La Fête de la Musique is a one-day festival that takes place every year on June 21st, the summer solstice, throughout France.
Anyone can participate.
Soloists, groups, instrumental, and a cappella. Everything goes.
Musicians need only find a spot that doesn't compete with the music of another and play.
I learned about the festival in a French lesson and so added it to my travel dreams. I have since learned that similar festivals are organized in many countries, including Canada. But there is nothing like going to the source, which is what I did.
Last year I took a self-guided walking tour in France. I timed my trip so that I could experience La Fête de la Musique and, it turned out, I enjoyed it in two towns. Tours ran their festival on June 21st, which was a Thursday, but Chaumont, a much smaller town, held back a day and ran theirs on the Friday. Hence, I enjoyed the festival twice in one trip.
La Fête de la Musique is an experience worth organizing a spring trip to Europe around and easy to remember:
- When: June 21st every year.
- Where: just about any town in France and other countries as well.
A Brief History of La Fête de la Musique
A 1982 study on the cultural habits of the French found that one young person out of two played a musical instrument. The French Minister of Culture then looked for a way to bring people out onto the streets. The first Fête de la Musique took place in 1982 in Paris. It spread throughout France and then throughout the world. Today, June 21st is celebrated with music in 700 cities in 120 countries.