Two English volunteers at the music festival in Malta

On 18th July, St John Malta provided First Aid at the Isle of MTV Malta 2023, Europe’s biggest free music festival, featuring a lineup of international acts headlined by Grammy-nominated DJs. The team of our Maltese member was joined by two English volunteers who travelled to Valletta for the event.

Here is what Julia from St John Ambulance reports:

“I had recently finished university when I read an email entitled ‘Fancy a trip to Malta from 17th to 19th July to help St John Malta with the Isle of MTV music festival?’ caught my eye. I usually stay local when volunteering for St John Ambulance (SJA) but this looked exciting. I was free and I could travel at short notice so I applied. The travel date was only 5 days away so I had to move fast. My application was approved and I was ready to go. 

St John Malta kept in regular contact with me regarding the details of my trip and I felt confident that I would be welcomed. I was looking forward to meeting the other volunteers who had made the trip. As it turned out, there was only me and a young man called Lewis from the north of England. I was collected from the airport by Lewis and Chris and we went out to dinner where we met Andrew, the commissioner.

After dinner, we were taken to our accommodation at Fort Madliena where St John Malta is based. I was surprised to be staying in an actual fort and the facilities were basic but unique! 

The next morning, Reuben collected us and took us to see the historic city of Mdina where we learned of the Knights of St John. We ate lunch, then back to Fort Madliena to rest before being taken to Valetta for the Isle of MTV Malta music festival.

It had been very hot in Malta and so everyone was prepared to receive participants suffering from dehydration and the effects of the extreme heat. There were 8 beds in our marquee, a large fan, bottled water and facilities to rehydrate patients intravenously if necessary. 

There were similarities to the way SJA operates here in the UK and I felt the same team spirit and cohesion I have come to know over the years but Lewis and I were surprised by the presence of so many nurses and doctors from the local hospital.   In the UK, first aiders are the initial point of contact for all patients. They only get to see a health care professional if it is indicated, and they are usually also St John volunteers. We had fewer patients than I expected and I had very little to do as a first aider. It was, however, a great experience and I was very grateful that the participants were not drunk, vomiting or fighting like we sometimes see here in the UK at similar events.

Thank you, St John Malta, for having us at the Isle of MTV Malta event and for the superb hospitality you showed us over the 3 days.  It will be an experience I will share for many years with my SJA family here in the UK.”