This year, Summer Daze festival took Malta by storm, offering a star-studded lineup and unforgettable experience for all those in attendance. The festival’s first ever edition was headlined by none other than young electronic star Martin Garrix and pop sensation Rita Ora on day one and Roger Sanchez on day two.
The festival was founded in collaboration between Creamfields, BBC R1’s Dance Stage and Visit Malta, as part of the Malta tourism authority’s aims to attract more young party-goers to the stunning island. With the location offering such breathtaking scenery and the event playing host to illustrious talents, attendees enjoyed an unforgettable two-day extravaganza. During the festivities, we caught up with Lionel Gerada, head of events at the Malta Tourism Authority, who spoke to us about the future of Summer Daze and plans to make Malta more youth-oriented.
Can you tell us about the Summer Daze concept and how it all came together?
Creamfields Malta has been up and running for the last 10 years, normally at this time of year Creamfields Festival would be taking place. We decided to up the game, this time we went to the BBC and they decided to host the event as the main partner, that’s how Summer Daze came together. We were brainstorming about the name, because we wanted to create something unique for the festival. Of course summer in Malta is heaven so that’s how Summer Daze came up. Then for the artist lineup we tried to balance out pop with Rita Ora and EDM with Martin Garrix, so we went for the number one DJ for the last two consecutive years and Rita Ora as she needs no introduction.
Is the dance music culture big here in Malta?
Yes, in fact normally two of the main clubs in Malta have foreign artists coming every week. For example, last week we had Joseph Capriati and next week we have Green Velvet coming over. Every week there is something going on, we had Kungs last Friday, we had Faithless yesterday. Even the local scene is good, so when it comes to clubbing Malta is very popular. That’s our vision for the tourism industry.
It seems to be that Malta is looking to put more focus on its nightlife, is that right?
Yes, our main goal is that we’re trying to direct the vision, because before Malta was very popular for the sun, for the sea, especially for the older generation. But we’ve decided that to increase tourism in Malta we need to focus on more events. We started with AMP Lost & Found festival, then we had a new festival which was named Abode On The Rock which we tried for the first time and it went very well. Then last July we had Unite with Tomorrowland, which again was a very big success. Now we have Summer Daze, on the same days there’s Glitch Festival which is more focused on the techno scene with Jeff Mills and Nina Kraviz. We’re trying to make sure that every tourist who comes to Malta will find something interesting to do, especially when it comes to the younger generation because for the older generation everything is taken care of when it comes to history there’s museums and there’s everything to enjoy in that sense. However, we were lacking a bit in the younger generation and that’s why we’re planning everything every week so that we tick off all the boxes. There’s classical, there’s pop, there’s clubbing, so the experience will be good for everyone.
For the younger generation who come to a festival like Summer Daze what else should they know about Malta?
For everyone that’s coming to Malta it’s important that they see Malta, they need to see Malta because it’s useless to look at photos, you need to experience Malta. You can see some photos which may not be that attractive however, when you go to see it in real life you will appreciate the view more. That’s it, they need to experience Malta, and they need to try the food as well.
In terms of the location what makes the park ideal for the festival?
Ta’Qali is in the centre of Malta in the most accessible area with 17 car parks available. Also we chose it with a vision for next year as we plan to make the festival even bigger, we will offer camping and the campsite will be located next to the venue. The park is also the biggest venue that we have in Malta, Isle of MTV is in Il-Foso, but this venue is much bigger. So, we can invite many more attendees, and the park is a much better area for us to work with.
As this is the festival’s first ever edition, what do you have planned for the future?
Next year we’re planning to extend the festival across more days. We’re planning to make the festival bigger and focus on more different genres and we’re even going to invite some rock artists to perform. We want to widen the spectrum so that we can attract much more people and attract more attendees from overseas. Also, we have many more plans, it is not simply Summer Daze, Summer Daze is just the cherry on the cake. Every month we’re planning to have something going on so that people will travel to Malta from all over the world. Last year we reached 2.3 million tourists visiting Malta and had an increase the year before of 13%. This year we’re already 17% up on tourist numbers. Flights to Malta now land 60 times a day, while it used to be 25 times a day, we’ve increased the routes and it is much more accessible, particularly from the UK, Germany and France so that people can get here more easily and cheaply.
One of the things that makes Summer Daze so special is the fact that entry is free, what was the strategy behind offering free tickets?
We know so many people are traveling to Malta and wanted to give something back and offer a quality event. We’re not going to compare ourselves with Ibiza or Cyprus, however, when it comes to hospitality, we’re good and our figures prove that. We always try to give back to our customers so that they will come back, that’s our strategy. A study was conducted at AMP Lost and Found Festival, where 47% of the people that traveled for the festival visited again the same year with their families. That’s why as a government we always try to give something back to the public. At this festival drinks are a maximum of 4 euros. The message we’re trying to give is that we’re not the biggest festival but the experience that we offer is free and Malta is a great place to visit.