Malta Diary Lost&Found – Lost Innocence, Found Debauchery?
Malta’s Easter period this year could not have been more contrasting – a direct clash between traditions that go back many centuries, and, the here and now – starkly contrasted at the very basis of both extremes.
Easter came late this year, traditionally a time of great solemnity in Malta with a staunch background of Christianity, albeit Catholicism. Many, many thousands take to the streets to pray, attend various processions and visit churches on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday – whether through actual devotion, force of habit or the reminiscences of tradition, debatable.
This Easter there was a rival show with an estimated 7,000 visitors, mostly youngsters from the UK, arriving for a four-day bonanza of binge drinking and disco music virtually non-stop throughout the 96 hours of their stay. The streets of Qawra and Bugibba thronged with shows of virility, many hundreds of scantily clad male and female youngsters covered with an array of tattoos and a show of clothing – or should one say a lack of it – and bars and restaurants operating on an Open All Hours basis.
The weather was favourable and most summer-like, inspiring the propensity to largely disrobe, display and disport.
In contrast, in most other areas in Malta, men and women fumbled rosary beads, recited traditional prayers recalling the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and with men in hooded robes carrying replica wooden crucifixes and dragging ankle chains to atone for sins or show gratitude for fulfilled vows during Good Friday processions.
This was the third edition of the Lost&Found Music Festival, the brainchild of DJ Annie Mac who toured extensively throughout Europe’s hot spots before deciding that Malta was the ideal venue for such an event. The first edition of the festival in 2015 was an immediate success creating an additional influx of millions of euros to the Malta economy, and a cash bonanza for bars, restaurants, hotels, lodgings and taxi-drivers.
Annie Mac was here together with this year’s DJs including Armand Van Helden, Jamie Jones, Andy C, Giggs, MK and Selth Troxler – personalities I have never even heard of but then of course, this is strictly not my scene!
Why Lost&Found? Who knows? It could easily have been Up&Down or This&That or Here&There … but then who is to quibble about a name for a four-day orgy of entertainment?
The event, centred around Qawra and Bugibba kicked off on Thursday with a massive all-night party and a few alcohol-fuelled incidents but no major catastrophes and remarkably enough no great incidents and no fisticuffs over the four-day period, but overall a genuine party atmosphere although as usual some area residents complained of noise, public urination and vomiting episodes, but that is par for the course.
Local organiser Gian Carlo Ellul calculated that of the estimated 7,000 arrivals, 95% were from Great Britain and Ireland. Online travel site, Skyscanner, considered the Lost&Found festival as one of the main reasons for anyone to visit Malta during this time of the year. The 7,000 arrivals are estimated to have spent €8 million over the four-day binge.
Music nights were also held at Ta’ Qali and Mellieha but Qawra was the main scene of activities.
In an ironic and somewhat comical twist of fate on one particular evening a number of revelers experienced frequent urges to resort to the use of public urinals.
Later, a 25-year-old Italian woman from Naples was arrested and arraigned in Court and charged with having practiced the medical care profession without fulfilling all the necessary conditions, of fraudulently posing as a pharmacist, carrying out the transaction of medical products without the necessary licence and placing a medicinal product on the market without due authorisation.
She had sold a great number of diuretic tablets as “ecstasy pills” to the disco crowd and this triggered off a constant and frequent procession to toilets as these of course are pills to trigger frequent urination and certainly do not provide ecstasy – in fact the contrary!
She could not be charged with ‘drug trafficking’ because these are not drugs so alternatively she was charged with having abused her position as a medical assistant.
Her adventure landed her with a €2,329 fine which she has to pay off at the rate of €100 a month!
In a further twist of irony a report published over the Easter period by the Government’s IT agency MITA outlined that over a three-month period there had been over one million attempts to enter pornography sites or social media pages from the Parliament building!
Internet services within the building registered attempts to enter porn search engines and many other and varied porn sites.
The Clerk of the House was quick to issue a statement saying the finger of guilt could not necessarily be pointed at Members of Parliament because members of staff working in the House also had the same facilities.
Indeed, it was certainly an Easter of sharp contrasts!