Another successful tour by the Astra Folk Group
The Astra Folk Group has just returned from a 13-day trip to the UK, during which it participated in the 44th International Folk Festival in Billingham, north-east England. Fellow participants in this high-calibre festival included groups from Italy, Britain, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Malaysia and Colombia.
The performances, spread over almost two weeks, were held in two main venues, namely, the Forum Theatre and the open-air Festival Arena. The opening and closing parades were also colourful occasions when the locals had the opportunity to cheer the hundreds of participants dressed up in their national or regional costumes.
The Astra Folk Group repertoire included song and dance set to traditional music or scores composed in the folk idiom especially for this troupe. The performances were especially appreciated for their good cheer and liveliness. Throughout the visit, members distributed literature about the group and brochures advertising Gozo and Malta as tourist destinations with special emphasis on their cultural attractions.
The Festival was held under the patronage of Mayor John Fletcher. Led by Artistic Director Anthony Zammit, the group also paid cultural visits to Edinburgh, York and Cambridge. The visit took place with the support of various entities including the Ministry for Gozo, the Ministry for Education, Youth and Culture, and the Tourism and Information Secretariats.