The 21st of June is a special day in France and around the world. The summer solstice is not only the longest day of the year... it’s also the date of the Fête de la Musique! On this day, thousands of musicians give free concerts in streets, cafés, town squares and concert halls – to the delight of several million spectators.
Founded in 1982 by the Minister for Culture Jack Lang, the Fête de la Musique offers free concerts - promoting diverse music for everyone - in all types of places. The annual festival is open to professional musicians and amateurs and aims to reach a broad range of audiences. With the slogan « Fête de la Musique, Faites de la Musique ! » (a play on words along the lines of ‘Day of music, Play some music!), the event seeks to be a democratic and unifying force.
France’s Fête de la Musique
In France, a large number of artists perform free of charge on the 21st of June. Making money from music is not the objective; the goal is instead to make culture accessible to one and all. For this reason, the SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Editors of Music) does not collect royalties from the concerts – the 26 million works in its repertoire are made available for the day to concert organisers!
The Fête de la Musique is undoubtedly at its most impressive in the city where it was born: Paris. Hundreds of concerts are organised in places as prestigious as the Louvre, the Tuileries Garden and the Olympia Hall and at night the city streets are given over to music.
The atmosphere is festive and there is music for everyone - jazz, soul, funk, rock, electro, reggae, classical, rap – every genre one could wish for is represented. The Fête de la Musique is almost a rite of passage for new music groups and hopeful artists.
Dozens of French cities join together for the event. In 2013, 5,552 Fête de la Musique concerts were recorded in France – proof that the festival has well and truly become an annual celebration not to be missed for many French citizens...and this sentiment is not just restricted to France.
A global celebration of music
Since 1982, the Fête de la Musique has greatly evolved. Over 110 countries and no less than 340 towns have become part of the event. All around the world – in India, Togo, Columbia, Japan and Canada – people are in the mood to celebrate on the 21st June! Often organised outside of France by Alliances Françaises or Instituts Français, the event relies on international cooperation to promote its annual theme and design.
The annual themes are diverse, including Women in Music (2010), Music from Overseas Regions, (2011), Pop’s 50th Anniversary (2012), Fête de la Musique Acoustic (2013), Rhythms of the City (2014) and, finally, the upcoming Celebrate Music Together (2015) - with the common goal to fight against racism and anti-Semitism.
Since 2011, the festival has become an annual event in Melbourne!
Encouraged by the success of previous Fêtes de la Musique, the Alliance Française de Melbourne (AFM) is again
organising two free concerts in June. Do not miss l’édition
which will take place on Thursday 18th June at the St Kilda Library and Friday 19th June at the Prince Bandroom! The first concert is a
family-friendly event, featuring performances from primary and secondary school groups as well as two classical music ensembles from the
ANAM and a student from the AFM. As for the concert at the iconic Prince Bandroom, the evening event will present four popular local
Melbourne music groups and a DJ who will set the room on fire. We expect to see you there!
For the Alliance Française de Melbourne
Translated from French by Bonnie Kate Einsiedel and Laure-Anne Latinier,
students in the Master of Interpreting and Translation Studies at Monash University