Known and celebrated in more than 100 countries all around the world on 21th of June, do you know that the “Fête de la Musique” was a French idea?
Back in the 80’s our Culture Minister named Jack Lang discovered that Joël Cohen, an American musician living in France and working for the radio channel France Musique” organized musical shows during the summer and winter solstices every year in his auditorium, to celebrate music.
Jack Lang the minister and Maurice Fleuret who was in charge of the dance section at the minister office worked together to propose an event which give total freedom to every musician in France to play in front of an audience, without having to rent a place, and to allow every people to listen to a concert without having to pay a ticket!
The date was chosen as a remembering of the old pagan celebrations which was done on the longest day of the year, symbol of the end of the winter season.
The first Fête de la Musique happened on 21th June 1982: every amateur musician was allowed to go out and play music in the streets, on places, in the wood, wherever you wanted to!
And of course, you could play the kind of music you liked, which was incredible because in Paris’s streets for example, you could, while you were walking around the city, stop by an opera singer and then 100m later you could listen to a Heavy Metal band, then a gospel choir etc…
This was very nice to see and to listen to and at these times it was a really “no filter” music party all over France, from the biggest cities to the smallest villages.
Unfortunately, after few years of total freedom and total mess sometimes too, the cities and villages had to take decisions to keep the Fête de la Musique alive without having bad situations.
A law was voted to give more space to the mayors: they could decide the way the Fête de la Musique will happen in their city. Some of them open the parks and gardens to let orchestras and bands play but only in a specific area, some others close streets to cars to let people walk in the city in total safety, in fact everything is done to keep a good feeling on this special day.
After the success of this French Fête de la Musique a lot of countries around the world decided to have their own Fête de la Musique: Canada, USA, Japan, Sweden… The French Fête de la Musique is known everywhere, sometimes called “World music day” but most of the time the French name is kept.
Currently, in some towns, if the 21th of June is on a week day, the festivities are moved to the week end to let people partying longer. While driving or walking on the streets you could see the posters with the programs or you can find everything on the cities internet websites.
So, if you are in France in June, don’t forget the “Fête de la Musique”and you can say to your friends later: “Did you know that Fête de la Musique was French?”