Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Isle of MTV Malta 2022

Walk the streets of Valetta on a blistering 40-degree night and the music you’ll be greeted with from a restaurant’s TV playing “Hot 2022 Hits”, will actually feature covers of some of the mid-2010s most forgettable pop songs (think, The Chainsmokers meets samba).

Alas, even the people of Europe’s fifth smallest country need to take a break from eating pastizzi’s and taking siestas to enjoy some much-needed downtime with live music. Enter, Isle of MTV, Malta’s answer to their summer festival prayers.

The free festival was host to approximately 50,000 people this year, taking place outside the stunning Floriana Church slap bang in the centre of Malta’s capital city, Valetta. It’s not a normal occurrence to enter a festival and to be greeted by houses, restaurants, and bars, but when your country is only 316KM Squared, there isn’t much option than to host your event on people’s front porches. 

Unfortunately for festival attendees, MTV’s decline in relevance and musical presence left the event with a more than lacklustre line-up, with headliners French Montana and Marshmello famous for being some of the weakest musicians in their respectable fields.  

The opening acts, whilst occasionally talented, were plagued by their own obscurity. Festival goers decided to arrive fashionably late to the event, choosing to fill the surrounding area’s bars and restaurants until the blistering summer heat had died down, leaving the festival mostly desolate until the sun started to make its way down into the evening sky.

Opening act bbno$ provided a weak performance, choosing to only perform mere seconds of his infectiously catchy tune “Lalala”before rick rolling the audience”… hilarious. And whilst other opening acts like Mae Muller provided the day with some enjoyable performances, the main event came in the form of French Montana.

Whilst never spoken about in online music chat room conversations about peoples “top five best rappers”, or top ten, or top 100, or even spoken about by anyone ever; French Montana had managed to amass an immense crowd of people from across the world looking to pass some some time on what would otherwise be a mundane Tuesday evening. It was nice to see Montana, real name Karim Kharbouch, enjoying himself whilst he pranced around the modestly sized stage rapidly performing an onslaught of unimpressive non-hits. The Moroccan rapper, whilst excited, was clearly not used to performing in recent years, letting his backing track do most of the performance for him while he struggled to push out the occasional line between almost asthmatic levels of breathlessness. 

His set, however, despite being as weak as a grandma’s squash and water, provided the best entertainment for the night. Kharbouch was perfectly mediocre, nothing less and nothing more, and a no-thrills rap show that will be forgotten about by the time you’ve jetted back to whichever comparatively cold country you came from is okay; it’s just French Montana. 

As equally disappointing was the act that followed him, Marshmello. The confectionary-themed helmeted DJ is mostly known for his work with bastille, his appearance hiding headgear and his Fortnite gig, however, his real-life performance wasn’t anything as outlandish as his cartoon video game counterpart was back in 2020. The DJ played, for the most part, safe crowd-pleasing drum and bass and house, set to a backdrop of mildly entertaining visuals such as a love heart, some Microsoft Word art style lyrics, and even some black and white Doctor-Who-title-sequence-esc wibbly-wobbly lines, before the DJ ultimately took his place at the end of the stage to wave his hands while his song with the late great Juice WRLD played in the background. 

Isle of Malta was a largely enjoyable experience despite the downfalls of the music itself. Boring staging, weak performances, and a poor lineup can be forgiven when the festival is free and brings in tourism for such a small country. The festival was also complimented greatly with its incredible location, however, with some more care given by artists, Isle of Malta could go down as one of the more interesting festivals around the world. 

It was free, can you really complain / 10

Words by Mason Meyers

Posted On 4 October, 2022