Terror fears mute French solstice music bash

France's annual summer solstice music extravaganza -- a party it has exported across the globe -- will be slightly muted this year amid terror fears and the Euro 2016 football tournament.

Terror fears mute French solstice music bash
A band plays in a Paris street with Eiffel tower in background in 2015. Photo: Ludovic Marin/ AFP
The Fete de la Musique (Make Music Day) sees citizens throng the streets to enjoy thousands of pop-up concerts — whether a marching band in a garden, a rock group on a corner or a Parisian playing DJ from his apartment window to a crowd below.
This year the theme for the festival's 35th edition on Tuesday is “Music is stronger than …”.
Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay said in a statement that after two terror attacks in Paris killed 147 in 2015, this year's event was about “overcoming our fears, fighting division, because music is stronger than those who want to shut it off.”
Nevertheless the party is likely to be dampened by terror fears as well as the threat of football hooliganism which has dogged the European championships. 
On top of that, French people hoping for a break from the weeks of grey skies and rain in one of the most miserable springs in recent years, are likely to see the music festival hit by downpours.
The various security threats have stretched an already exhausted police force thin.
The Fete de la Musique “comes at a time when police are particularly busy”, said a spokesperson at the culture ministry.
“After discussions with the interior ministry we decided to cancel or postpone certain events to prioritise the security of the public.”
And after violent clashes in the southern city of Marseille before the Russia-England football match last week, the city decided to postpone its music party to Thursday due to a high-risk match between Ukraine and England on Tuesday.
Last year 17,000 concerts were held across France, bringing some 10 million music lovers, amateur and professional musicians out into the streets to enjoy everything from choral music, to rap and world tunes.
The festival was first created by former French culture minister Jack Lang in 1982 and last year was celebrated in 120 countries. 


France’s Fête de la musique ‘will go ahead, with masks and a curfew’

France's famous summer music festival the Fête de la musique will go ahead, but with health restrictions in place, says the culture minister.

France's Fête de la musique 'will go ahead, with masks and a curfew'

Culture minister Roselyn Bachelot, taking part in a Q&A session with readers of French newspaper le Parisien, confirmed that the annual summer festival will go ahead this year on its usual date of June 21st.

The festival date is normally marked with thousands of events across France, from concerts in tiny villages to huge open-air events in big cities and street-corner gigs in local neighbourhoods.

Last year the festival did go ahead, in a scaled-down way, and Bachelot confirmed that the 2021 event will also happen, but with restrictions.

She said: “It will be held on 21st June and will not be subject to the health passport.

“People will be able to dance, but it will be a masked party with an 11pm curfew.”

Under France’s phased reopening plan, larger events will be allowed again from June 9th, but some of them will require a health passport (with either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative test) to enter.

The Fête de la musique, however, is generally focused around lots of smaller neighbourhood concerts.

The curfew is being gradually moved back throughout the summer before – if the health situation permits – being scrapped entirely on June 30th.

Bachelot added: “I appeal to everyone’s responsibility.

“The rate of 50 percent of people vaccinated should have been reached by then, so we will reach an important level of immunity.”

The Fête de la musique is normally France’s biggest street party, with up to 18,000 events taking place across the country on the same day.

It’s hugely popular, despite being (whisper it) the idea of an American – the concept is the brainchild of American Joel Cohen, when he was working as a music producer for French National Radio (France Musique) in the 1970s.

By 1982 the French government put its weight behind the idea and made it an official event and it’s been a fixture in the calendar ever since.