Joseph Calleja concert drops free entrance but keeps government funds

Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti hawn.

The latest open-air concert held by tenor Joseph Calleja earlier this week was still the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of euros in taxpayers’ funds through government sponsorships.

This comes despite the fact that an agreement set in 2013 in exchange for a free standing area at the annual concert failed to be honoured this year, The Shift can reveal.

A 2013 agreement, struck shortly after Labour was elected to power just a few weeks earlier, had committed the government to start making a financial allocation of some €350,000 every year towards the tenor’s annual concert so that the public could enjoy the annual event free of charge.

This agreement, which was never published, stipulated that a standing area during the concert at The Granaries in Floriana would be “sponsored by the government” so that people who couldn’t pay exorbitant ticket prices could still be “exposed to culture and music”.

MTA document confirming €350,000 sponsorship for the Joseph Calleja concert in 2018.

Despite that, this week’s concert had no standing area as the venue was shifted this year to Fort Manoel – a smaller venue catering for dwindling concert audiences – the 3,000 members of the audience had to pay or obtain a free ‘sponsored’ ticket to attend the concert. But even though the government-sponsored free standing area was eliminated, the Malta Tourism Authority still forked out its annual contribution toward the tenor’s annual do.

Asked to state how much taxpayer money was allocated for this year’s Joseph Calleja concert, his 25th, MTA Chairman Gavin Gulia and its newly promoted CEO Carlo Micallef refused to give any details.

Both have also failed to justify why the government still forked hundreds of thousands of euros towards the concert when no free-standing area was made available to the public.

The Shift is informed that while some concert-goers had to pay between €80 and €200 per ticket to enjoy the show, most attendees were given complimentary tickets either through sponsors or through government contacts as part of the deal with Calleja.

These included ministers, their extended families, and others close to the Labour administration, particularly those working in ministerial private secretariats.

Initially, the 2013 agreement was signed on behalf of Calleja by NNG promotions, his concert organisers. This year, the concert was organised by Mint Media, established in 2016, with the former PBS boss Anton Attard as its sole shareholder.

It is unclear what arrangements are in place for any profits from the concert shared with the tenor.

Apart from the generous annual government sponsorship, Calleja was also appointed Malta’s Cultural Ambassador and is the secretary of the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation.

Until today, Michelle Muscat, spouse of disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat is one of the administrators of Calleja’s BOV Foundation together with Helga Ellul, member of the board of Allied Newspapers, Alfred Pisani, the Chair of the Corinthia Group, Roderick Chalmers, former BOV Chairman and Alec Lapira.

                           
                               
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viv
viv
2 days ago

Abela seems determined to bring ‘Animal Farm’ to reality.

Isn’t the national orchestra practically owned by a Russian now?

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 day ago

That is one reason why I don’t attend for government sponsored concerts. It doesn’t make sense to me that I pay good money and others get the tickets for free from friends of friends.

Mark
Mark
1 day ago

X’ma jilgħaqx lill-gvern! Qalilna li għandna nċapċpu lil-Labour għax mhuwiex korrott iżjed mill-gvernijiet ta’ pajjiżi oħra. Jien se jkolli nemmen lil Franco Debono fuq l-IQ tat-tenur.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 day ago

No comment, but it seems that top cultural events are for those who can afford it.
No wonder our youth are turning away from such events.
They would rather attend the MTV events free of charge.

robert caruana
robert caruana
1 day ago

As usual a complete shambles…..so much for finding cuts across departments for the lesser mortals imma hbieb tal hbieb jiffangaw…..

Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
1 day ago

IT SEEMS CALLEJA HAS ONE THING IN COMMON WITH OUR CORRUPT LABOUR GOVERNMENT. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

WE ARE SINKING IN FINANCIAL DEBT. BUT WHO CARES!!!

Joe mallia
Joe mallia
1 day ago

I want to add more.we as grand parents my daughter s 2 children were in Joe calleja s choir.i want to congratulate the director of the said choir for the hard work .but believe it or not the parents of the children s choir were not even given permission to watch the concert.they had to walk all the way with the kids on foot as they were not allowed to enter by the police or security. Those who paid to enter ok. But those who didn t had to leave the place and pick the kids later. It s really un believable how things are organised in this place. Parents should have called a protest not to send their children to sing perhaps some concession would have been given. Lastly I want to advice the parents of the kids that if this happen again next time they won t send their kids for the choir. At least I expected that parents would be given a good discount on the ticket or put in a proper area with the permission to park nearby like the other people. I hope Joe calleja will know about what happened and I m sure he would solve this problem or compensate with something.

Alfred Tonna
Alfred Tonna
17 hours ago
Reply to  Joe mallia

All this boils down to what the than Minister Evarist Bartolo had stated, “there are laws for the gods, and laws for the animals”, of course the latter being us, ‘the common people’. Viva l-ugwaljanza u l-klassi tal-haddiema.

Joe Inguanez
Joe Inguanez
1 day ago

Is there no honourable person on our country to day “enough is enough ” and walk out of this…

Steve
Steve
14 hours ago

A comment I made regarding the odd remark Joseph Calleja made to the TOM that Malta is no more corrupt than other countries he knows of was for some reason deleted by the moderator.

Caroline Muscat
Admin
12 hours ago
Reply to  Steve

We apologise for that. It was an error from our end.

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