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Seher il-Punent 2008
On the weekend of the 28th to the 30th of March, in the picturesque village of Gharb, took place the second edition of the Festival of Art, Culture, Music and Patrimony called Seher il-Punent. The main aim of this festival is to exhibit Gharb’s traditions and culture as well as to attract tourism to Gozo in the ‘lean season’. The opening ceremony of the festival took place in the evening of Friday 28th March. This was officiated by the Minister for Gozo, the Hon. Giovanna Debono who, accompanied by the Mayor of Gharb, David Apap visited various exhibitions which were set up specifically for the festival. These included an art exhibition where various Gozitan artists exhibited their works, an exhibition of Religious statues, ‘live painters’ as well as exhibitions of various arts and craft including lace, pottery, gilding, traps, mosaic, and stone sculpture. The Minister also visited the various stages which hosted various talent shows, dancing, singing and music by Maltese and Gozitan artists. The Minister for Gozo had words of praise towards this initiative of the Gharb local Council where the declared the festival officially open from the main stage. The Minister said that last year’s experiment was successful and therefore the Ministry for Gozo is once again supporting this initiative through ‘The National Lotteries Good Causes Fund’. The Minister explained that Seher il-Punent complements government’s policy of internal and foreign tourism to Gozo in a period when tourism would be relatively low.

The festival kicked off with lively band marches by the locality’s Banda Muzikali Vizitazzjoni throughout the main streets. The popular singer and presenter j Anvil compeered the evening on the main stage where there was a significant audience of Gozitans, Maltese and Foreigners even if the weather conditions were not ideal. Decorations with banners and ‘fjakkoli’ created a festive environment. Friday’s main attraction was a concert for all the family by the Spiteri Lucas Band, with the participation of various singers among whom were Ludwig Galea, Nadine Axisa, Olivia Lewis, Marisa D’Amato and the popular comedian, augusto Cardinale. The evening was ended with a fireworks display.

The festival continued on Saturday morning with re-enactments of historical events among which were il- ‘Qiegha’ and guided tours around the historical centre of the village, Ta’Dbiegi Crafts centre, and the various museums which can be found in Gharb among which are the Karmni Grima and Frenc ta’ LGharb museums and the Gharb Folklore museum. On Saturday night there was entertainment for all the family on three stages. Among the special guests there was Joe Demicoli, Freddie Portelli as well as the leading U2 tribute band, ZU2.

A folkloristic matinee took place on Sunday morning at Visitation Square with re enactments folkloristic music and dancing, and blessing of animals. Throughout the day there were more guided tours, around Gharb’s historical centre. In the evening the final night of Seher il-Punent 2008 included singing, modern and folkloristic dancing, Rock Bands ‘Rondo Veneziano’, the winners of the Junior Song for Europe contest – Cute as well as the Big Band Brothers together with the finalists of the Malta Song For Europe 2008: Klinsman Coleiro, Petra Zammit, Eleonor Cassar, Rosman Pace, Claudia Faniello, and the winners of the Malta song for Europe,2008, Morena. The evening was concluded with a fireworks display.

Apart from all this, throughout the three days of the festival visitors could enjoy various stalls serving food and drink, the sale of typical products including cheese and local wine. There was also a play area for children including a bouncing castle, games by Playmobil and a show from Ronald McDonald. Museums and places of interest including the Pariah Church, the Gharb folklore museum, Ta’ Dbiegi crafts village extended their opening hours till late. The main roads were decorated in such a way as to give a ‘festa’ environment, the church parvis as well as various antique houses and balconies were decorated with country flowers.

The Gharb Local Council would like to thank the sponsors and all the volunteers through whom this event was made possible. The festival had as its main sponsors the ‘National Lotteries Good Causes Fund’ within the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Gozo, The Malta Tourism Authority, Vodafone, General Soft Drinks, Mc Donald’s, Playmobil and Bavaria. The Council is proud of the fact that the event was a success and that its main aim of bringing tourism to Gozo was reached, evidenced by the numerous visitors to Gharb and to Gozo during these three days.

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