The Malta Independent 3 June 2020, Wednesday

Updated: Music event will be held outside Mnajdra temples, no guests will attend, organisers say

Thursday, 22 August 2019, 12:16 Last update: about 11 months ago

Heritage Malta said today that event featuring DJ Denis Sulta is not taking place within the Mnajdra Temples but outside the site.

The government entity was reacting to criticism on the social media after it was announced that the event was to be held at one of the oldest existing temples.

It will not be a party, but simply a recording not longer than an hour, Heritage Malta said.  


The UNESCO World Heritage Site is only being used as a backdrop during a one-hour live streaming event by Mixmag; a worldwide known electronic dance and clubbing media brand which has around 1.2 million followers on YouTube and 1.6 million followers on Facebook.

A number of restrictions were made on the organizers, including the level and type of sound and the type of lights which can be used during this event in order to safeguard the temples.

There will be no access to Mnajdra Temples at any time. Heritage Malta officials will be present to ensure that all these conditions are adhered to, the entity said.

There will be no audience for this event. Only DJ Denis Sulta will be performing music to an immaculate backdrop of the sun setting over Mnajdra Temples streamed live on the internet.

The announcement of the event provoked angry reactions from members of the public, to the point that a petition calling for the permits for the event to be withdrawn was launched on Wednesday.

“We, the undersigned, call upon Heritage Malta to retract the permission for the event. Desecration of any temple site - regardless of which faith it belongs do, is despicable, and our heritage deserves to be treated with more respect than serving as a party hall”, the petition reads.

As of Thursday afternoon, it had gathered 935 signatures.


Statement by the organisers

In a Facebook post, the organisers announced that, contrary to the original plans, no guest will be attending the event.

 “We share your concerns over the celebration and preservation of our national heritage which is why we’re taking several steps to ensure no damage is done to our World Heritage Site. We acknowledge that this information should have been provided from the outset, for this we apologize.”

The original conditions that were going to be followed included placing all sound equipment outside and in front of the temple, on the soiled part. No persons were to be allowed inside or near the temple and no one would touch the temples,” they said.

“This is not a party, it is a 60 minute streamed showcase. The footage will be uploaded on Mixmag’s Facebook page. We’re working with Mixmag as they have covered streams at Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, which of course has a very similar setting and similar sensitivities to the one we are working in.”

The original conditions also stipulated that no alcohol or cigarettes would be sold or consumer on site. An ambulance would be on site at all times and only LED lighting would be used, to avoid damage to the temple. “No heels or flip flops were allowed, only closed flat shoes.”

“Those were the original conditions of the event. However, with respect to the concerns raised by many, together with Heritage Malta we have decided that no guests will attend. These sixty individuals were never the focus of this event, and we will now go ahead with just Denis Sulta and Mixmag.”

“This is a non-profit making event - we’re actually paying for it out of our own pocket - with the sole objective of putting Malta on the map, both in terms of our music industry as well as unique historical sites such as Mnajdra. Similar initiatives have successfully taken place at historically and culturally sensitive and important sites both in Malta as well as other European countries,” the organisers said.

“This modern method of promoting Malta to a young global audience cannot be compared to anything similar. Showcasing our rich heritage through a medium that youths follow and observe nowadays will only serve to intrigue their interest. We are proud to be doing this and hope to prove to you that we’re in it for the right reasons.”

The Malta Independent contacted Jacques Grima, one of District’s event managers, to further explain the situation.

“The reality is that the event is not what the media has perceived it to be, it was never going to be a profit-making event but simply a musical showcase designed to put Malta on the map.”

Grima said such events take place all over the world. Recently, artists Paul Oakenfold and Carl Cox, played a set in front of Stonehenge in England.

He said that all precautionary measures have been taken but, following public outcry, the event will now be without guests. “We decided to remove them as that seemed to be one of the main concerns of the public. Now we are keeping it simply as a musical showcase; we just want to stream one of the best artists playing in one of the most beautiful historical sites in the world.”


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