World Music Day

People playing music in the street

World Music Day, on 21 June, is a global celebration of music. Read about how this special day started and how it's celebrated worldwide.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

You may already know 21 June as the date of the summer solstice (or the winter solstice if you're in the southern hemisphere), but did you know that World Music Day also takes place annually on this day? 

What is World Music Day?

This special day for music originated in France and was first celebrated in Paris in 1982. Since then, its popularity has spread all over the globe, and now World Music Day is celebrated on the same day in more than 1,000 cities in 120 countries, including India, Italy, Australia, Peru, Canada, the UK and Japan. This festival has different names in different countries, for example 'La Fête de la Musique' in France, 'Make Music Day' in the UK, 'Festa della Musica' in Italy or 'Swieto Muzyki' in Poland.

How did World Music Day start?

Back in 1982, a survey in France showed that five million people (approximately 9 per cent of the population at the time) played a musical instrument. The Minister for Art and Culture, Jack Lang, and Maurice Fleuret, a composer, decided to find a way to get as many people as possible playing music for everyone to hear. They launched 'La Fête de la Musique'. There is a play on words in the name: La Fête de la Musique means 'Music festival' and 'Faites de la musique' (pronounced in the same way) means 'Make music!'

What happens on World Music Day?

On this day, people listen to and play music in their local area. You can listen to music in the street, outside bars and cafés, in parks and other public spaces. You don't have to pay for these concerts – the musicians play for free. World Music Day encourages all amateur and professional musicians, young and old, to perform and it aims to make all genres of music available to the public.

What sort of music can you hear on World Music Day?

As all music genres are encouraged on World Music Day, you could listen to a jazz band, a rock group, an orchestra, a choir, a samba band, a reggae sound system or a techno DJ … whoever happens to be playing in your local area. It's a great way to discover types of music that you didn't know – for free!

What about online events for World Music Day?

If there are no World Music Day events where you live or if you are unable to attend face-to-face, there are lots of online events which take place on this special day. Live-streamed events such as the day-long Make Music Global Livestream make it possible to discover and enjoy live music from all over the world. Happy World Music Day!

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