21 June 2009

Fête de la Musique

ONE OF THE great traditions in France is the annual Fête de la Musique -- an all night music festival held every June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice -- the shortest night of the year. The 'World Music Day' only dates back to the mid 1970s and was originally the idea of an American musician employed by a French radio station. But the event quickly caught on and is now celebrated in virtually every village in the country. The idea is to get professional and amateur musicials to set up on street corners and make their music (the event is often promoted as faites de la musique -- make music -- a homophone of fête de la musique). What makes the event so popular is that you can experience every kind of music imaginable; if you're listening to provençal music you can usually walk about 100 meters and find something completly different. Last year I was in Paris on the 21st of June and the atmosphere was incerdible around my hotel near Les Halles and the Louvre. I spent most of the time listening to a big band group where none of the members looked to be under 70.

Last night the small village where we are living temporarily held their concerts one night early so I took a trip down to the main center at about 10:30 to watch a couple of the acts. Turns out it must have been Jr. High Band Night because all the groups that played were comprised of 15-17 year-olds singing bad 90s songs in incomprehesible English. I was going to call the evening a wash after the 4th Greenday song until one of the groups broke out with 'Jet City Woman' by Queensryche. It didn't take long before my arms were pulsing in the air with my index and pinky fingers extended upward. I looked around for others doing that same thing. But it was just me so I stopped toute de suite. Nobody else seemed to know the song.

Anyway, tonight's the big night and we haven't decided where to go. Nice will be great, but packed. The same goes for Cannes and Antibes. We my try a smaller village that's a bit easier to get to. We'll see.

1 comment :

angus said...

If we were there now, my girlies would gladly stand on a corner and sing something from High School Musical all night!! Arrrgh!! That is all that I've been listening to the past little while.

No Tonka trucks for me! ):