The Fête de la Musique, is also known as World Music Day, and takes the form of a series of free concerts and street music festival on 21 June, which is also the summer solstice.
A Quick History
In October 1981, Maurice Fleuret became Director of Music and Dance at the ministry of culture. Motivated by his lifelong love of music he was determined to bring more music to the whole of the French public.
In 1982 a government study revealed that 1 in 2 French children played some form of instrument and this encouraged Maurice to find a way of bringing all the people together to enjoy music in all its forms.
Thus the Fête de la Musique was launched on 21 June 21 1982, the day of summer solstice, a pagan night on which the Fete de St Jean is also widely celebrated throughout France
The concept was an immediate success and led to all sorts of popular and largely spontaneous events taking place. Professional and amateur musicians were playing in the streets side by side playing music of all genres, rock, jazz, classic, blues as well as traditional and folk music.
Fete de la Musique Goes Global
Backed by the media, local councils and with the mass support of the population Fete de la Musique started to become one of France’s major cultural events.
By 1985 the concept was being adopted by many other countries, and is now an annual event throughout the five continents
The festival has also become something of a showcase for new bands and music although in many regions there is a strong emphasis on the more traditional music types.
Even professional musicians will usually provide their services for free and all officially recognised Fete de la Musique events are free to attend.
There are hundreds of events, from the big staged concerts in the cities to the local accordion players, playing in the streets of small villages.