The Malta Jazz Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary

Last Updated on Thursday, 9 July, 2020 at 1:39 pm by Andre Camilleri

Festivals Malta and the Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government have launched an alternative version of the Malta Jazz Festival. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this special edition will include an online programme, as well as live jazz performances at Freedom Square and the Parliament Steps, titled The City Jazz Series, as part of the Valletta Regeneration Project.

Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera stated that the Malta Jazz Festival has become a main festival featured in the cultural calendar, where even this year, we will be integrating local and international talent. “As a Ministry, it is our and Festivals Malta’s aim to continue advancing the cultural sector, in conjunction with offering high quality productions for the Maltese and Gozitan community, as well as for tourists who are visiting our island”, concluded Minister José Herrera.

Festivals Malta Director Annabelle Stivala, stated, “the Malta Jazz Festival 2020 will be presented in an alternative format, as we created a synergy between virtual and live elements. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has greatly affected the cultural sector, and with the Malta Jazz Festival – The City Jazz Series we aim to inject some life back into our capital city by contributing to the Valletta regeneration project”.

The Malta Jazz Festival will launch its activities with a live exhibition on Monday 13th July at the Phoenicia Hotel. The Notes from the Harbour exhibition, curated by Joe Smith, will highlight the Jazz Festival’s 30 year journey, paying homage to photographers and artists who have captured some of the most emotional moments from past performances and events. The exhibition, which will be available in its entirety online through a virtual space, will include photos, memorabilia and collectors’ items from previous editions, depicting how the festival evolved through the years. The virtual exhibition will be available for viewing until the end of August.

The masterclasses which have become a Malta Jazz Festival staple, will consist of virtual and live sessions. Three masterclasses by Jonathan Kreisberg, David Prez and Kostas Anastasiadis will be held online, while the masterclasses by Jeff Ballard, Vincent Bourgeyx and Hetty Kate will be held live at Green Room in Pjazza Teatru Rjal and the Phoenicia Hotel.

The festival’s online programme celebrates the Malta Jazz Festival’s legacy as 30 successful years are lauded through a number of video testimonials by local and international artists who have performed in the festival throughout the years. Furthermore, a dedicated station titled, the MJF Channel, will feature rare footage from previous editions of the festival, some of which date back to the early 90s. Finally, a three-part video will pay tribute to the Malta Jazz Festival’s first artistic director, local jazz music legend known as the father of Maltese jazz, Charles ‘City’ Gatt. These features will highlight Charles’ music career throughout the years, as well as his contribution to the Jazz Festival as he paved the way for the spectacle as we know it today.

Given that the travel bans have been lifted, the Malta Jazz Festival will also welcome some international musicians to be part of The City Jazz Series; a series of midday and evening concerts which will be held at Freedom Square in Valletta. These concerts will celebrate both local and international jazz music icons in a celebration of solidarity and unity.

The Malta Jazz Festival will be held both online on the Malta Jazz Festival Facebook Page and on the Festivals Malta website, as well as live in Valletta; between the 13th and 18th of July. For more information visit:

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