One of Malta’s most popular festivals, Lost & Found is presented by Radio One’s legendary DJ Annie Mac and takes place annually on the island. Bringing the best of the UK’s dance scene to the island, this is one clubbers won’t want to miss. Now into its fourth year, Lost & Found, combined with the Maltese sunshine, attracts visitors in the hundreds, arriving at the island from all over Europe and beyond specifically for this event. Over the years, the event has held sessions at numerous locations across the island, including a castle, boats on the Mediterranean, sandy beaches and top nightclubs, all including famous names on the bill. Next year’s Lost & Found will take place May 2–5, 2019, during a bank-holiday weekend.
July 13, 2018, sees Malta’s first ever Gin Fair. Hosted by one of the island’s biggest and oldest retailers, Franks, the fair gives visitors the opportunity to try 50 different gins, ranging from the classic to the more obscure. The success of a previous whiskey fair in the same vein led to this event’s launch, which will be held at Valletta’s Phoenicia Hotel. Family-run Franks was launched in 1893 in the form of a waterfront shop in Cospicua. A roaring trade was established by owner Salvatore (nicknamed Frank) by initially selling shaving accessories to sailors, as all merchant ships docked in Cospicua at the time. Since its inception, Franks has expanded to a number of outlets, selling only the finest of products, making them the ideal hosts of the Gin Fair, where gin-tasting will be combined with complimenting botanical products. Including masterclasses, an open bar, free food and a live jazz band, the event is guaranteed to become a regular on Malta’s social calendar.
Kicking off summer in style is the island’s annual Earth Garden Festival. The end of May and beginning of June see four days of different elements combining to make up the overall festival held at Ta’ Qali National Park. It comprises – wait for it – an ethnic market, healing fields, musical playground, camping areas, food courts, a fun park, a Roots Stage, a Strawberry Hill (for foreign acts from across the globe) and an Electro Sphere (for foreign techno DJs). From early morning right through into the early hours, the four days are filled with mainstream music accompanied by the ultimate in relaxation, fresh air and sunshine.
Slightly more unusual but at the same time very popular, Malta’s southern village of Qrendi hosts an annual Potato Festival. First launched in 2011, the festival has become more successful year in, year out. Qrendi is known as the island’s harvest capital, so, each year in May, the village proudly shows off harvesting machinery and the diversity of the potato. The whole event is organised by the local council and Malta Tourism Authority and is always a huge success, as it attracts Malta residents island-wide and tourists. In addition to live entertainment, visitors can try potato-based savoury dishes, and even potato cocktails and potato-and-cinnamon ice cream.
This year saw the 12th annual Strawberry Festival held on the island, in the small northern village of Mġarr in the west of Mosta. For one day in April, the village dedicates itself to the fruit in the form of a festival, known locally as Festa Frawli and visitors can enjoy every sort of strawberry delicacy imaginable. With Malta’s rich agricultural land and unbeatable sunshine, stall-holders promise the best-tasting fruit on the island, and the endless work of the volunteers ensures a fun-filled day for all the family to enjoy. Dancers, traditional live music, crafts and performers make the day complete.
For one night only, during the month of October, Valletta lights up spectacularly in the form of Notte Bianca. This annual event is the island’s biggest arts and culture festival. A completely free event, it makes full use of public spaces and the streets are packed with entertainment in the form of visual arts, literary events, music and dance, in addition to performances at various theatres and museums, which open their doors to welcome visitors. Restaurants and cafés extend their opening hours so it’s easy to grab a bite to eat. With a full programme, this is an ideal opportunity to experience what Valletta has to offer, while also enjot Valletta by night, when some venues might not normally be open. With events taking place at every turn, from one end of the city to the other, including the side streets, you’re bound to find something that sparks your interest.
Again in the island’s capital of Valletta is the annual Jazz Festival, which takes place in July. Featuring not only Maltese artists but also a line-up of internationally acclaimed jazz musicians, performances take the shape of every style of jazz, from traditional to contemporary. With the city’s Grand Harbour lit up as a backdrop, the three-day festival fills the city with unbounded jazz sounds. You don’t even have to be a jazz enthusiast to enjoy the event – in fact, this is a perfect way to introduce complete novices to jazz and a real eye-opener as to what the jazz world has to offer.