L-Aħħar Festa – the Valletta 2018 official closing event – is currently underway in St George’s Square. This special occasion marks the culmination of a very special year full of arts and culture for all.

The official closing ceremony took place in Valletta’s St George’s Square, where Valletta 2018 Chairman Jason Micallef passed on the baton to the next European Capitals of Culture, Matera and Plovdiv 2019. The ceremony included speeches by representatives of Matera and Plovdiv, and was concluded by a discourse from the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Affairs and Valletta 2018 Deo Debattista.

“2018 was definitely the most significant year in the history of our country in terms of culture, as culture was given more prominence than ever,” stated Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici during his closing speech.

He made reference to the fact that Valletta 2018 has made culture more accessible to everyone, especially when one sees that more than 400,000 people attended to Valletta 2018 events. “During this year, we have seen an unprecedented growth within our country’s culture sector. We have increased funding and investment within it, created new jobs, and provided opportunities to artists and above all, we brought culture closer to the people.”

Minister Bonnici concluded by saying that “our commitment towards culture within our country will be ongoing. We will keep on strengthening this platform which was created through the years, a platform which will decisively provide a strong legacy to future generations.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018 explained that this was a historic year which gave life to Valletta. “This date can be considered as a date of refoundation. All the experiences and improvements that commenced during this year will be renewed and evolved in the coming years in order to enhance Valletta not in size but in its glory.”
Valletta 2018 Foundation Chairman Jason Micallef said that “Five years ago we embarked on this adventure, to change the present and redesign the future of our capital city. Thanks to Valletta 2018, Valletta is now known worldwide as one of the most innovative cultural cities and is an inspiration to visit “.
“Today Valletta is a vibrant city. Its power is inspiring. With over 400 activities, we have succeeded in creating a sophisticated, world class cultural center, which invites both Maltese and foreigners to visit”, Mr Micallef continued.
Whilst thanking all those who contributed in some way or another during this year, Mr Micallef concluded by saying that we must now look beyond 2018. “These projects are merely seeds that will hopefully grow into more fruit. The creation of the Valletta Cultural Agency is a step towards this direction.”

Today’s activities kicked off at 10am, and will keep going until midnight. The fringe events included a roundup of the year, with performances and installations from some of the projects in Valletta 2018’s Cultural Programme happening in the city’s main streets.

Numerous members of the Mewġa Mużika citizen orchestra took on the mantle from Ondamarela and performed together at Pjazza Teatru Rjal at 4.30pm and 5.30pm, while at 5pm, the Valletta 2018 project Magna Żmien provided visual narratives created through this project, and provided interactions with Kapsula Merill, the Magnificent Memory Machine.

Visitors to the city flocked to MUŻA, Malta’s National Museum of Art, as it celebrated its first open day, while the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion housed Sempre Viva at Palazzo Parisio, an installation inspired by Valletta 2018’s Latitude 36 project.

The streets of Valletta also included a Memory Wall which included highlights from the Valletta 2018 Cultural Programme reinterpreted by various artists in diverse media.

ŻfinMalta and Valletta 2018 joined forces for an interactive performance called Ballroom at Is-Suq tal-Belt earlier today at 6pm. The performance was inspired by Valletta 2018’s outreach projects Jump and Dance4All.

The evening festivities, titled L-Aħħar Festa, will carry on with a special concert by local mainstay Tribali, who will be creating a kaleidoscopic open-genre musical world, thanks to their unique and eclectic sound, while singer/songwriter Ozzy Lino and the fresh and funky sounds of the Brass House Unit have a dynamic lineup planned.

Valletta 2018 Premium Partners: General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd., Coca Cola, Bavaria and Bank of Valletta