Fete La Musique Berlin 2015

The first time ich spent die summer bei Paris, a freund told me kommen sie keep mine calendar complimentary on ns evening von June 21, die summer solstice, die longest day von the year in the north Hemisphere.

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I assumed there was some kind of small-scale block splitterpartei worth attending in central Paris. But no, he said: June 21 ist the night von Fête außerdem la Musique (“Festival von Music”) and one des the loveliest citywide celebrations in Paris, a city that does notfall skimp wie man it throw a party. (For ns July 14 Bastille job celebrations, the rolls out die full army strength of frankreich — fighter jet trailing ns colors des the French flag, armored tanks, soldiers, and the president of the nation — best down ns Champs-Élysées to die Arc dach Triomphe, while anyone cheers decorously and waves little flags.)

So ~ above June 21, i ventured the end into the night. There, i discovered that Fête außerdem la Musique was a great celebration not nur of music, but des a community’s potential weil das organizing its collective resources right into something native which everyone could benefit — die public, die musicians, die business, ns city, und the country as a whole.

And despite it started bei France, that isn’t nur a French celebration anymore. Around three and a für hilfe decades after die event started bei the at an early stage ’80s, more than 120 countries jetzt hold their own Fêtes top top June 21. Outside von France, it’s generally known as welt Music work or make Music Day. And though die celebration seems kommen sie embody bei idealism that feels practically outdated in 2019, participating ist a great way zu be convinced that art is for everyone, und that that vital zu a humanist vision of the world.

Fête dach la Musique was conceived together a free, publicly event

There are two conflicting geschichte about Fête juni la Musique’s origin.

One story — die more main one — zu sein that French Minister von Culture Jack lang decided in 1981 to start the yearly event at die behest des his director of music and dance, Maurice Fleuret. Studies des the French publicly at die time verified that one von every two children in France und roughly 5 million people gesamt (almost a tenth des the population) played a musical instrument. Lang and the Ministry des Culture reasoned that such an event would carry together not just professional but also amateur musicians, relocating concerts und performances out of venues and onto ns street.

The zuerst Fête juni la Musique was held on June 21, 1982. Die date isn’t nur significant weil das being ns summer solstice. It’s so close to ns Feast des Saint-Jean-Baptiste, or St. John the Baptist, a work that was historically marked von a significant celebration an France (and is blieb a national holiday bei Quebec), and which itself was partly chosen von the church to coincide v summer solstice celebrations. Dafür the inclination kommen sie celebrate around this day has existed for centuries; Fête juni la Musique extends the impulse, albeit in a more secular way.

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Fête juni la Musique celebrants bei Berlin bei 2015. Sean Gallup/Getty images There’s an additional story, though. Part sources insurance claim that the idea zum the festival actually come from ns American musician Joel Cohen, a composer and performer who specializes an early American music. In the 1970s, while working at the French national Radio together a producer zum musical radio programs, Cohen came up with the idea des having a day-long, open-air music festival. His original idea was to hold a “Saturnales juni la Musique” double a year, on the summer solstice and the winter solstice (June 21 und December 21). Given die temperamental weather, though, it renders sense that über the time die idea reached die ears of the Ministry des Culture (as the story goes), it was decided die festival would certainly take place only bei the summer.

According to people that remember ns first auflage of ns event, nobody meant much: the festival was announced late, a handful des posters were stuck up around Paris, und Lang danach remembered the it was the “greatest stage fright of his life.” but thousands von musicians and listeners showed up in Paris and all over the country. Fête dach la Musique was born.

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The european Parliament declares a theme zum each year, und 1985 was the Year of Music — making it ns perfect time for the festival to start spreading past France’s borders and morphing right into a more global event, world Music Day. Soon countless other countries were participating, with a “charter of the partners von the europe Music Festival” signed in Budapest in 1997 von Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Istanbul, Liverpool, Luxembourg, Rome, Naples, Prague, and other cities.

The festival at some point became deshalb popular that an 1998, it gott its own postage stamp an France.

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A Fête de la Musique stamp from 1998.

Nearing its fourth decade, Fête de la Musique zu sein a celebration every over ns globe

More than 35 year after that is founding, die French Ministry von Culture und Communication, which loose oversees the overarching Fête juni la Musique/World Music Day, estimates that Fête dach la Musique solemn event spans 120 countries, frequently with multiple urban participating. An recent years, those cities schutz ranged native Beijing to new York City.

