Monday, 20 June 2011
Fesivals: Fête de la Musique
June 21 is a significant date for French music fans, with the country marking the Fête de la Musique every year on that date.
Originally an initiative by the French ministry of culture, the event has been held every year since 1982, so this year marks its 30th anniversary.
Unlike the more commercial idea of what a music festival constitutes - ie a big event full of big names performing behind a big fence for the benefit of those that payed a big ticket price, the idea behind the Fête de la Musique is to make music accessible to everyone for free.
Performances take place in open areas like parks, museums and train stations, featuring musical events outwith their usual confines so that the public get a chance to experience sounds that they might not normally hear, by amateur or professional acts, well known or far from famous.
Young musicians get the chance to work with more established acts, performers get the chance to widen their audiences and showcase their skills and the public get a free cultural event on their doorstep. It's certainly something of a virtuous circle.
There are literally thousands of event taking place around France, including choirs, orchestras and bands, as well as more commercial rock and pop events.
This year sees iPhone and android apps available so that smart phone users can keep track of event taking place in their area.
Events are now held around the world to mark the occasion, with French cultural organisations promoting local events. We are some way from it being a well-known event in the UK, but we are gradually getting there, with events being held by organisations like the Alliance Francaise in Glasgow and the Institut Français d'Ecosse in Edinburgh as well as by the Institut Français in London.
Of course, not everyone has access to an event, in which case they should report to TV5 Monde's coverage on Tuesday night, with four hours of coverage from the Taratata programme at the place des Palais in Brussels featuring Colonel Reyel, Julien Doré, Nolwenn Leroy, Ziggy Marley, Yael Naim, Yannick Noah, Sexion d'Assaut, Martin Solveig, Stromaë and many others.
While every day on this blog is a celebration of French music, if you ever need an excuse to listen to some new music, today is certainly the day for it.