I remember my first and only experience with fête de la musique in France. While doing a summer abroad program in Lyon, my host parents encouraged me to take advantage of the longest day of the year to attend this summer street festival. At first they tried to get their 12 year old son to take me with his friends, but he was too embarrassed to take the “petite américaine” with him (!). So instead, I set off with a fellow student in my program into downtown Lyon. We sauntered around Place Bellecour, exploring its sidewalks and streets, where lone acts and groups alike performed all types of music, from Édith Piaf to Bob Marley, during this annual celebration of music and the summer solstice.
« La musique sera partout et le concert nulle part ! »This annual festival began with Maurice Fleuret, who was appointed Directeur de la musique et de la danse under Minister of Culture Jack Lang in October 1981. The following year, a study performed on the cultural habits of the French people uncovered their musical inclinations. It found that five million French people, and 50% of French youth, played a musical instrument. In true French revolutionary style, Fleuret and Lang decided to harness this musical talent and spirit by bringing it to the streets in a type of musical manifestation. Fleuret proclaimed, “La musique sera partout et le concert nulle part !” (Music will be everywhere, and the concert nowhere). From their ideas and philosophy the first Fête de la musique was launched on June 21, 1982 in Paris. After only three years, the program spread to other European countries and is now celebrated in more than one hundred countries across five continents.
« Faites de la musique »Several of the publicity posters over the years have utilized the homophone, “Faites de la musique” or “Make music,” which I particularly enjoy. Street performances during World Music Day, as it is also known, can be of any musical genre and both amateurs and professionals can apply to play, but performances must be free to the public. Planning to be in France during the fête this year? Check out the event’s website, which helps you locate celebrations.
Celebrate with us!Want to celebrate in Boston? The Community Music Center of Boston will host their annual Fête de la musique on Saturday, June 22 from 3-6 pm at several parks in the South End. Visit their website for details and make sure to visit the French Cultural Center at Freida Garcia Park during the festival!
From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and the language and culture entranced her through her student years. She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities, quality programming, and a community through French!