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When the biggest names in pop, rock and dance music embark on a tour today they are no longer about getting your work seen by the masses and promoting your latest album and more about packing huge venues with massive crowds and making stacks of money. Artists now go where the big crowds are and in the summer especially, there’s a pretty big crowd of folks in Malta!

You’ll probably be surprised to see the list of stellar names that have turned up and played on these sunny shores in recent years. Everyone from veterans like Elton John, Sting and Simply Red, through today’s chart toppers like Lady Ga Ga, David Guetta and to Viennese string quartets, American blue grass groups and the cream of Europe’s opera circuit have all taken to the stage in Malta.


Almost every genre is covered, especially jazz, which takes over the capital city of Valletta each July when the annual Jazz Festival is held against the backdrop of this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. The event draws world-renowned jazz musicians with past performers including the Alan Parsons Live Project, Bill Bruford's Earthworks plus Tim Garland, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wayne Shorter, Ian Ritchie, Yellow Jackets, Bill Buford and Percy Jones.


But that doesn’t come close to the biggest annual music event on the island. This happens in June when Malta changes its name for a brief period and becomes the Isle of MTV. The most famous name in TV music rolls into town to put on the largest, free, open-air concert in Europe and the ‘town’ in question is Floriana right next to Valletta. The exact venue is an area known as the Granaries. 


Displaying some of the most popular acts around and charging nothing for the privilege tends to draw a humungous crowd. The organisers pack in roughly 50,000 people and turn others away so you need to get there early. It’s been a cost-free sell-out ever since Isle of MTV was first held here in 2007.


If you’re dubious about the standard of the acts on show then the list of previous performers should change your mind! They include Lady Ga Ga, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta, Kelis, Scissor Sisters, Maroon 5, Enrique Iglesias, Garbage, Morcheeba, One Republic, Gorillaz and N.E.R.D.


Elsewhere there are smaller gigs throughout the year by local rock and pop groups, choirs and opera companies. Also virtually every village in Malta has aat least one brass band and they provide another musical style, especially when it’s time for the annual festa.


If classical music is your scene then look out for the National Orchestra that was formed soon after Malta gained independence in the 1960s. They regularly perform at the magnificent and historic Manoel Theatre, a venue built by the legendary Knights of Malta, as well at the Mediterranean Conference Centre and other venues.


These talented musicians are also called upon to perform at official State Visits to impress visiting international leaders.


You’ll find more information on the Jazz Festival, Isle of MTV and the Manoel Theatre in separate articles on this site. You'll find them by clicking on the links above.

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