Fête de la Musique is celebrating its 34th year this Sunday, January 21st in the French capital, and it’s one of those events that literally can’t be missed, unless you decide to hole up in your Parisian apartment watching movies with the windows closed. But, that would be truly dommage (a shame).
This year’s theme, Vivre ensemble la musique, roughly translated to “Live music together,” is centered around people being gathered together and ultimately united by music. It’s no secret that the French like to rally together for administrative complaints against the government, but this time it’s about mutual appreciation for an art form shared around the world.
If this is your first time, here are 10 things you should know about La Fête de la Musique:
- Fête de La Musique was created in 1982 by France’s culture and communication minister.
- Both amateur and professional musicians perform during the music festival, which lasts all day and all night. (The métro will be open the whole night as well.)
- The date is fixed to the summer solstice—June 21st.
- The event is free and open to the public.
- All types of music genres are represented.
- The festival takes place outdoors in the streets, squares, public gardens, courtyards, and train stations, as well as in museums, hospitals, state buildings, etc. Many restaurants and bars hold smaller concerts in their establishments, too.
- The musicians play for free, and the event is nonprofit.
- It is actually a nationwide event, taking place in cities and towns across the country.
- Anyone can participate, whether it be private or public businesses, music associations, schools or musically themed cafés, restaurants and bars.
- The popularity of Fête de la Musique in France has become so widespread that it has inspired more than 120 countries around the world to adopt the same tradition. Major music epicenters Berlin and New York have also followed suit.