Music Festival, its origin and history

By My B. Posted Jun 20, 2022 8:36 AM

Why do we celebrate the Fête de la Musique on June 21? Who created the Fête de la Musique, where does it take place and when was the first edition? These are all questions that deserve consideration of the origins of the festival and its history.

Like every year, we celebrate the Music Day on June 21. But then, why June 21, by the way? You should know that the Fête de la Musique is celebrated all over the world on the same day, this date coincides with the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. The Music Festival or the World Music Day is raging in a hundred countries that day.

Cocorico, the origin of the Fête de la Musique is French. If we dig into history to go back to its beginnings, we come across the American Joel Cohen who, in 1976, was working for France Music. He proposes then the creation of Saturnalia of music which would take place on the two solstices, June 21 and December 21. The idea was to have the music groups play on the evening of June 21, which was the case in the west of Paris and in Toulouse.

But it’s in 1981 you have to go back to learn how this festival is part of the cultural history of France. Freshly appointed director of the music and dance, Maurice Fleuret stated at the time that “The music will be everywhere and the concert nowhere”!. For him, the revolution is underway and will give voice to all genres of music: a sound liberation, an intoxication, a vertigo which are more authentic, more intimate, more eloquent than art”, he declares.

The following year, following a major survey of French cultural practices, it was discovered that 5 million people, half of whom were young people, played a musical instrument. That’s when Jack Lang then Minister of Culture, Maurice Fleuret and Christian Dupavillon, architect-scenographer and member of the Cabinet, imagine together a large popular demonstration which would allow all musicians to play and make themselves known during a festive evening.

This is how the whole thing is born first music festival as we know it today, the June 21, 1982. It is then a free Festival, open to all music “without hierarchy of genres and practices” and to all French people, which is born.

A party prepared in the urgency and the precipitation of which one did not know at the time what would be enthusiasm. Obviously, the result exceeded all expectations and thousands of initiatives were born on this occasion. From the kiosks to the gardens, passing through the streets and the stations, the music settles everywhere and for the time of a magical evening, we live in an incredible atmosphere. From professionals to amateurs and music of any genre, from jazz to rock to traditional music, everyone is there.

It is a real popular success which will begin to be exported thereafter in 1985 to the occasion of theEuropean Year of Music which is now developing within the framework of a charter, “The European Music Festival”, signed in Budapest in 1997, and open to all new partners wishing to join. The principles of this charter now apply to all countries, including outside Europe, wishing to join the Fête de la Musique.

10 years later, the Fete de la Musique was raging in 85 countries and 5 continents, in 2011 there were 110 and in 2017 there were 120. It has since become a real international celebration.

A great success that continues every 21st of June from now on !

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Music Festival, its origin and history

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