Dancing in the streets at annual music festival

22nd June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 22, 2006 (AFP) - France's overnight music festival, the 'Fête de la Musique', wound up early Thursday with rock, jazz and electro lovers, as well as police, going home largely happy.

PARIS, June 22, 2006 (AFP) - France's overnight music festival, the 'Fête de la Musique', wound up early Thursday with rock, jazz and electro lovers, as well as police, going home largely happy.

The 25th annual festival, which started in Paris in 1982 but has spread into a global music happening, brought a dizzying array of professional and amateur musicians, some 800,000 in all, to every nook, cranny, bar and street corner from the capital Paris to the Mediterranean port of Marseille.

This year's 'Fête de la Musique' had a strong jazz flavour in tribute to the devastated city of New Orleans — with Charlie Miller, a trumpet player from the Big Easy, among the jazzmen gracing the stage in Paris, where rain was the only dampener on the night's entertainment.

Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, at an official opening ceremony, said he hoped the event would send a message of solidarity to the thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina last year.

Classical players were also to the fore, with an open-air performance by the World Philharmonic Orchestra — gathering musicians from 80 countries — a major highlight of the evening.

World music was given pride of place, with the Cape Verdian folk singer Cesaria Evora among those on the set at the main Paris stage on the Place de la Bastille.

Artists from across the French-speaking world — from Senegal's Orchestra Baobab to the Malian Afro-pop singer Salif Keita and the Cameroonian saxophone player Manu Dibango — headed other line-ups across the capital.

Another highlight, just outside Paris, was a televised pop concert which drew 65,000 spectators — plus tens of thousands of others who couldn't get in — to La Defense, a high-rise commerce and business area west of the capital.

There was some trouble here, with police arresting 20 youths who hurled projectiles at them.

Fifteen people were hospitalised "as a precaution" a local prefecture official said. "There were no serious problems".

Among the artists taking part in the La Defense music extravaganza were Tina Arena, Corneille and Patrick Bruel.

Paris kicked off the first festivities late Tuesday, with a classical organ recital at Saint Eustache church, while early risers in southwestern Toulouse were regaled by a chamber music concert at daybreak on Wednesday.

Festivities also got under way early Wednesday in Marseille, with an aboriginal percussion show followed by a rap and rock concert.

What started in 1982 as a modest experiment in which the then Socialist culture minister Jack Lang invited Parisians into the streets to play music on the Summer Solstice has mushroomed into a global event.

The 'Fête de la Musique' has since spread to 250 cities in 120 countries on every continent — from Nigeria to Chile — often spurred on by French cultural centres and artists.

In London, holding its second edition, thousands turned out in the South Kensington area — home to a big French community — for gigs held at venues ranging from the French Institute to the Natural History Museum.

More than 60 free concerts were also planned in the Spanish city of Barcelona, which was holding the event for the 11th year running.

The latest cities to sign up to the festivities include Sydney, Buenos Aires, Damascus and Sarajevo — one of half a dozen Bosnian towns taking part this year in the music free-for-all.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article