C'est la fête de la musique !

Every 21 June, musicians take to the streets all over France! We take a look at why...

Image by Georgina Murray (c)
Image by Georgina Murray (c)

The Fête de la musique, also known as World Music Day, takes place on 21 June (the date that most often coincides with the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere). At its origin this is a French event, so understandably here in France it is a very big deal indeed!

It was first conceived in 1976 by the American musician Joel Cohen, who was then working for the radio station France Musique. Cohen proposed the Saturnales de la Musique for 21 June and 21 December (during the two solstices). Cohen's project was carried out on 21 June 1976, in Paris and Toulouse. Jack Lang, then ministre de la culture and Maurice Fleuret, directeur de la musique et de la danse du ministère, made the event official and the first national holiday was celebrated in 1982.

In less than forty years, it has taken hold in 120 countries on five continents, with more than 340 participating cities around the world.

Different music events happen all around Gourdon during the Fête de la musique...

The purpose of the Fête de la Musique is to promote music: it encourages amateur musicians to perform on a voluntary basis in streets and public spaces. Thanks to the organisation of numerous free concerts, by amateurs and professionals alike, it gives a wide audience access to music of all kinds and origins (classical music, jazz, rock, world music, traditional music, etc.) and even music sung in all languages.

Many establishments are allowed to stay open longer this evening to welcome the public, and many streets are closed to traffic in major cities to make way for organized or improvised scenes and spectators wandering from one show to another.

Music is officially France's favourite passtime. According to Statista, 87% of French people enjoy listening to music, placing it above watching TV or going out with friends, so it's no wonder that this is such a successful celebration!



Here is a short video in French explaining the Fête de la musique:


We hope that wherever you are on this day, you can celebrate it with music! Bonne fête !