The largest festival of culture and arts in Malta will still be happening this year despite continued venue closures and a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Arts, National Heritage and Local Government has announced. However, some major changes are expected to happen to the previously one-night-only event.
Replying to a question by The Malta Independent, a spokesperson of the ministry revelead that Valletta’s beloved Notte Bianca will still be held this year, but will instead be “spread over several weeks in October and November instead of one specific day”.
Initially planned for Saturday 3rd October, the festival will now be split into smaller performances throughout the two months.
“Minister José Herrera would like to stress that during such challenging times the authorities need to take bold decisions however, notwithstanding the current circumstances, they still have the obligation to provide sensible solutions to support our artists as Arts and Culture remain an important element for Malta’s society,” the statement reads.
All the performances which were going to be held this year will still be allowed to do so, with the opportunity arising for them to be performed throughout the festival’s new weeks-long format instead.
In fact, the artists involved were reportedly informed of this decision earlier today, and Festivals Malta are said to be “working closely with the artists in order to redesign the programme with their full collaboration”.
As is to be expected, the size of crowds allowed to watch a single performance will be “greatly reduced”, with more details on the specific logistics of this year’s Notte Bianca set to be issued at a later date.
“Preparations for Notte Bianca 2020 are being made in line with the guides issued by the health department and every precaution to stop the spread of the virus is being taken,” the organisers announced in a post just last week. “At the same time, we are working together to produce a Notte Bianca with a difference.”
The behemoth cultural event attracts over 60,000 people to the capital city each year.