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Fête de la Musique

Classic Rock performed at one of the main squares

Classic Rock performed at one of the main squares

First an apology for my absence but I am now in my new apartment and still no Internet connection.  It is a bit frustrating as I have plenty to tell.  Hopefully next week will be a different story.

Monday was a blast! Yes, I finally experienced my first Fête de la Musique! Here is another true gem of French influence world-wide.  Back in 1982 France started this world music day on the first day of summer (June 21st).  A simple celebration of music and the longest day here in the northern hemisphere.  The rules of the party are simple – make music.  Artists of all kinds are encouraged to literally take to the streets and perform.  To be officially sanctioned by the Ministry of Culture, the artist must perform for free and that the concert be free entry.  The

One Man Show in a van

One Man Show in a van

success of this initiative has been enormous.  Not only has the idea spread all through France where every city and village has something going on, this fête has spread throughout Europe and the world.  You truly can find about every type of music being performed somewhere but usually the more timid genres (classical & choirs) are earlier in the day while bolder genres (rock groups, dj’s, etc.) dominate the night.  I was impressed by the feeling of the evening.  I walked around most of the Old City (Vielle Ville) of Nice where most of the concerts were held.  People were out in droves all over the city.

Excellent band singing classic American songs; she clearly wasn't French cause was too good

Excellent band singing classic American songs; her accent gave away American roots

Everyone was just in a good mood and enjoying the sights.  The restaurants were jammed pack along with the open bars.  Clearly this event has become a point of commerce for the stores and the eateries in France.   As you can tell from the pictures on this posting, there really was a bit of everything.  It was almost too much because I couldn’t stay at one concert for too long in order to take in everything.  There were the original artists, like the man in the van and the break dancers, as well as your more classic artists who sung well known songs in both French and English.  I have to say it sucked royally that this year the 21st fell on a Monday.  I would have loved to stay out longer but I had to make my way back home to attempt a good night’s rest on my air mattress.

Brilliant break dancers that integrated a cute skit into the performance

Brilliant break dancers that integrated a cute skit into the performance

Of course the day after, everyone at work compared stories.  You had to have gone somewhere for the evening.  If you didn’t you were left out of the morning coffee break on the terrace. 😉 Of course the main topic was how bad the performers were . . . you have to give the French singers for trying.  A lot of the performances were amateurs (which is the point) but also they may not speak English well and as we all know the States dominate the entertainment industry.  So they attempt to sing in a language they can’t speak.  Then there is the fact they are totally off-key.  Another dominate topic was the change of the fête over the years.

This DJ knew how to spin; one of my favorites of the evening

This DJ knew how to spin; one of my favorites of the evening

Now there are a lot more DJ’s on scene then authentic concerts of live performers.  I do see their point but I would also defend the fact that a good DJ has a talent and not everyone can bring together various songs into one continuous beat.  Yet I know not everyone is a electronica fan like me and thinks it all sounds the same.  Nonetheless, everyone who was out had a good time and probably the only complaint you could find is that the weather was a bit cool.   You needed a light jacket.

Concerts on the lawn at Amadeus

Concerts on the lawn at Amadeus

Even Amadeus brought the fête to its employees.  In support of any employee that was a musician, they actually put a stage outside by the cafeteria and allowed employees to perform.  There was so many entries that they had to extend the event to be over the lunch hours of both Monday and Tuesday.  The picture shown here is the Amadeus choir performing.  These performances at Amadeus were bittersweet though.  Don’t forget we recently had a strike about the disparities of pay outs from recently going public.  So there was a little rumbling that upper management is trying to avoid the issue by the huge promotion of the Fête de la Musique on campus and showing the World Cup in the auditorium.

Those in the know can appreciate this one; yes they did perform the YMCA

Those in the know can appreciate this one; yes they did perform the YMCA

My final thought would be to take consideration of this date if you ever wanted to visit France.  June is a great time in the Côte d’Azur.  The weather is great before getting too hot.  The tourists are just starting to arrive.  Plus you have the Fête de la Musique to witness.

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