Feast of the Immaculate Conception will serve as a blueprint for next year’s feast celebrations

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated in Cospicua on the 8th of December is being seen as a test for the Band Clubs Association on how to start organizing feasts again from the summer of next year, while protecting the health of the people. For president of the Association, Noel Camilleri, another year without feasts could spell the closure of some band clubs.

A working group within the Band Clubs Association is working to draw up a concrete plan with the health and Church authorities on how feasts can be celebrated from next year. The President of the Band Clubs Association, Noel Camilleri, said that this must be done without compromising the protection of the health of the people. After two years without outdoor feasts, Dr Camilleri said that another year without could have very adverse effects especially on some clubs, apart from the loss of an important part of Maltese culture. In the opinion of the union president however, the plan should not be postponed until next year but should be carried out on a trial basis in another two and a half months.

“Now that events have started, I think is is necessary for Authorities – and we as a National Association of Band Clubs – to sit down with us to think of a plan so that on the feast of the Immaculate Conception – which is a beautiful holiday for Maltese and Gozitans – we can start to prepare. This will be like the text case for feasts in the coming summer because we feel that if the feasts are not held from the year 2022, certain clubs will suffer and could spell their end.”

The Band Clubs Association expressed satisfaction with the news that the Government welcomed a proposal made some time ago by the Association to enter into negotiations and buy privately owned band clubs. Dr Camilleri said there are 27 band clubs in Government, private or Church ; between five and ten of them are facing lawsuits for eviction. Asked what their value was, Dr Camilleri said it is not prudent at this stage to talk about their estimated values.

“We will propose to the Government to create a national fund to help all band societies in a fair and sustainable way because we feel that band clubs are still important not only from the educational, social point of view but also from a community point of view. ”

Regarding clubs whose owners do not want to sell the property, Dr Camilleri said that there are clubs whose owners are numerous and therefore the Government can try to buy a share of them and then start a judicial process for the property to be sold at auction. There the Government could make an offer and buy it to be able to rent it from the society.