Shutdowns, cancellations and quarantines are still the order of the day everywhere in the world, but at least, one of Malta’s favourite summer hangouts has offered patrons a small ray of hope. Ladies and gentlemen, Zion is returning… ish.
This week would’ve been a massive one for fans of Malta’s music scene and patrons of the Marsaskala bar. Kicking off on Friday, Rock The South Festival – one of the alternative scene’s most important annual appointments – would’ve meant 2020’s first drive down to Zion for many people.
Seeing as it was completely stripped down last year to make way for extensive renovation works, this year’s reopening of Zion for the summer season would’ve been even more special for its patrons.
Now, with every public event still postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Rock The South switching to an online festival, people are going to have to wait a bit longer to visit the south’s beloved shack-turned-restaurant-turned-music-venue.
In the meantime, though, Zion gave its fans something to look forward to; its famous sign, looking bigger and better than ever, returning to the newly-built facade.
“We’ve been quiet for a while now,” the bar’s Facebook page told its followers. “But we’ve been up to something big…”
Hanging the sign up on the front of what is presumably the new and improved Zion facade – the video intentionally doesn’t show much – workers looked on and smiled at the symbolic return of the famous venue.
Fans of the estasblishment quickly flocked to the video, tagging their friends and commenting on how they couldn’t wait to be back at Zion… when the times and authorities would permit, of course.
“Another milestone, and definitely a push towards the finish line,” Zion manager Maria Portelli shared on Facebook over the weekend. “Buzz off Coronavirus!”
Maria has been keeping friends and fans alike updated on the process at Zion, last month sharing a photo of a blank wall overlooking the beautiful Marsaskala bay. “For some it may seem just like a picture,” she had said back in late April. “For us it’s a milestone… one of our firsts.”
To make matters worse, this year marks Zion’s grand 10-year anniversary. But while the bar’s reopening might’ve been postponed, Maria’s still seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel”.
“We’ve been through hell and back,” the manager told Lovin Malta. “We’re tired and just want to open again, we’ve been missing people and their positive comments for a good year now.”
“Considering where we started from and the big hole we had this summer, though, we’ve come a long way and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she went on. “It’s been a long and hard journey, but we’re very satisfied with the outcome and super excited to open our doors.”
COVID-19 may have had other plans for Zion’s massive 10-year-anniversary summer reopening, but Maria hopes to be able to restart some of the bar’s services – like takeaway – by the beginning of June.
“Unless government instructs that we can open,” she added hastily. “In that case, we’d open, but with the necessary and instructed precauations.”
“We miss hosting people, the bands and the fun of it all,” Maria reminisced. “Funnily enough, last year we thought we wouldn’t manage to host Rock The South considering we had just dropped the building, but it still ended up being another successful edition. In the end, the virus had to be the one to stop us in our tracks.”
“To keep the irony going, we made sure the garden is full of Corona references to really drive home the fact that 2020 was the year of Corona,” Maria finished, smiling as she shared photos of Zion’s new yard… dotted with the Corona beer logo.