With the arrival of summer, the vast array of entertainment provided by the Fête de la Musique is back! June 21st is dedicated to music, as all the summer solstices have been since 1982 when Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture, launched the first edition of this initiative which grew to global popularity as World Music Day.
Early in the evening and through to the following morning, soloists and groups, singers and musicians, jazzmen, classical artistes, baroque ensembles, salsa players and lovers of reggae, rap or electronic music all emerge with their saxophones, cellos, congas, drums and violas de gambe to interpret their favourite pieces at street corners, in the middle of squares, on café terraces or on the lawn of a park. As the summer’s warmth grows less intense and the light begins to fade towards evening, the preparations begin. Instruments are lifted from their cases, consoles are built, sheet music is leafed through, bows are tended and microphones are installed. The first discordant sounds of tuning-up are heard, then the first notes begin to float around us in the balmy air. The summer can begin!
Born 33 years ago, the Fête de la Musique was designed originally to encourage amateur musicians to play for the public. These were invited to take to the streets on the day of the summer solstice to show the range of their talent. Today, professional musicians mingle with amateurs, and the administration of the Mayor of Paris publishes a programme of events. Many cafes, restaurants and theatres establish a carefully thought-out schedule, but there’s also plenty of spontaneity and improvisation. Whether you are from Paris, New York, Stockholm or Warsaw, the music brings everyone together as we head into summer.
Conveniently centrally located, the Hotel Opera Lafayette is undoubtedly at the heart of the Festival! Just wander around the vicinity of our hotel on June 21st and see! You can consult the official programme developed by the city of Paris, or you may prefer to discover singers and musicians as you wander the streets, heading wherever your ears lead you. Relaxing in chairs, sitting on the pavement, supported on a wall, old Parisians and tourists on a spree, young couples and grandparents with their grandchildren; all are joined in harmony by the unifying spirit of music. A riff on the trumpet, a wild drum solo, a catchy rumba. We sing, we dance and we laugh in the beautiful atmosphere of early summer... it’s a celebration in which fun rhymes with friendliness and the joy lies in the discovery.
Finally, for those whose ears are not yet satisfied, the Gare du Nord dons all the finery of... a nightclub? Yes, indeed; from 23:30 on July 11th until the end of the night, the arcades of the iconic Parisian station will vibrate to the sounds of 3000 people dancing. But you’ll hear no music unless you have a headset, as this will be a silent disco! There’ll be no less than12 DJs and 4000 m2 of dance floor. You can tune into any of 3 DJs at a time and enjoy funk, electro, rap and hip hop, as well as the opportunity to meet other dance fans and share in a truly unique event.
• Program of the Fête de la musique in Paris
Picture copyright holder: Tourist Office Paris - Photographer Amélie Dupont
Hotel Opéra Lafayette, a 3* hotel in Paris between Gare du Nord and Opera area