1995. Green Day and The Offspring have just brought punk kicking and screaming into the mainstream. In England, Oasis are going through the roof with ‘Morning Glory’ and Britpop is born. Hip hop is in its ‘golden era’ in the USA and hits Germany properly for the first time with the breakout success of German-language hip hop group Fantastischen Vier. The German single charts are overrun with bands like Take That, Rednex, Michael Jackson, Scatman John and DJ Bobo. This is the backdrop in the year that the Fête de la Musique finds its way to Berlin. Since those heady days the Fête Berlin has developed into an impossible-to-ignore city-wide summer event that pulls in more visitors and participants every year.
Fête de la Musique Berlin: get out on the streets and show what you can do!
The Fête de la Musique has its origins in France, where it first took place in Paris in 1982
In just under forty years it has made a triumphal procession around the globe and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries. Fun fact: the first German Fête took place in Munich in 1985.
At the Fete de la Musique every man, woman and child is invited to take to the streets and play music. Beginners are allowed to show their skills just the same as the professionals. On squares and in parks, in clubs, bars and concert halls there will be numerous indoor and outdoor stages, and anyone interested in performing on one can apply to the stage’s organizers. But music may and should also be played spontaneously – on every corner, whether alone, as a band or as a choir!
The multitude of street musicians in the capital city show us that spontaneous music-making can give unexpected pleasure while taking us away from everyday life for a while. And many of those who play in stadiums today have started on the streets. For example the Berlin group Seeed, who before their breakthrough played at the Fête as an unknown newcomer. Today, they would probably cause traffic jams all the way to the surrounding area if they played a free open-air gig.
This year’s focus district is Berlin Mitte
Where the subculture usually gathers to demonstrate, on June 21 every street corner will instead become a stage. The pedestrian zone of Friedrichstraße will provide space for street musicians. There will be stages in front of the Russisches Haus and the Galéries Lafayette, among others. And the Nikolai Quarter, Humboldt University, Brandenburg Gate, the main train station and many theatres and museums will also be the scene of music and choral singing.
The kickoff party for the Fête will take place on 20th June at the Centre Français
From 4pm til midnight there will be a colourful musical programme in all rooms and on two open air stages. Among others, the artist Jocelyn B. Smith will present her project “Songs of Substance”. More information about the program will follow. But you can still enter the date in your diary and take part in our Facebook Kickoff Event and stay informed.
21st June at 5pm European Singalong at the Gendarmenmarkt
After more than 3,500 singers participated in the European Singalong on the Gendarmenmarkt in 2019, this year’s event will be sung together with tens of thousands of other participants in many other European cities. By popular demand, the repertoire will this time extend beyond three songs.
Singalong at the Gendarmenmarkt FETEBerlin
To sum up: for the 25th Berlin Fête de la Musique there’s a massive amount in preparation. So start tuning your instruments and warming up your vocal chords. The beginning of summer will be musical!
Photos: (c) Jim Kroft.