Published on Monday 3 June 2024

Following discussions which took place between Arts Council Malta (ACM), officials from the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, the Arts and Local Government (MHAL) and representatives of bands and musicians who have or are being displaced from their communal rehearsal spaces in ex-Rampol, Birkirkara an agreement for governmental financial assistance has been reached.

This move underscores ACM’s commitment to safeguarding the future of Malta’s musicians and bands. The primary concern remains the longevity and sustainability of the musicians and bands. The displacement from ex-Rampol, Birkirkara – which is privately owned - has not only disrupted their practice routines but also imposed significant financial burdens. It is imperative that these issues are addressed promptly to prevent adverse effects on such careers.

To mitigate the immediate financial hardships faced by the displaced bands, ACM will provide subsidies amounting to €1,500 for the first year, followed by an additional €600 for each of the subsequent two years. This comprehensive support package totals €2,700 per unit (band / lead-musician) over a three-year period. These funds are strategically aimed at alleviating the heightened costs associated with securing new rehearsal spaces. This includes covering increased rental fees, utility bills, soundproofing, and essential maintenance expenses. By reducing these financial strains, the support will enable bands to focus intently on their music, ensuring a smoother transition with greater stability and confidence.

ACM Executive Chairman Albert Marshall stated: “With immediate response to a moment of crisis when a considerable number of bands found themselves about to be evicted from the garages where they were working, Arts Council Malta offered the assistance requested. ACM understands the importance of investing in the sector of alternative music, and firmly believes that the musicians who work in this sector should be included in public funding schemes available, because by means of their experimentation and originality of their creative output, these artists are providing a seminal contribution in the growth process of the sector of the alternative Maltese and Gozitan music scene.”
The displacement has affected a significant number of artists. The forecast currently includes 25 bands and artists who have either received eviction notices or already departed their spaces. A significant number of artists based in ex-Rampol have already vacated their garages in search of alternative solutions.

The government’s willingness to subsidize all affected bands—whether they have already left, are currently leaving, or will soon be evacuated—is a crucial step. This financial assistance will not only cover the new costs for those who have found alternative spaces but also ease the relocation process for those who are soon to be displaced. Given that bands were previously paying €800-€900 per year, a €1,500 subsidy represents significant support, covering approximately two years of their original expenses.
ACM believes that providing this financial support is undoubtedly an effective course of action to facilitate an easier transition for these artists.

The assistance will be provided through a strategic financial support initiative, titled the Ex- Rampol, Birkirkara Bands (One-Time) Support Scheme, with two scheduled calls in June and September 2024.
The call is not competitive, but is being awarded on eligibility, based on which artists currently use the spaces. There will also be a consultation process carried out with those affected, in accordance with the principles of participatory governance enshrined in Strategy 2025. Following the release of this pilot programme, an evaluation research process will be conducted.