French House music in Paris and flash mobs in Berlin: June 21 is Fete de la Musique. The night of free and spontaneous concerts is a tradition that was created in France in 1982.
Clubs, bars, parks, gardens, even child day care centers and small neighborhood grocery stores — there's barely a place in Berlin, which has hosted the festival for more than 20 years, where a Fete de la Musique concert isn't imaginable.
The same is true for the French capital where the music festival that has spread all over the world was originally launched.
One of the highlights in Paris this year is scheduled to take place at the presidential palace's inner courtyard, the famous Cour d'honneur, where heads of state have often gathered. More than 1,500 concertgoers and DJs including Kavinsky and former Daft Punk manager Busy P. will turn the courtyard into a dance floor, for free.
The DJ line-up is a tribute to what is known as the French touch or French House, a strong sound known the world over that uses special effects and filters, propagated by Air, David Guetta and Laurent Garnier in the 1990s.
"Today the president is making amends for the many years we fought for the full recognition of electronic music from France," said Jack Lang. The former French minister of culture initiated the Fete de la Musique in 1982, calling on every musician in Paris to go out on the streets and play for a half hour on June 21.
A new festival was born , and it quickly took root in other countries, too. Berlin held its first Fete de la Musique in 1995.
Apart from star DJs, visitors to Paris can expect to hear and see jazz, hip hop, soul, funk, reggae and classical music by lesser known musicians and bands at venues throughout the capital, from bars and idyllic streets and parks to Paris landmarks like the Louvre and the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Celebrate cultural diversity
In Germany, Berlin and about 50 other cities join in the Fete de la Musique celebrations. On 100 stages, the German capital will be celebrating "the cultural diversity of Berlin and Europe," said the city's culture senator Klaus Lederer.
On June 21 at 7 p.m., people are invited to join in a flash mob, not just in the German capital but Europe-wide, to sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," John Lennon's "Imagine"and "Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis" in a sign of solidarity, no matter where they happen to be at the time.
Choirs and trombone ensembles will gather on the steps of Berlin's Altes Museum and in front of the cathedral at the appointed time. Cities in Italy, Greece, France and Slovenia are also participating in the mass sing-along.