30-foot man to be set ablaze
Seeing a man set on fire is something most people hope they will never have to witness.
But what if the man were 30 feet tall, made entirely of wood and set ablaze for a good cause?
The gargantuan human effigy is the centrepiece of a day-long music and art festival being held tomorrow at Naxxar’s old Trade Fair Grounds.
And with all the proceeds going to Mater Dei Hospital’s renal unit, festival-goers will surely have plenty of reason to cheer as the flames lick the night sky.
The brainchild of bicycle maniac and Life Cycle 2012 participant Luke Marshall, the Man on Fire festival is set to incorporate a kaleidoscopic range of activities.
A 3,000-balloon water fight – which Mr Marshall estimates is Malta’s largest ever – will kick events off in the early afternoon, with bands playing against the background of the aged and derelict remains of what was once Malta’s premier expo.
Visitors’ €5 entry ticket will also buy them the chance to witness a stunt show by BMX riders, take part in sumo suit wrestling and even take turns at hitting an adult piñata, filled with what Mr Marshall described as “the adult equivalent of sweets”.
“We’d like to create something novel for Malta, giving up-and-coming artistes and musicians a chance to shine in an environment most people won’t be used to,” Mr Marshall explained.
Organisers were busy planning the construction of a miniature house when The Times visited the site.
The plan is for the house to float slowly into the sky with the aid of multiple helium balloons, mirroring events in Pixar’s’ animated film Up.
The centrepiece, however, remained the gigantic timber man, towering above the festival grounds with a quizzical – and wooden – smile on his “face”. Mr Marshall candidly admitted that the idea was borrowed from the world-renowned Burning Man festival, held annually in the US Nevada desert.
“We’ve called it Man on Fire to avoid copyright issues.
“Hopefully, the event will be a success and it could become an annual, or at least bi-annual, occurrence.”
With more than 400 people having pledged to attend the event on Facebook, Mr Marshall is hoping to add a substantial amount of money to the Life Cycle’s fundraising kitty.
But with the daunting 10-day, 1,900-kilometre cycle from Brisbane to Melbourne, Australia, edging closer by the day, he is very unlikely to have much time for resting on his laurels.
“This will be my second Life Cycle, having cycled from Istanbul to Damascus in 2009.
“I had no idea what I was in for, but it turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences ofmy life.
“Now, three years later, I’m ready to do it all over again.”