21 June 2010

It's the Solstice...Let's Rock!

Every year on the 21st of June, France erupts into musical madness with la fête de la musique (festival of music).

Professionals and amateurs alike take to the streets, café bars and public squares with guitars, cellos, flutes, drums, banjos, trumpets, violins, clarinets, harmonicas, saxophones, electric keyboards and their own voices to share their passion by doing what they love to do...play music.

No matter where you go in Lyon, from the 1st district to the 9th, you can listen to music that will get your feet tapping. You might even get swooshed up in the moment and dance, clap your hands, hoot and holler and cheer.

You can see the official schedule of all events (pdf), published by the ville de Lyon, here.

Lyon will Swing.

Lyon will Rock.

Lyon will Jazz.

Lyon will Tango.

Lyon will Pop.

Lyon will Reggae.

Lyon will Hip Hop.

Lyon will Sing, Salsa and Samba into the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

The atmosphere is always festive. People spill into the streets in good humor, ready to party, dance, drink beer (yes, you can drink alcohol in public here) and have a good 'ol time. It's a wonderful way to kick off the summer season, even if we haven't peeled off our sweaters or polar fleece yet.

Here are a few photos from the early evening of this year's Festival of Music.

 I followed a group of cellists walking to the croix-paquet square to perform a classical piece by Telemann.

Clipping the sheet music to the stands with clothes pins as the wind was blowing unpredictably. One of the risks of playing outdoors.

Playing during the festival of music means 'competing' with other music groups as well as the irritating noise from passing cars, motorcycles and scooters. Here the musicians are having a good laugh because they can't even hear themselves play.

The concentration was intense, even if the 'concert' only lasted 11 minutes.

The students of Top Music school learn from a professional cellist. Here she literally draws a crowd playing a modern piece accompanied by drums and bass. Her cello (left) dates back to the French Revolution.

These four guys were playing pretty loud in front of the Red House Pub. I couldn't listen for more than a minute before my ears began to hurt and had to walk away.

This group, performing just across from the Red House Pub, sounded - and looked - so 60s. I immediately thought back to the Age of Aquarius.

There were some serious samba steps happening too.

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