Back in 1982 France’s then Director of Music and Dance, Maurice Fleuret, started La Fête de la Musique in Paris after a study found five million French people – including one child in two – played a musical instrument. Fleuret wanted to get them all playing together out in the open. As Jack Lane and Maurice Fleuret said 31 years ago, “the music everywhere and the concert nowhere”.
So, on June 21 every year, the day of summer solstice, the longest day of the year, musicians from all over the world perform free concerts at venues across town as part of Paris’ Fête de la Musique. Impromptu gigs break out in the streets and sound systems blast out music from every second window. The French capital fills with the sounds of everything from blue notes to Brahms to bossa nova and Paris’ Fête de la Musique rolls on well into the night.
In our normally sedate neighborhood in the 16th arrondissement the band pictured above was blasting out rock and roll including Jim Morrison, Santana, the Beatles, Joe Dassin, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and some French songs that rocked but we didn’t know. People were dancing, kids were going crazy and the neighbors were hanging out their windows to look and listen.
It was a warm night, an appreciative crowd and really good music, reminded me of the free outdoor concerts in Golden Gate Park back in my younger days. Lots of fun was had by all.