In October 1981, Maurice Fleuret became Director of Music and Dance at minister of cultural Jack Lang’s request, and applied his reflections to the musical practice and its evolution: “the music everywhere and the concert nowhere”. When he discovered, in a 1982 study on the cultural habits of the French, that five million people, one child out of two, played a musical instrument, he began to dream of a way to bring people out on the streets. It first took place in 1982 in Paris as the Fête de la Musique.
Ever since, the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 700 cities in 120 countries, including China, India, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, the United States, and Japan.
Fête de la Musique’s purpose is to promote music in two ways:
- Amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in the streets, under the slogan “Faites de la musique” (“make music”, a homophone of Fête de la Musique).
- Many free concerts are organized, making all genres of music accessible to the public. Two of the caveats to being sanctioned by the official Fête de la Musique organization in Paris are that all concerts must be free to the public, and all performers donate their time for free. This is true of most participating cities, now, as well.
Despite there being a large tolerance about the performance of music by the general public of amateurs in public areas after usual hours, the noise restrictions still apply, and can cause some establishments to be forbidden to open and broadcast music out of their doors without prior authorization. So the prefectures of police in France can still forbid them to install any audio hardware in the street