In 1965, the Reverend Monsignor Caruana (deceased Bishop of Gibraltar), a young priest at the time, decided that Gibraltar lacked a Community Centre and set about raising funds for this ambitious project.

Undaunted, his idea was to hold a Song Festival in Gibraltar as his main thrust. The early editions of the Song Festival were totally comprised of local talent and became so popular that it was decided to make it an annual event. Due to a number of factors, not least that Father Caruana had to relinquish control owing to his parochial duties, the Festival was discontinued in the mid 1980s.

It was briefly revived in 1990 as part of Gibraltar Festival of Music and the Performing Arts (GIFOMAPA). The organising committee at the time was chaired by the Minister for Education and Culture, Joseph Moss. It ran for around three years, attracting entries from a good number of mainly European countries, but it was again discontinued after the 1993 edition.

Upon his retirement, Joe Carseni, winner of three Gibraltar Song Festivals, took it upon himself to revive the event. Such was his enthusiasm and determination that a Board of Directors was formed and plans set in motion to hold the first Gibraltar Song Festival (subsequently re-named the Gibraltar International Song Festival in recognition of the expanding range of countries from which songs were being submitted).

The revived Song Festival was held at the new Tercentenary Sports Hall on Saturday 29 September, 2007, and attracted singers and song writers from a large number of countries.

Entries came from the UK, Spain, Portugal and as far away as Australia, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and the US, among others, and played to a capacity audience of 1,000. Subsequent to the festival, donations were made to local charities, since donating to charitable causes is one of the aims of the event.



for local, as well as international, talent, and not only helps to promote tourism, but also reinforce Gibraltar’s reputation on the world music stage.