Malta's Lockdown Festival, the first Maltese online music festival set up during the COVID-19 pandemic, is one of 30 winners of the European Citizen's Prize 2020.

Malta's office of the European Parliament said on its Facebook page that the festival is the national winner of the prize.

The European Citizen's Prize was chaired by European Parliament vice-president Dita Charanzová. Contestants were nominated by MEPs.

The prize is intended to reward individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves in strengthening European integration. The award ceremony will be held in November.

Back in March 2020, four artists, Vegard Flatoey, Zoe Camikkeri, Niels Plotard and Keit Bonnici organised a virtual music and arts festival after the cancellation of countless shows and events due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The festival was streamed live on Facebook for a whole weekend and featured a number of local and international musicians and artists performing from their homes.

A crowdfunding page to raise funds to be distributed equally among freelance artists participating in the projects had also been set up.

In April, the Culture Ministry assigned €75,000 to the Malta Arts Fund to help creative and cultural practitioners deal with the impact of the pandemic. 

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola congratulated the Lockdown Festival on the success.

“In the midst of the pandemic, Lockdown Festival brought together 17 artists to prepare shows from their home for online audience. This initiative showed solidarity and provided an essential means for artists, dancers, poets, actors and musicians to continue their work,” she said.

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