The 10 best festivals to see in Malta in 2020

By Allan Kortbæk

When it comes to festivals, Malta is a destination that punches above its weight – with everything from bass-laden music extravaganzas to rival any Ibizan equivalent to tranquil jazz delights to sit back and contemplate life at.

Here is our guide to the 10 best festivals to see in Malta.

Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found: 30 April-3 May

Sun, sea and seductive bass – Lost & Found kicks off this year's festival season in Malta
Sun, sea and seductive bass – Lost & Found kicks off this year’s festival season in Malta © Lost & Found

An established fixture on the Maltese scene, this year’s Lost & Found festival returns, befittingly, to kick off the festival season this April. Expect familiar festival names such as Annie Mac, Benji B, Seth Troxler, Shy Fx and more and setting options that include pool parties, beach parties, castle raves, night time arena raves and boat parties.

Rock the South: 15-17 May

Immerse yourself in lesser-known music at this year's Rock the South Festival
Immerse yourself in lesser-known music at this year’s Rock the South Festival © Rock the South

Bigger, badder … louder (in the festival’s own words). Rock the South, now in its 9th edition, brands itself as the longest running alternative music festival in Malta. And while their lineup has yet to be announced, it is fair to say that you need not expect stadium fillers per se but rather, lesser-known names within genres such as rock, punk rock, reggae, metal, hip hop and electronic.

Call it a festival of musical discovery.

Earth Garden: 4-7 June

Earth Garden is more than music – you´ll find a plethora of fun activities built up around the music
Earth Garden is more than music – you´ll find a plethora of fun activities built up around the music ©Earth Garden

At Earth Garden, you’ll find something to tickle every fancy. A veritable all-rounder, this Maltese staple features over 100 global acts spanning everything from alternative to psy-trance and everything in-between. But there’s more than just music – workshops, an elaborate food court, a market and a naturally shaded campsite await the eager festivalgoer.

Għanafest: 12-13 June

Set in the verdant Argotti Gardens, Floriana, Għanafest is a festival that pays homage to Maltese folk music, ‘Għana’ (pronounced A-na.) Għana, as it is presented at this festival, is a genre that traverses numerous sub-genres and styles, from the avant-garde to the traditional, so there’s something for purists, experimentalists and curious souls to indulge in.

ABODE on the Rock : 18-22 June

Get yourself a proper shot of ABODE on the Rock this spring
Get yourself a proper shot of ABODE on the Rock this spring © ABODE on the rock

ABODE on the Rock is an electronic music festival run by the London promoters, ABODE. Expect beach parties, boat bashes and similar, day and night – with a serving of carefully curated music from a lineup that’ll feature well-known names such as Jaimie Jones, Alan Fitzpatrick, Skream and Danny Howard.

Malta Jazz: 15-20 July

Malta Jazz's lineup this year includes bands such as SF JAZZ Collective
Malta Jazz’s lineup this year includes bands such as SF JAZZ Collective © Malta Jazz Festival

Jazz from the greats, the up-and-coming and the eclectic – in the befitting confines of areas such as Fioriana, the Parliament and selected public squares around the capital, Valletta … Malta Jazz is one of the grand old men on the Maltese festival scene, now in its 30th installation. Anticipate names such as Anthony Saliba Quartet, Francesca Galea Trio, Joel Hierrezuelo and others – all curated by Maltese-born guitarist Sandro Zerafa.

Glitch Festival: 14-16 August

Previous Glitch Festival greats have included legends such as Carl Cox
Previous Glitch Festival greats have included legends such as Carl Cox © Glitch Festival

Techno aficionados – turn on, tune in, press play. This year’s Glitch Festival has lathered its lineup with the likes of Bonobo, yes Bonobo! Laurent Garnier, Nina Kraviz, Ben Sims and other legendary names within the genre. Rooftop parties, cave raves and a cosy Boiler Room stage await the eager raver.

Malta Pride: 12 September

Early September is Malta Pride time, during which you can look forward to numerous activities in Valletta – spanning fashion to pool parties. The jewel in the crown – the parade itself will take place on the 12th of September – commencing at the Triton Fountain in Valletta and culminating in a series of parties around the city.

For more gay-friendly tips, check out our guide to a gay-friendly trip to Malta.

Birgu by Candlelight: 9-10 October

The historical streets of Birgu, draped in candlelight
The historical streets of Birgu, draped in candlelight © Birgu by Candlelight

Birgu by Candlelight has steadily evolved into a riveting event for locals and tourists alike. The concept is simple – the streets of the fortified town of Birgu will be lined with thousands of candles on either side – set up to highlight its historical status. As the temperature drops and the nights get longer, this candlelit celebration is one good way of marking the passage of the summer and the onset of winter.

Isle of MTV: Date to be announced

Located in the grand Il Fosos Square in the fortified town of Floriana, Isle of MTV will return at a date to be announced later on this year. Club nights, boat parties and other events will spread the merrymaking across other venues so don your party hat and get ready for a fest. Refreshingly, entrance is free of charge and there are no age limits for this marquee festival.

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Note: These rates are based on the most recent data pulled from KAYAK.co.uk, the cheapest prices are always displayed first, regardless of specific dates mentioned. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy, are per night and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.

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