Should we change?
Now that the non-existing feast season ended, what can we, as feast enthusiasts, organizers, performers, take from all of this?
I attended one of the feasts that was actually done almost in full in July, and noted certain things, certain patterns which I would like to share:
- Most importantly, feasts are still something that as Maltese we look forward to and participate in and are relevant to our society.
- The sense of community and prideness when organizing a feast, utilizing only your own resources, makes the feast more authentic.
- Less is more. Repetition of the same and for a long period of time takes out the magic effect and the eagerness fades.
- Greatness is in quality and not quantity.
- The importance of media, social media and all that can be used to communicate with the community.
All of these points made me think further. If we soul searched our own feasts and start thinking more logically rather than in a competition mind set, I believe we will realise, that most of our feasts need to go back to their roots and understand what really defines our feasts.
Do we really need to start playing marches from Monday instead of starting from Thursday? As band clubs, do we have a day where we honour our pledge of being a band club? Will we devote a day, prior the days of marches, where we have a sublime concert without the many theatrics and overdose of presentations? In my opinion, these presentations should not be part of a concert. Presentation’s should be done differently. Still organised to attract as many people as possible, but not during the hour and a half of glory of the wind band. At the most, only the society’s president should give a small speech, not an annual general meeting one, but a five minute speech.
It is more than obvious that two hours is more than enough to have a good march, the other hour is useless, and frankly stupid. Let us stop making excuses, either because of not getting a donation from the people who do not live in the streets where they pass or all that non sense. The idea of a feast is to get everyone out of their homes and participate as a community at the centre of the village.
“I believe we will realise, that most of our feasts need to go back to their roots and understand what really defines our feasts.”
I also question the real reason why we bring in wind bands from other villages to play in our own feast. And to sum it all, we bring them in during the most important part of the outdoor festivities. It’s like a bride and groom are getting married, and during the party, they sit there and let the others take the limelight. In my opinion, a guest wind band should only be brought over once in our feast, just to give a taste of something different.
Another non sense is having more than two wind bands playing at the same time during the procession. All you need is a maximum of two. One to keep the center of the village entertained while the other one should be with the procession. I have never found a plausible reason for a third.
What we really need is, to start to focus again on what is important to us, what values do we want to embrace and be brave to make a change. Change triggered with a sense of preservation and integrity and a long term vision.
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