the events.

During a glitzy press conference held at Castille this afternoon, the foundation announced a number of events, including a concert to be held by British musician and songwriter Brian May, better known for his involvement in celebrated English group Queen.

The concert, earmarked for 5 April, is among 63 events which will commemorate the events. Other planned events include a gig by Garath Emery, a Ministry of Sound DJ, three multimedia spectacles at the Grand Harbour, a ballet performance, a concert by a Beatles cover band, a rock concert by Maltese bands at the former Malta Shipbuilding site, a food festival, a series of television documentaries and the publication of a book which will be included in the school curriculum.

The main aim of the festivities was that of uniting the country, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

"This year we simply could not overlook the historical coincidence of having four important anniversaries," Muscat said, adding that the country must admit its past mistakes, where a number of celebrations were snubbed by consecutive administrations for partisan reasons.

"This is a perfect opportunity to reflect upon these feasts and whether we should have one or two national days. However, more importantly we must look beyond the feasts and shape our identity as a nation. The best part of these planned events is that they are not retrospective, but they look ahead and celebrate diversity."

The launch was held at the Ambassador's Hall at Castille which was jam-packed with the who's who of Maltese popular cultural, ranging from child sensation and Junior Eurovision winner Gaia Cauchi to popular One TV presenter Alfred Zammit.

Other artists and guests included Tribali frontman Peter Paul, Winter Moods' lead singer Ivan Grech, popular entertainer Gianni Zammit and the executive chairman of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and PBS deputy chairperson Albert Marshall.

Former TV presenter and old Labour foe Lou Bondi, carnival enthusiast and ONE Television director Jason Busuttil and TV personality Andrea Cassar were among the persons running the show.

The foundation's chairperson, academic and poet Oliver Friggieri, was also present at today's launch. Friggieri thanked the prime minister for appointing him on the foundation and expressed his hope that the planned events would help the people "forget" that they are Labourites or Nationalists.

"Above all I hope that children and young people are heavily involved to ensure that they get to know their country and who built it," the acclaimed author said.

Lamenting that all national festivities had the two major parties' fingerprints all over them, Friggieri recalled his presence at the ceremonies which celebrated Independence in 1964, Republic Day 10 years later and Freedom Day in 1979.

Evoking these memories, Friggieri pointed out that in all three occasions he had yelled "Viva Malta," adding that he hoped that the country was moving in the right direction to becoming "a united country which has much to offer to Europe."

The foundation has chosen "I, you, we are Maltese" (Jien, Int, Ahna Maltin) as its mantra and during today's launch a video with a number of maltese artists singing the Beatles' Come Together was aired for the first time.


Wonder if Brian May will make an appearance on 29 March when MPO plays Queen??
Queen rocks, Firelight rocks, Malta rocks!!!!!!