“In Government the GSD would review the current arrangements over the music festival to cut costs and
wastage and return this to greater local organizing control” said GSD Leader Keith Azopardi.
It is obvious the current arrangements are not working. The agreement with Neon Angel Limited and
MTV was announced to great fanfare. It was supposed to constitute a revamp of the festival to improve it,
result in an economic benefit to Gibraltar and greater availability of music acts. Instead the music festival
had losses of over £3.1M last year – the highest ever – and could face even larger losses this year given
the diminished list of acts, worse timing of the festival and the undoubted effect on ticket sales.
There have also been media reports in the last twelve months casting serious doubt on whether the
television show which was one of the Government’s selling points of the MTV brand is actually being
viewed by that many people. The Government had proclaimed the audience could be 1 Billion. In fact
figures released by the Broadcasters Audience Research Board [BARB] who compiles and monitors
audience viewing figures in the UK show that only 6,200 people viewed the highlights programme when
it was broadcast in the UK.
Given the current economic climate, BREXIT uncertainties and general state of public finances Gibraltar
can ill afford these systematic financial losses on the music festival. It is therefore important to put in
place greater financial control and measures designed to make it a financial success and not just a cultural
event. “The GSD is in favour of organising cultural and entertainment events such as these but they need
to be managed responsibly. This is not the Government’s money – it is the people’s money” said Mr
Additionally the GMF was a greater success when there was larger local involvement in organisation and
control. Lessons need to be learned from the past and there needs to be a review of who is charged with
organizing this festival. These important contracts should also go out to tender.
In the fringes of the music festival the Government indulges in VVIP entertainment for itself, political
Party friends and families that is fast becoming an annual grace and favour jamboree. This is completely
at odds with the picture of losses and lack of success of the 2017 event that has emerged over the last 12
months that call into question the current arrangements. As such the GSD will not be accepting any
invitations to the Government’s VVIP enclosure and pledges that it would not have such an enclosure if
elected to Government. It is not right that public monies be spent on the Government organizing a party
for its friends and families.
“The losses are such that you could employ over 80 nurses, teachers and carers and still have money left
over. This is just a further example of the wastage of public monies under this GSLP Government who act
as if public money was theirs to spend without regard to any control or accountability” said Mr Azopardi.