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Fête de la musique! (Music Day)

Date: 21-06-2017 by Camille Gondral

Music everywhere! People walking the streets until late and families and friends reunited for a night out! This is what can be seen in the streets of France on 21st of June for the “Fête de la musique” (or Music Day).

Although France continues to be the most passionate about this festival and is the country which has the most things to do on this special day, Music Day is now celebrated all over the world, in more than 120 countries and 340 cities.

The idea originally came from an American musician, Joel Cohen, who at the time was working at France Musique, a French radio station mostly dedicated to classical music. Cohen wanted to create “saturnalia of music”, which would take place on the days of the two solstices. His idea was that bands could play through the streets on the 21st of June (the longest day and shortest night of the year- quite handy!) and on the 21st of December. The December celebration was never implemented, but it took place in Toulouse on the 21st of June 1976, before it was abandoned for a few years. However, after the 1981 presidential election, Jack Lang, the new Minister of Culture, adopted Cohen’s idea and the first official “Fête de la musique” was organised on the 21st of June 1982. This was a huge success all over France and that success has only grown as the years have passed.

According to the French Ministry of Culture, more than 18,000 concerts are organised each year as part of this festival, attracting around 10 million people (around 15% of the total population).

The main idea behind this festival was to gather people around the universal taste for music. Anyone can perform, any music style is welcome and the entire event is completely free (some paid concerts may take place but these cannot be recognised as part of the “Fête de la musique” festivities). How amazing is that?

This is a really great night in France: people are relaxed and enjoy music together. What’s more the weather is often on our side. Music Day is an opportunity to have a nice (free) night out with your friends and family, passing from one stage to another, from style to style, just enjoying the music and relaxing!

Let’s hope the UK will begin to organise more and more events in the context of this festival, since nowadays, it is mainly based in London. After all, with friends, family, music and relaxation, isn’t it the perfect recipe for a great night out, wherever you come from?

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