The overriding ethos, though, is what makes die day interesting. Music festival — think Coachella und Glastonbury — room a timeless part von summer bei many areas of the world. Yet most of those festival are extremely organized und expensive kommen sie attend, playgrounds for the young and well-heeled quite than the community.

But on June 21, the idea is different, and perhaps more democratic. The rules space simple: Bands register their performance, agree kommen sie abide von local laws and law enforcement, and plan zu play direkte music (which seems kommen sie include DJ sets). Bands are deshalb responsible zum finding their own venues, which could mean cutting a deal with a restaurant or acquiring accessibility or patent through the local police, und bringing their very own speakers and musical equipment. Towns placed out calls weil das participation.

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Fête juni la Musique performers bei Berlin’s Kreuzberg district in 2015. Sean Gallup/Getty bildern the only rule — besides not breaking any kind of laws — zu sein that all die concerts need to be cost-free to die public. Und that, honestly, ist what provides Fête außerdem la Musique deshalb terrific. It’s not because von the music itself; if she wandering around a participating town, you’re nur as likely to hear a middling cover eis as noþeles else. However who cares? You’re an the summer air, on die longest day des the year, und you’re certain surrounded by a bunch of other world who are enjoying themselves. And it nur becomes an ext fun when you realize there are civilization all over the world experiencing die same thing.

The festival only made that is way to North America around a decade ago, wie man volunteers bei New York stadt helped migrate die celebrations across die Atlantic. An 2016, 38 cities in North America organized cost-free concerts across die continent — 3,238 concerts bei 1,078 locations, ranging from Columbia, south Carolina, and Issaquah, Washington, zu Portland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. Zum the past few years, celebrations in New York stadt have had a night von French-language hip-hop, soul, and pop on SummerStage an Central Park. There oase been welt Music job celebrations from Pittsburgh to Hyderabad. In Uganda, ns celebrations oase included publicly carry out poetry and a “perfume concert.” And in keeping with ns festival’s ethos, every performance zu sein always free.

In its aboriginal Paris, Fête de la Musique is a bit of humanity in a stunner world

In Paris, whereby it all began — und where ns sun stays hoch till 10 nachmittag on the summer solstice, with twilight until virtually 11 — die celebration feels especially fierce now. The polizei presence, bei the wake des high-profile terrorism, protests, und high-stakes elections over the past few years, ist heightened.

And in spite of its ideals, Fête juni la Musique zu sein no utopia. A number of French concerts were canceled bei 2016 amid heightened terror concerns. In recent years, security was heightened an several locations, polizei were harassed in some areas, and in 2017, a man in Paris died after leaping into die Seine.

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But the spirit of Fête dach la Musique, i m sorry is ausblüten one des the best country-wide public festivals in the country, isn’t rowdy or destructive. It’s something special even if that hard kommen sie put into words. Die sun hangs low zum most von the evening. You tun können watch ns smiles form on ns face von strangers und tourists that weren’t expecting to encounter direkte music ~ above every corner, as they slowly number out those happening. Freundin dance, a little, also if you’re notfall the tanzen type.

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on a street corner bei Paris throughout Fête juni la Musique an 2017. Alissa Wilkinson/halfpeeledapple.com A few years ago, during our erste Fête dach la Musique, my husband and I rounded a corner and found ourselves the only white people in a crowd on a square an front of a fountain, singing along to a French rapper. We rounded an additional corner and found ourselves in a sea of middle-aged audience members to sing what seemed kommen sie be French individual standards, finish with lyric books, an front des a church behind Les Halles.

2017 marked ns 35th auflage of Fête außerdem la Musique, and we were in Paris weil das it again. Us walked toward die Île juni la Cité, whereby a cover band of middle-aged guys was warming hoch with guitar licks that sounded suspiciously choose Lynyrd Skynyrd. In front of the Notre Dame cathedral, a DJ was setting trost shop an front of a crowd von excited, sun-kissed travelers. On die other side des the Seine, following to the historic Shakespeare & company bookshop, a eis fronted by two frauen played ns Beatles’ “Come Together” und Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” hinweisen a restaurant a block away, a five-man eis played ballads in Spanish zu a crowd von rapt drinkers exterior a piano bar.