fête de la musique

One of my favorite things about France is the fun collection of holidays & traditions–from taking a fish on someone’s back for April Fool’s Day (le poisson d’avril) to celebrating beaujolais nouveau wine. 

P6210033I first learned about fête de la musique, started on June 21, 1982, when I studied in France for the first time. We–myself, my friends & the foreign language students that filled our apartment building–loaded up our picnic baskets, then loaded ourselves onto a bus. We spent the day in Lyon, roaming the streets & bouncing from concert to concert. We climbed stone steps to the top of a large hill & listened to music as the sun set over the river. We drank cheap wine from a box like it was fruit punch.

feteIn 2011, Joe & I celebrated with friends from all over the world–my dear French friend Diane’s boyfriend had a show in the park; our British friend & Hoosier friend pictured above stayed out with us, dancing through the streets until early morning.

The whole town was out, with family-friendly music through the square until sunset & then dance parties springing up across town. Friends, no memories hold on as tightly as the chilly nights with shoes pinging on cobblestones, cheap beer sold from coolers & frantic searches for late-night food. They form an unimaginable type of friendship. I miss you, wherever you may be–South Korea, England, France, Belgium. I’m so proud of all of you.

The music truly is everywhere, and the concert is nowhere & everywhere at the same time.*  World Music Day began as a way to bring the French out into the streets & sharing their own musical talent. While some pubs & clubs charge admission, the true spirit of the day is free music, music by & for everyone, inescapable music. It’s intoxicating, and it’s contagious.

World Music Day has–as the name suggests–spread across the world, bringing global communities together for the unbelievable joy of dancing in the street. While it may not be in your neighborhood yet, I wanted to use today to spread some of the joy of fête de la musique–with a song that has completely defined the summer for my sister & me. Take 2.5 minutes, kick of your shoes & dance without reservation.


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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