New regulations for feast bands

What is a Maltese village feast without a band? The first bands to ever accompany village feasts made an appearance about 150 years ago and in order to preserve this cultural heritage, the Association of Band Clubs will be implementing rules emanating from a document approved by the majority of its society members, from the beginning of next year.

From 88 of the band societies within the Band Club Association in Malta and Gozo, 75 have approved the document on the regulation of bands and musicians. The regulations will start to be implemented from January next year. President of the Band Club Association Dr Noel Camilleri listed the difficulties faced by the Bands, including the lack of musicians and the need to encourage more young people to become musicians to keep this Maltese festive culture and tradition alive.

Dr. Camilleri urged band societies and musicians themselves to do more to improve communication between them while praising the strong commitment shown by the band committees and even by the musicians themselves.

” There is hence the need to strengthen this relationship to ensure, where possible more reciprocity, more mutual respect between them and to attract more people to the music industry and to this field.”

Asked about the ‘hot’ issue regarding the fees paid to musicians, the President of the Association said that the regulations will cater for the payment of services to musicians. He went on to say that this did not mean that there would be structured tariffs, but that both musicians and even the band societies were more conscious of the fees being charged to ensure that these were within normal parameters.

“I hear about certain prices, tariffs which are exaggerated and inflated. Everyone has the right to be paid and recognised for his work, but within moderation.

The document talks about structured times for bands services and even routes that the band takes during feast marches. Dr Camilleri said that the document itself is a stimulus for the traditional Maltese band not to be lost.

“Currently the Band Clubs Association is in the process of applying for the Maltese feast to become part of the inventory of Malta’s intangible national heritage. If this request is accepted, as it should, then the next step, would be the application to UNESCO for the Maltese feast to then become part of the intangible world heritage.

Maltese Bands span a history of over 150 years and in a survey commissioned by the Band Clubs Association, it emerged that 60% of those interviewed associated the band culture with holidays and band societies.

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