Another edition of the Qala International Folk festival


For the sixth consecutive year, the locality of Qala will be organising the International Folk Festival to be held between the 15 and the 18th September.

Details on this four-day festival organised by a committee within the Qala Local Council with the participation of the Menhir Qala Folk Group which were given during a press conference addressed by the Minister for Gozo, the Hon Giovanna Debono, the Parliamentary Secretary for Consumers, Fair Competition, Local Councils and Public Dialogue, the Hon. Chris Said and by the mayor of the locality, Mr. Paul Buttigieg.

The activity is partially funded through the eco-Gozo scheme for NGOs launched by the Ministry for Gozo with a total financial aid of more than ¬5,000 and through a scheme of Initiatives and Activities launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Councils amounting to ¬7,500. As in previous years, the Culture Office within the Ministry for Gozo, will give all the necessary help and support.

In this edition, three different folk groups from Sicily, Belarus and Ireland will participate for the first time. In the last six years, groups participating in the Folk Festival, two in the last years, were always different. Other attractions in this folklore festival include the traditional Gozitan wedding and an international conference on folklore, following which the proceedings and experiences of this conference will be published. The conference will be held on Saturday the 17th September. A new initiative for this year will be the traditional Gozitan games being prepared by a group of children from Qala during these weeks. The programme will include also folkloristic dancing from Maltese and Gozitan groups and an exhibition showing traditional skills still present at Qala like the handcrafting of hats from palm leaves, nets and reed baskets.

The Hon. Giovanna Debono explained how the folkloristic sector is one of the aspects that combines well with the eco-Gozo vision because it promotes the cultural and historical aspects that are part and parcel of the unique identity of Gozo. Minister Debono stated that the application submitted by the Menhir Qala Folk Group was one amongst 38 applications submitted by other organisations that were approved under this scheme. All these organisations will be benefiting from a total of ¬1.24 million in projects related with the eco-Gozo action plan 2010-2012. Minister also said that the locality of Qala is also benefiting from another grant of around ¬70,000 under the eco-Gozo scheme for Local Councils which will be used for the setting up of a folklore museum.

Parliament Secretary Chris Said praised the continuous efforts made by the Qala local council to improve the quality of the Qala International Folk Festival and the international conference to be held on the stone heritage. This activity is serving the scope of the scheme Initiatives and Activities issued by the Parliament Secretariat since it is generating an influx of visitors, both Maltese and foreign, to localities not normally visited by travellers. In such a way, more localities can benefit from the touristic industry.

The Qala International Folk Festival is helping residents to understand better and keep alive their traditions. Residents are participating more in activities organised by the Local Council and are becoming more aware of the importance to safeguard our identity and the cultural and historical heritage. The Parliament Secretary Chris Said stated that these activities are instilling a sense of pride amongst while highlighting the particular characteristics of Maltese and Gozitan localities.

The Qala International Folk Festival is now one of the established festivals in the Gozo cultural calendar which is now popular not only with the Qala residents but with many Gozitans and Maltese people.