June 21 – La Fête de la Musique in France

Posted on June 21, 2018

The people who started World Music Day were a French Minister of Culture and a French composer and musician. It was first celebrated in Paris in 1982. Now this solstice festival of music has spread all around the world - but here's how the original country still celebrates:

France basically shuts down! Musicians take over!

"Fête" (meaning "celebration") is a homophone of "Faites" (meaning "make"), so the name of the day is also a sort of command: Hey, guys, go make some music! Anywhere and everywhere!

That's why amateur and professional musicians make music in the streets of France today. Of course there are also free concerts, but I always think it's fun to walk down the street or across a plaza...hearing one person's music get quieter as I walk away and then another person's music get louder as I walk toward it. 

By mandate of the Ministry of Culture, all concerts and musical events held today must be free, and all performers must donate their time. I read that last year there were at least 18,000 planned musical events in France on this day; in 2015 there were more than 1,500 in musical events Paris alone!

Of course, with all the excitement of free music everywhere, it's also a great day to enjoy the long daylight hours with picnics and dancing and assorted merrymaking! I read that around 10,000,000 (ten million) people get out into the streets for the nation's largest street music party! But even more people participate in the day in SOME way, since about 64% of the population say that they either play or listen to music during this Celebration of Music.

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