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La Fête de la Musique: Make music to celebrate summer!

La Fête de la Musique or Music Day is a popular and free music festival that takes place each year in France and in more than 100 countries all around the world. This big national event is a mixture of all musical styles for all audiences. Here’s a glance at it history!

Make music accessible to everyone

La Fête de la Musique was created in 1982 by the Ministry of Culture. The idea originally came from the American musician Joel Cohen who was then working for a French radio station called Radio France. He wanted bands to play on the evening of June 21, the very first day of summer, to welcome the return of the sun! The idea was finally adapted by Maurice Fleuret and implemented in France by Jack Lang, the Minister of Culture, to “make music accessible to everyone”. Anyone can attend a concert for free or even play music on a venue. Music Day has its own motto: “Make music, Music Day” (based on a French play-on-words, “Faites de la musique, fête de la musique”). Every June 21st, France houses more than 18 000 concerts with no less than 5 million amateur musicians and singers who bring together nearly 10 million spectators. 97% of French people know about Music Day! Usually, bars and restaurants have to close at around half past midnight. But on the night of Music Day, they have a special permission to stay open much later into the night so they can welcome the public.

The longest day of the year

The date of the 21st most often happens to be the summer solstice or midsummer. This is the longest day of the year. Night falls very late, letting French people take full advantage of all the events. Music Day was first exported in 1985 for the European Year of Music. In less than 15 years, it has been adopted by more than 100 countries all around the world. On French Music Day, the guitar is the most played instrument, closely followed by the piano which is the most taught instrument on French music schools.