Mini concerts in bars and no curfew: France’s 2021 Fête de la Musique

France's annual Fête de la Musique takes place on Monday but given the health situation in the country - albeit an improving one, this year's festival will once again be slightly different. Here is what you need to know.

Mini concerts in bars and no curfew: France's 2021 Fête de la Musique
An artist performing at last year's 'Fete de la musique', which took place amid Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Abdulmonam Eassa | AFP

Health rules for France’s annual Fête de la Musique have been eased, with small indoor concerts permitted in bars and restaurants, the Culture Minister has said.

Roselyne Bachelot announced the changes to Monday’s national celebration of music, hours after Prime Minister Jean Castex had revealed that France’s nightly 11pm curfew ends 10 days earlier than expected.

ALSO READ: Face masks to cafés: What Covid-19 rules are still in place in France?

Last month, Bachelot confirmed the event would go ahead under strict conditions. But she was able to announce a relaxation of the rules following Castex’s announcement.

So what has changed?

No curfew

As the curfew is no more, Bachelot confirmed that events will be allowed to continue past 11pm.

‘Mini concerts’

Perhaps the biggest announcement she made during her interview on France Info came when she said that “mini concerts in bars and restaurants” would be permitted.

Previously, only seated outdoor concerts were permitted.

Those venues that do host musical events will still have to respect health rules, including the 50 percent indoor limit, with no more than six to a table. Wearing a mask remains compulsory.

Outdoor concerts

As was already the case, seated outdoor concerts are permitted – as they were previously – with venues permitted to operate at up to 65 percent capacity to an overall limit of 5,000 people. A Covid health pass (pass sanitaire) is required for everyone attending an event of more than 1,000 people.

In line with Castex’s earlier press conference, face masks will have to be worn in crowded venues.

ALSO READ: Where do you still need to wear a face mask in France?

No busking

This hasn’t changed, either, despite the easing of health rules. The Prime Minister had earlier warned that “gatherings on the public highway” were still – as a rule – prohibited. Furthermore, the Service Public website confirmed that ‘amateur concerts’ are still prohibited, as were groups of more than 10 people on public roads or public spaces.

Elysée party

A concert will  be held at the Élysée Palace with “electro music, DJs” and notably Jean-Michel Jarre and Cerrone.


The Paris police chief on Monday announced that 2,300 officers will be mobilised in the city to ensure that the rules – particularly those on wearing masks in crowded spaces – are respected.

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‘Serious malfunctions’ at French research unit headed by Didier Raoult

A criminal investigation is set to begin into the Marseille research unit headed by controversial scientist Didier Raoult, after a report found "serious malfunctions".

'Serious malfunctions' at French research unit headed by Didier Raoult

The findings of the joint investigation into the IHU at Marseille by the Inspection générale des affaires sociales (IGAS) and the  l’Inspection générale de l’éducation, du sport et de la recherche (IGESR) prompted Health Minister François Braun and Research Minister Sylvie Retailleau to refer the unit to the city’s public prosecutor, urging it to investigate “serious malfunctions” at the institution.

Raoult was head of the unit from its foundation in 2011 until his retirement this summer.

The controversial microbiologist gained significant worldwide attention during the Covid-19 pandemic for his vociferous promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, despite a lack of evidence on its effectiveness.

READ ALSO Five minutes to understand: Whatever happened to French professor Didier Raoult?

He was succeeded as director by Pierre-Edouard Fournier.

The ministers said that a number of issues highlighted in the latest report are “likely to constitute offences or serious breaches of health or research regulations”.

Fournier, and the institute’s seven founding members – including the University of Aix-Marseille, Assistance Publique-Hospitals de Marseille, the Research Institute for Development or the army health service – will now be summoned by their supervisory bodies to “implement a proactive action plan as soon as possible” which “will condition the continuation of the activity of the IHU-MI and its funding by the State”, according to the joint communiqué of the ministers.

The IHU was already under judicial investigation for “forgery in writing”, “use of forgery in writing”, and “interventional research involving a human person not justified by his usual care without obtaining the opinion of the committee for the protection of persons and the authorisation of the Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé (ANSM),” the Marseille prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

In an earlier report, the ANSM had noted “serious breaches of the regulations for research involving humans”, during some clinical trials.

READ ALSO Maverick French Covid doctor reprimanded over ‘breaches’ in clinical trials

François Crémieux, the director of Marseille public hospitals, told local newspaper La Provence on Tuesday that the establishment “shares the observation of managerial excesses of certain hospital-university managers occupying key functions within the infectious diseases division”.

“The legitimacy of the IHU has been affected. It has lost its scientific credibility. It must now be regained. 800 highly skilled professionals work there every day,” he added.

Raoult bit back at the report in a tweet, saying: “I regret that the IGAS/IGAENR mission does not take into account the detailed legal and scientific response that I have provided”.

Separately, Raoult will be in court on Friday as his defamation case against Karine Lacombe, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sorbonne University Faculty of Medicine, comes before judges.