Founded in France in 1982 as a way for people to celebrate their love of music, the Fête de la Musique has since grown to become one of the biggest music events in the world. Held on the Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice (that’s June 21 to you and me), the Fête now takes place in more than 340 cities in 110 countries across the globe. And since 1998 this list has included Dubai.
There are an estimated 10,000 French expats living in this city, but Alliance Française (the event organiser) is keen to make it an international affair. Alliance’s Dubai director, Dominique Chevallier-Wixler, explains that the cultural diversity of the UAE offers a wide mix of both musicians and people, which fits neatly into the ideology behind Fête de la Musique. From the start, she says the event has strived ‘to give an equal place to amateur musicians, to rock, jazz, singing and traditional music, alongside so-called “serious” music’.
Amateurs and professionals alike will take to the stage at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah on June 21 and the Fête is entirely free, with everyone also playing for free. The line-up is impressive, spanning opera, rock and dance music through to classical, jazz and Indian fusion. You’ll have to turn up on the day to see the final line-up.
And the surprise act? ‘We’d rather keep it a surprise,’ says Dominique. She seems confident that this Fête de la Musique will be Dubai’s best yet. So are we. Let the show begin. Or should that be ‘en avant la musique’?
Fête de la Musique is at Souk Madinat Jumeirah on June 21, free.