Not only does June 21 mark the first day of Summer, it is also World Music Day or Fête de la Musique throughout more than 100 countries all over the world.
The origins of this very musical, unofficial holiday date back to 1982. Fête de la Musique originated in France as a celebratory day of music, offering free performances in public spaces with voluntary participation by musicians of all skill levels covering a multitude of musical genres.
And though June 21 is traditionally the day on which Fête de la Musique is held, the Cities of Moncton and Dieppe have decided to push the celebrations back to Saturday, June 23 this year to help maximize attendance and visibility of the event. A host of activities are planned for Saturday including outdoor concerts, family events as well as a parade down Main Street Moncton.
Fête de la musique 2012 is being produced with the assistance of Alliance française de Moncton, Music NB, the Centre d’accueil et d’accompagnement francophone des immigrants du sud-est du N.-B.
(CAFI), the Fédération des jeunesfrancophones du N.-B., the French Consulate in the Atlantic provinces, the City of Moncton, Downtown Moncton Centre-ville Inc., and the Dieppe Arts and Culture Centre.
This year’s lineup of the Metro Moncton edition of Fête de la Musique includes Fredericton rock band She Roars, the Sistema Youth Orchestra, Acadian musician Mario Lebreton, Moncton folk-pop songwriter Phil Flowers, and more.
In a recent chat with the Times & Transcript,Music New Brunswick’s executive director Jean Surette says the decision to push the celebrations of Fête de la Musique back to Saturday was a no-brainer of sorts given the fact that so many more family events.
‘This event has always tried to reach as many people as possible and there has always been an effort to program content for the community at large,’ Surette says.
‘Included in the programming has been a special focus on familyoriented activities in the afternoon and so when we stepped back to consider that June 21 was falling on a Thursday, it made sense to shift things to Saturday to help make it much easier for families to attend.’ Traditionally, the response to Fête de la Musique has been lukewarm at best. Surette admits that the profile of such a celebratory day of music should in fact be much higher than it already is.
‘With social media and the Web, people are more aware than ever of some of the talent that is emerging from the area,’ he says. ‘The artists that have been getting mainstream or even national attention have been great ambassadors for our region. I’m hoping that this type of event will help to persuade people who are interested in going out to see a show to take a chance and discover artists that may be under the radar.’ If there is one thing that many herald Metro Moncton for during recent like the East Coast Music Awards, it’s the proximity of all the venues in the downtown core. Surette hopes that having the various venues, including non-traditional music venues, in such close range will help attract and encourage people to check out the entertainment being offered.
‘The venues are public places that people know and are comfortable with. The origin of the event in France was centred on that exact premise: Having free concerts and music playing in public places. Municipal buildings and public spaces have long been used to all kinds of gatherings and musical performances are no exception. We wanted for all the activities to be close to one another so that everything is in close proximity.’ Fredericton group She Roars are no strangers to the City of Moncton. She Roars member Kyle Clark hopes that Fête de la Musique will indeed help to expose them to audiences that might not already be familiar with the group.
‘Events like this are great because you can meet so many new bands and people,’ Clark says.’There is already interest around it so there’s an energy there that creates a really fun atmosphere. I think it’s going to be an exciting show for us and hopefully for those who watch us.’
Article published in June 21, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript