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  • Ramona Depares


Radio show ROCKNA, hosted by DJ Michael Bugeja, celebrated its fifth anniversary with a four-bill line-up and a live broadcast from Hard Rock Malta at the Valletta Waterfront. The event was introduced by Radio 101 station manager Charles Saliba, who also opened the evening’s edition of the radio show. Saliba reminisced about how the show kicked off soon after he had approached Bugeja to discuss the idea. Bugeja then found himself experiencing the other side of the coin, as he was interviewed by DJs Lito and Noel Mifsud, who are also part of the annual ROCKNA end-of-year round-up.

Bugeja had encouraging words to say about the current music scene, which he believes is still on the rise despite the fast growth rate experienced in recent years. “I am excited about the local industry as new generations continue to explore the world of music and to come up with some extraordinary stuff that we might have never dreamed of back in the 1980s when contemporary/modern rock, alternative and metal bands first started surfacing here.

“The downside remains the lack of venues – not to mention the fact that authorities are still at a standstill when it comes to formulating a proper, informed structure to help motivate, rather than restrain the proliferation of live events and consequently, the entire scene,” Bugeja said.

Bugeja also reminisced about the now-defunct bands that he would have liked to feature on ROCKNA, but which circumstances had not permitted. “Having said that, some bands that were defunct and then featured on ROCKNA, such as Acid and Friday PM, eventually resurfaced. So one never knows, really.”

The radio host expressed his belief that radio shows remain as relevant and important to both musicians and the public, even in a digitally-dominated age. “Many might think that online playlist facilitators like Spotify and YouTube are a boon for the industry, but in a way they can also lead to confinement or restriction in terms of music discovery. Radio, in all its formats, can serve to bridge that gap in bringing new talent to the attention of the masses.”

The evening, which was organised together with Hard Rock Café Malta and Radio 101 continued with performances by four local bands: nosnow/noalps, Jane Doe, Massacre House Party and Fuzzhoneys, before closing off with a DJ set by Colin Fitz.

This article was written by Ramona Depares and published on The Sunday Times (21 July 2015).

It is also available online at

Top photo by Ans Ankone

Massacre House Party photo by Charles Attard


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