National music day
Daily Life

French national music day : La fête de la musique

Have you ever heard of “La fête de la musique“, “the French national music day“, also called “World Music day” in English? This national French event is very important in France and no one would miss that! Let me tell you everything about it!

What is the National Music Day ?

La fête de la musique takes place once a year on the very first day of the summer, June 21st all over France. This day is dedicated to music, all kind of music. Bands, singers, instruments players, marching bands, djs play their music in the street, in bars or in restaurants. Besides, whether you are a superstar or a nobody (in music I mean), whether you are a musician or actually even if you are not, you can just go ahead and play right in front of your house or wherever you want to. People wander down the streets to listen to music and dance where they enjoy music the most. They are like marching dancers/listeners/music addicts, going where music is taking them.

Those street-concerts literally happen all over France : in big cities, small towns, countryside, fields, beaches, mountains and it is free ! Yes, FREE ! We can say that this celebration is like a free nationwide festival! In most places, la fête de la musique starts late afternoon (around 5pm) and goes on until the middle of the night. That night, you can’t call the cops to complain about the noise as this open party is absolutely legal.

This event is family-friendly, and many children are happy to party with adults! It can also be the right time for teenagers to go out with their friends for the first time. As I said, everybody will find a music they enjoy, or maybe discover a kind of music he/she didn’t thought he/she would like!


Why has this celebration been created ?

In 1976, Joel Cohen, who was an American singer and who was working for the French radio France Musique at that time, decided to organize concerts on June 21st in Paris and in Toulouse. This yearly local event became a national event on June 21st, 1982, when the French cultural minister Jack Lang took the decision to spread this festival all over the country.

What a better date than June 21st to party outside as it is the longest day and the shortest night of the year?! Partying with your neighbors, people you don’t know, teenagers and old people are unique moments. Everybody gathers with one common goal : enjoying the music and dancing! Promoting musical culture by celebrating together really is the essence of la fête de la musique!

Read also the list of the most popular French radio stations

How is it organized?

Cities and towns organize free concerts outside with professionnal musicians while non-professionnal musicians can just set up where they feel like without disturbing the closest musician and start playing. Usually, downtowns are closed to be car-free that evening. Thanks to this restriction, people can have fun and stroll among the musicians. Moreover, restaurants and bars are also allowed to stay open later than usual.

As a matter of fact, the national music day has become a great success… Such a great success that it is now celebrated in more than 120 countries all over the world! Do you celebrate it in your country? If you don’t, go to the closest Alliance Française and go party there. They will for sure throw a party or organize an event for this occasion.

Music makes everybody happy, people forget about their daily routine and just enjoy the vibe. The atmosphere honestly is one-of-a-kind and it is one of my favorite day of the year! I really advise anybody who can be in France on June 21st to go down the streets and dance! You won’t be disappointed 🙂

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