Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Paris Diary: Fête de la musique

Summer Solstice at Stone Henge, England
Yesterday was Midsummer's Day; Summer Solstice; whatever you want to call it. In England, this usually comprises of someone going "Oh, here comes the winter then, we're back on the downhill path, etc." and a few gypsy/hippy/pagan people gathering at Stone Henge, as depicted, right (taken from The Telegraph).

But not in Paris. Oh no! This Midsummer's Day marked the annual Fête de la musique, happening on June 21 in Paris ever since its introduction in 1982 by Maurice Fleuret (Director of Music & Dance) under Jack Lang (Minister of Culture). Apparently he found that 1 in 2 children in France played a musical instrument, and so Fête de la musique was born as a way of encouraging both professional and amateur musicians to take to the streets! It was so successful that it's now celebrated across a number of other countries (pull your socks up, Great Britain!).

Timbao on the night of Fête de la Musique
As for my night out, it consisted of bopping around Montmartre and Pigalle to drum orchestra Timbao, a DJ set outside Café Chappe, a death metal band, a tiny acoustic group, a man playing violin to house music outside Zazabar, an excitable ska band in Omnibus Café and then sashaying my way home past some great salsa music and through the crowds of Parisians dancing on the streets.

The most striking thing about it all was the pure happiness everyone, everywhere. Friends across the city told tales of the exact same thing; everybody dancing and smiling, cheering on the cars and bikes trying to get through their dancing bodies, applauding the residents who came onto their balconies to watch the makeshift dance floors that were the streets and alleys.

Tip of the Day: If you're ever around Paris in June, make sure it's June 21st!

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