Musicians always like to end their concerts with a bang, but renowned Italian singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela was probably not expecting his gig at Notte Bianca to end with police taking the stage and pulling the plug.

The multi-award-winning artist had been invited to Notte Bianca as the headline act for the festival’s folk music stage at Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Valletta, performing a special concert inspired by Caravaggio’s Beheading of St John the Baptist.

Capossela and his band - the final act of the night - took to the stage shortly before midnight, a few minutes after their scheduled start time.

According to audience members, the well-attended concert was still going strong at around 1.45am, when theatre security staff went up to the stage to stop the band, apparently because they had overrun their allotted time.

With the audience still eager for more, the band ignored the instruction to stop, prompting theatre staff to turn off the microphones, but still the band played on.

Minutes later, several police officers rushed in and brought the gig to an end.

Audience footage shows the crowd loudly booing police and security staff, stopping only to cheer the band as they took their final bows. 

"Maybe he’s not so famous in Malta but he’s a superstar in Italy and internationally," said one disappointed Italian visitor. 

Notte Bianca artistic director Sean Buhagiar, who was present at the time, said the band had just started playing their last track when the police ordered them to stop. 

"I have no idea if there was a complaint," Mr Buhagiar said. "I know there was a request by the police; I tried to cooperate and was going to inform the artists but it escalated too quickly. I was with Vinicio and the band after, luckily - though flabbergasted - they took it lightly. They just expected to know before they saw the police storm under the stage."

Notte Bianca, the annual one-night arts and culture festival, drew tens of thousands to Valletta on Saturday. Billed by organisers as "the best one ever", this year's edition featured four music stages - including acts such as nosnow/noalps, Tribali, Emma Muscat and Biondo - as well as street performance, theatre and dance, while the city's palaces, churches and museums opened their doors to visitors for free.