Access talks to Gerry Debono, events director at 356 and co-founder of Summer Daze festival, about why the island is taking off for events

What makes Malta so attractive for events/festivals?

Geographically Malta is very accessible and almost everyone speaks English and Italian! Due to the fact that English is Malta’s second official language helps tremendously as therefore tourists do not have to encounter a language barrier. Malta offers a whole range of activities that attendees can benefit from such as; Malta’s rich and turbulent history, beautiful beaches, 365 days of sun and so much more. Malta is also said to be one of the best places in the world for scuba diving. Also, due to the fact that Malta is relatively small one can do a lot in one week with good value for money.

What were the main challenges logistically and organisationally this year for Summerdaze 2019?

This year reducing the impact on the environment played a big part for us as we reduced single use plastic by 70% by using branded cups. All proceeds from every cup purchased went towards charity.

Unfortunately, this years unforeseen weather conditions affected the second day of the festival which meant it had to be moved to another venue in just a couple of hours. But, we managed to achieve this thanks to the great team effort from all our teams.

Another challenge we encountered is the lack in numbers of trained security available locally. 

Having had double the capacity and venue wise increase we struggled to find adequate security. Therefore to be sure that we had all security necessary we hired three of the biggest companies available locally as well as Showsec from the UK to manage the teams. 

How do you attract the top artists?

We have been booking top international artists locally and internationally for the past 20 years and have always made sure to keep a very good working relationships with major agents and agencies. 

What audience research do you carry out?

Research was carried out prior to the Summerdaze event to see what artists are mostly in demand as to see the demographics of people applying for tickets. Feedback is also gathered through social media together with strategic meetings carried out all year long with our core team members.

Summerdaze 2019 was the largest musical event ever held in our country and we achieved this on our second year so I’m sure that the future is bright for the legacy of the festival in Malta.