To the screeching sound of Sri Lankan music, a Scottish assassin’s wife murdered a fat lady in a fur coat over a broken bottle of perfume. Then, a young man went into a bar, picked a fight with a bully and, against the odds, kicked the bully’s butt. And this was just the start of my first experience of the Fete de La Musique
The Fete de la Musique is an originally Parisian festival that has now spread all over the world. It happens every Midsummer’s Night and involves music being played, both organised and impromptu, everywhere on the streets of Paris all night long. This year Midsummer’s Night landed on Tuesday, the same night as my writing group. The usual reading of participant’s work (i.e. assassins and fights in bars) was supported by a soundtrack put on by the Sri Lankan residents of that neighbourhood of Paris.
Around 9.30, the group stopped the writing-related chat and wandered down the Canal St Martin, to Republique, then down blvd Beaumarchais and into the Marais. We heard DJs playing everything from disco to techno, we saw men playing cardboard boxes and plastic containers, and listened to old guys playing rock and roll. Some were outside cafes, some just at the side of the road. All were loud and all had crowds spilling into the streets, enjoying the show.
One point in the evening resembled the start of a joke – an American, a Welshman, a Brazilian and a Bulgarian all entered a bar… some writing group members and I after hydration in plastic cups to take on our further wanderings. In the Bar we saw the Bastille, 3 blocks away, live on MTV. We took the plastic cups in search of the music.
Under the covered arches around the Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris, we stopped for a while to watch a Madness-esque band sing songs in front of about 60 pogo-ing fans. The ages ranged from 7 to 75 with everyone loving it. Deeper into the Marais, we passed more DJs, we sang to Lady Gaga and Brittany Spears and we passed a trombone, trumpet and tuba group bringing the house down.
My night ended around 1.30am, but the music went on all night. What a great way to celebrate the longest day of the year!