Qala International Folk Festival in its 3rd edition
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Following the success of the first two editions of the Qala International Folk Festival, the Qala Local Council together with the Menhir Qala Folk Group, are again organising another edition of this folkloristic festival. This is going to be held in Qala between the 25th and 28th of September 2008, with participation in another two localities in Malta.
Full details regarding this year’s edition were given during a press conference held at the Ministry for Gozo by Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono together with Qala Mayor, Mr Paul Buttigieg and other members of the organising committee.
Mr Buttigieg explained the main aim of this festival, being that of exposing old practices and folkloristic traditions connected both with the locality of Qala as well as with the island of Gozo. A relatively slow weekend was also chosen for this event in order for it to serve as an added attraction for Maltese and foreign tourists to visit the island. This aspect was an important element for the organisers to benefit from the Gozo Attractions Incentive Scheme, set up through the initiative of the Ministry for Gozo with the collaboration of the Ministry for Finance, Economy and Investment mainly though the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund.
The organisers were also eligible for EU funds through a programme promoting cultural exchanges. This made possible the inclusion of two European folk groups, one from Serbia and one from Portugal, who together with the Menhir Qala Folk Group and another three Gozitan folk groups will be participating in this year’s edition of this festival. These folk groups will also be giving shows in Qawra and St. Julians in Malta, on Friday the 26th of September, through the collaboration of the respective Local Councils of these localities, that both enjoy twinning agreements with the Qala Local Council. The festival will also include a concert by The Versatile Brass ensemble and the participation of the Ide at Joseph Band of Qala and the Ta’ Seguna Instrumental Group.
Apart from folk music and dance, the Qala International Folk Festival will also feature a live exhibition of traditional artisan work which includes lace making, canework, stained glass, woodwork, stone decorating and pottery. Moreover it will include an exhibiton of various antique objects and costumes that were used by Gozitan generations during the last four centuries. The Local Gastronomy section providing typical Gozitan food and wine will surely prove to be a special attraction. The festival will come to an end on Sunday. The activities on this day will start at 10am with a unique re-enactment of a traditional Gozitan wedding. The community of Qala will be involved in the celebration of this wedding, wearing traditional costumes and serving typical food which used to be served at similar events in olde times.
The Minister for Gozo praised the initiative of the Qala Local Council together with the various volunteers, through whose contribution and participation, this festival has gained popularity and has become established as an annual event in Gozo’s Cultural Calendar. This also demonstrates the commitment of this locality which has proved itself as a dynamic locality both in cultural as well as in infrastructural aspects. The involvement of the local community in such events translates into the participation of children, youths and older generations, and thus ensures that inherited authentic typical traditions will be kept alive and passed on to future generations.
Minister Debono added that the Ministry for Gozo supports such initiatives since, besides generating economic activity, they are also an effective means of increasing awareness of the Gozitan cultural heritage among Gozitan society as well as the local and foreign tourists who visit Gozo. Moreover the participation of foreign groups also creates the opportunity of cultural exchanges resulting in an added marketing tool through which Gozo may be promoted as a distinct tourist destination, both within the domestic and the foreign markets.