World Music Day: An Event That Began In France

Each year on June 21, the air in France is filled with music of all types. This is the day when Fête de la Musique is celebrated in many places across the country. Fête de la Musique translates to World Music Day, an event introduced by the Ministry for Culture of France in 1982.

This French event is very popular for several reasons. One, participation in the event is free (that is, musicians perform for free and the public can enjoy attending the event without paying any fee). Two, anybody who's got talent for music (young or old) may join the event. Three, soloists, duets or groups are encouraged to participate. And four, participants can render or perform any kind or type of music. The promotional slogan for the event - "Faites de la musique" (make music) - is apt in this regard.

Another important thing that adds to the popularity of the event is the laxity by which venues are chosen. What this means is that the event may be held almost anywhere - in the streets, inside rooms of public buildings, in parks, at train stations, or even inside historic castles. Of these, the streets of France are the preferred venues of many participants.

The idea behind the launching of Fête de la Musique (and its yearly holding) is to enliven the atmosphere with the liberal expression of all types of music - avant, country, fabulous, hip hop, instrumental, jazz, Latin, pop, techno, and trance. It is an opportunity for people of all ages and from all social backgrounds to communicate through music. Any event of this kind certainly promises a special moment for everyone.

As the event tends to lure wide participation from among the thousands of amateur and professional musicians in France, so too is its aim of attracting a large audience. Both are possible because people are music lovers by nature, and expressing oneself through music is a great way for releasing one's inner burdens. Along this line, it must be mentioned here that some of the day's concerts are held right inside hospitals or prisons to help cheer patients/inmates up even for just a few hours.

Also the event can serve as a conduit for the transfer and exchange of the different styles of music between cities or regions. For this purpose, participation of large music groups (choirs or orchestras) is important and, therefore, encouraged. Likewise, based on past events, young musicians get the chance of meeting noted music talents and learn many things from them.

From France, the World Music Day has spread to cities of other countries. These include Brisbane (Australia), Sulaymaniyah (Iraqi Kurdistan), Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (Israel), Glasgow and Edinburgh (Scotland), London (England), and New York City and Cambridge (United States), among others.

The World Music Day celebrations in many cities outside France were initially organized by the French Embassies in those places. Later, local organizers took over and the event's holding date of June 21 was maintained.

Beyond the usual hours that Fête de la Musique is held, amateur musicians may continue performing in public places. However, French authorities may impose noise restrictions or stop the concerts altogether in areas where the general public may ask that such performances be ended.


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