It’s strange to think that just a few short weeks ago, I was running behind the MTV coach that was departing the Grande Hotel Excelsior in Malta without me – it stopped, thank goodness! This was how my first MTV Press trip was to come to an end…. perhaps not as smooth as I would have hoped, but it was the end of a long (incredible!) week which started as soon as we touched down at Malta International Airport four days earlier. In preparation for my first Isle of MTV experience, they said I would need to hit the ground running – and they weren’t kidding.
First up (10 minutes upon landing) I joined my Senior Director Seema Alibhai for an impromptu broadcast interview with Executive Producer Richard Godfrey; this was swiftly followed by a team meeting with our MTA (Malta Tourism Authority) counterparts to strategise our plan of attack in the lead up to show day. It was eye-opening to hear all the tiny details that had to be considered (tickets, access, photos, VNRs, talent interviews, crisis plans and more…) but adrenaline kicked in and it was full speed ahead from there.
Day 2: Our VIP press guests arrived in town! Eager to build buzz around the show, we worked together with them around the clock to facilitate fantastic press opportunities with the performing talent. A quick lunch was followed by a series of one to one interviews, sound checks, talent rehearsals – which resulted in an incredible rehearsal shot of Nicole hitting the front pages of the Malta press the next day! Mission accomplished.
Day three: Show day…. which also happened to be the day of our press conference (time management was key). Following a number of walkthroughs with talent reps and our MTV Talent and Music team, the press conference was underway. Nicole and Kiesza looked fabulous, Dizzee, Enrique and Hardwell – chilled and laid back, whilst Laura Whitmore effortlessly pulled it all together with her charm and flair. Before we knew it, it was over – but no time to relax – it was showtime!
As soon as we arrived, the crowd of 50,000 fans in Il-Fosos Square were already dancing in the hot Malta sun, and as the sun set, the sight was utterly breath-taking – I had seen nothing like it before. Kiesza’s hypnotic dance set was followed by a bassline heavy show from Dizzee Rascal that had the crowd literally going ‘Bonkers’! Nicole Scherzinger was up next, performing a set of solo hits as well as my favourite Pussycat Dolls classics, much to the crowds delight! Ms. Scherzinger continued to please the crowd when she joined Enrique on stage during his sultry performance, for a rendition of their duet ‘Heartbeat’. The biggest surprise came as Enrique appeared in the middle of the crowd (touching distance from the VIP platform) to perform his iconic hit ‘Hero’ (we would love to say we planned it!). Pyrotechnics and strobe lighting lit up the sky and confetti rained down on the crowd, bringing Enrique’s set to an incredible climax.
With the crowd stomping the stone granaries and calling for more, Hardwell took to the stage for the last set of the night. Playing a series of dance bangers, surrounded by flames, CO2 bursts and giant streamers – it was a truly eye-popping performance.
Midnight. The show’s over – but no time to stop. Time to regroup in the hotel lobby to get the post-show press release approved and issued to press. Laptops finally shut down at 3am, leaving just enough time to make an appearance at the MTV VIP After-party.
That was it, my Malta experience had come to an end. What can I say… it was four days of hard work and sweat (mainly due to the 30 degree heat!) but lots of laughter, and will be an experience that I will never forget.
Isle of MTV: see you next year. And fans around the world, make sure you tune into the World Stage Isle of MTV in mid-August (check your local listings!).