“We are here to have fun, to listen to sounds, to simply have fun”: towns and villages of France vibrated Tuesday evening to the rhythms of rap, samba, rock techno, for the 40th edition of a Fête de la music that wants to be free from Covid-19.
At the Elysée, where the Senegalese Youssou N’dour notably performed before the Ukrainian DJ Xenia, the Head of State Emmanuel Macron hailed the “tremendous success” of the Music Festival.
“It encourages a lot of modesty because there are few things in political life, basically, which still remain 40 years later and which are popular practices,” he said.
Between friends, family, couple or alone: the Parisians stormed, from 8:00 p.m. and until late at night, the streets of the capital, which looked like a dancefloor.
Bathed in sunshine at the start of the evening, the quays of the Seine are transformed into a real open-air discotheque at night. Hundreds of Parisians rushed there, attracted by the many DJs present on the spot, noted AFP journalists.
Same tone in the Marais district, where smoke cannons and lasers were out, in an atmosphere of popular fervor. Further on, several hundred people were gathered on the forecourt of the Arab World Institute where Algerian artists were to perform.
“We rented a spot near the canal, we are there to have fun in fact, to listen to sounds, to simply have fun”, told AFP Martin, 24, who came to perform with his group “Nitraks” at the Canal Saint-Martin.
– “Breath of fresh air” –
“It’s our first music festival in Paris; we come from Rennes and it feels good. If we go back two years when we were confined to our homes, it has nothing to do with it. It’s a real a breath of fresh air! We are really free,” Flavie, who came with her friend Cécile, told AFP.
Under a stormy heat, in the hyper-center of Lyon, the public is also at the rendezvous: “I came because I live right next door, I came to enjoy this summer atmosphere”, says Marco Queiros, 22-year-old student.
In Nantes, several dozen people gathered at the end of the day to pay tribute to Steve Maïa Caniço, who died in 2019 during a controversial police operation during the Fête de la Musique.
Relatives of the young man, whose body had been found in the Loire, threw roses along the river and installed signs marked “neither forgiveness nor forgetting”.
In the Breton capital, the festivities began in the rain. On Place Saint Germain in Rennes, two bars have decided for the first time to unite to offer a single electro scene with the air of a guinguette.
Garbage bags have been installed on the speakers to protect them from the rain “and for the public … well it’s Brittany so we hope people have planned k-ways!”, jokes Juan Miles, his name of artist.
“The music festival here is jubilant, it’s a bit electrifying. This year, it’s weekdays so it might not last very long,” the 28-year-old DJ told AFP. .
But further south, in Gironde and Charente, the authorities had to ban outdoor festivities after 10 p.m. due to bad weather.
– “Reunion” –
Rap, samba, pop, rock… Everywhere in France, musical genres rub shoulders.
“It’s the alliance of individual creativity and collective fervor (…) But for me, tonight is also a celebration of solidarity with Ukraine. I really wanted us to invite Ukrainian artists to the Ministry of Culture,” Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak said.
“Of course, there have been two years of isolation, separation, curfew, confinement, slow recovery of the link to culture and to the artists whose reunion we also celebrate.
Launched in 1982 by Jack Lang, the music festival has become an institution in France. “The first year, in 1982, it was not a great success, but people played the game and from 1983 it was really on”, recalled to AFP Mr. Lang, today in the head of the Arab World Institute (IMA) in Paris.