Inside the Majestic, Mediterranean Rave Known as the Isle of MTV

Our representative from VIMN’s U.K. Corporate Communications team chronicles her surreal experience working the biggest open-air summer festival on a historic Mediterranean archipelago. 

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I am writing this now from overcast London, wondering if it was all a dream. It feels like only yesterday I landed in the sunny and stunning Mediterranean island of Malta. I was super excited to start the five-day marathon working on the Isle of MTV, MTV’s 10th annual free live music extravaganza.

It was my first time working the event. I was determined to help our PR dream team—along with Communications Executive Sharlotte Ritchie and Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Seema Alibhai–facilitate an international press conference and same-day music festival. Besides that, I didn’t know what to expect.

Photos from the isle of MTV Malta 2016 concert held at the Granneries in Floriana in front of a 50K crowd.

Seema Alibhai, Farah Cherif, and Sharlotte Ritchie bask in the splendor of the world’s greatest business trip.

Ritchie and I arrived in Malta on Saturday, June 25, and headed straight to our home for the next few days—the Grand Hotel Excelsior. With just three days to prepare for the press junket and concert, we pulled out our schedules and immediately started working through the hefty checklist.

First on the agenda—a  recce of the stunning Café del Mar for press drinks. We arrived just in time for the Maltese sunset, which was truly breath taking. Unfortunately there was no chance of taking a dip in their oh-so-inviting infinity pool. It was back to the hotel for us, for some serious laptop love.

Alibhai arrived Sunday morning. The day was full of meetings and walkthroughs of the festival grounds. We needed to know it all—from the journalist check-in at the press conference site, to the photographer pit. I mastered the routes, despite getting horrendous sunburn in the 30 degree Celsius heat (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Stage Designs

Setting up the press junket and concert site was a logistical feat.

That evening we hit the road with our legendary house photographer and MTV’s number one fan, Rene Rossignaud. Tucked into the back of his super-cool vintage FIAT, Rene showed us ‘his’ island. We saw everything from Brangelina’s favorite restaurant to the Queen’s old summer residence.

By Monday, we were back to work. It was time to welcome 55 journalists from Italy, France, the Netherlands and the U.K. I’ve always been good at multitasking, but I didn’t know I could juggle this many people. After a day of handling last-minute changes and accommodating journalists’ requests, it was finally time to head to Café del Mar for our highly anticipated press drinks. We arranged to be there just in time for sunset again, which did not disappoint our guests in all its fiery glory.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] The skyline of Mdina, Malta, captured against a fiery sunset.

Malta’s fiery sunset.

Next up? Showtime! We rose early on Tuesday, June 28 to prepare for the press conference. To test how well we work on our tippy toes, a gale force wind swept the island, wreaking havoc on our beautifully arranged press conference terrace. For a moment we thought we would have to move the conference indoors, but thanks to a few logistical tweaks—such as changing the entrance to the terrace to avoid the brunt of the wind—we were able to conduct interviews outside as planned.

PreStage Malta

A rare moment at the Isle of MTV – an empty, serene stage.

Finally the press activity was underway. Between our Whatsapp group notifications draining my cell phone battery, late arrivals of journalists for interviews, talent stopping half way down the terrace to have a spot of lunch, and Steve Aoki’s private jet being delayed, I stayed on my tippy toes.

We finished our press conference just in time to prevent our journalists from melting in the mid-day heat.

It was time to move on to the concert site.  Over 50,000 fans filled out Il-Fosos Square with the beautiful back-drop of St. Paul’s church.

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The Isle of MTV is Malta’s most majestic rave.

Our MTV Veejay, Becca Dudley, was backstage juggling interviews while a camera crew followed her for our Facebook live-stream.

Becca Dudley Interviews Wiz Khalifa

Veejay Becca Dudley interviews Wiz Khalifa before the concert.

The first international act, Clean Bandit, took the stage for an incredible party-like set and was followed by Jess Glynne, who had the crowd vibing to her soulful vocals and live band.

Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit rocks Malta.

Wiz Khalifa came next, trebling the granaries with his bass lines. Deejay and producer Steve Aoki closed down the night. He celebrated the 10th anniversary of Isle of MTV in Malta by honoring his bizarre tradition of throwing cake at the crowd.

Cake

The crowd gets caked by deejay Steve Aoki.

And there it was, all over in a magic Malta minute—or so I thought.  The show may have been over but our job was not. We reconvened in the hotel lobby, where the PR dream machine was in full throttle. The post-show press release had to have the final touches added, photos needed to be shared with our media and most importantly, video clips of the show disseminated to the world’s correspondents.  We finally crawled into bed in the wee hours of the morning, just as the sun was rising—exhausted yet exhilarated.

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa rocked the night at the Isle of Malta.

I was surprised at how fast the trip whizzed by (pun intended), and how much I wanted to go back and listen to another Wiz Khalifa song. It was my first time watching a live concert from the front pit. Never will I be able to experience another gig from that vantage point. Thank you, Isle of MTV, for ruining it for me hereon in—but thank you even more for the incredible opportunity.

All photos by Rene Rossignaud.

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