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Lesson Transcript

Music Day
In French, it’s called Fête de la Musique.
Do you celebrate Music Day in your country? If so, you might know that it’s a French invention! On June 21, French people celebrate Music Day. They go to free concerts, or concerts, or play instruments in the street just as they like. In this lesson, we’re going to learn how French people celebrate Music Day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Which musical instrument is most played by French people?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Music Day was created in 1982 by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs or Ministère de la Culture. The idea originally came from the American musician Joel Cohen, who was working for a French radio station at the time. He wanted bands to play on the evening of June 21, the first day of summer. This idea was finally adopted by Maurice Fleuret and implemented in France by Jack Lang, the Minister of Cultural Affairs. The idea was to make music accessible to everyone. That’s why anyone can listen to a concert for free or play music on June 21.
The slogan of this holiday is “Faites de la musique, fête de la musique.” which means “Make music, celebrate music.” It’s a play on words because the word fêter, meaning “to celebrate,” sounds the same as the verb faire, meaning “to make,” in the third person plural imperative. Many musicians live by this slogan, and every June 21 there are about 18,000 concerts in which about 5 million amateur musicians and singers participate, and the performances bring together nearly 10 million spectators. Although it’s a relatively new holiday, it’s reported that 97% of French people know about Music Day!
Usually, bars and restaurants are supposed to close at around half-past midnight. But on the night of Music Day, they have special permission to stay open much later into the night so they can welcome the public. Furthermore, the date of the twenty-first most often corresponds to the summer solstice. This is the longest day of the year. Night falls very late, letting French people take full advantage of the concerts being held.
Music Day was first exported in 1985 for the European Year of Music, or in French, Année Européenne de la Musique. In less than fifteen years, it has been adopted by more than one hundred countries on five continents.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Do you know which musical instrument is played most by French people?
In France, the most-played musical instrument is the guitar, or guitare in French, closely followed by the piano, or piano.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What’s the biggest music festival in your country? Have you ever participated?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!