La Fête De La Musique
There’s just one day of the year in France when anyone can make music anywhere, on any street corner, without a permit. It coincides with the summer solstice, and it’s called La Fête de la Musique, the celebration of music. And sometimes it happens that you practice all year for the event, get a great gig on a stage near the water, start playing, break a string, and have to change it in the dark by the light of a key ring flashlight. And still you’re happy, because you’re making music and the audience is loving it. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Because of course the first thing you do is show up with several carloads of gear.
And then, even though you’re not getting any younger, you have to crawl around under the stage on a truly hot day, hiding cables where dancers won’t trip over them and generally plugging things in.
There’s a lot of setup needed for a roving band, made just a little more complicated when it’s a band where not everybody speaks the same language. Lights have to be placed,
microphones have to be checked,
you have to be sure that the drums aren’t going to drown everybody out,
and, most important of all, you have to make sure that everyone’s having fun.
And then, if you’re in the band Art Bracamme, night begins to fall and you’re in the spotlight at last.
Some of your audience is aboard boats,
and some of your fans have to get out of their strollers in order to dance to the music.
I’m not saying that Art Bracamme stopped traffic, but they did attract the attention of stuck motorists,
and dancers of all ages. They provided a platform and backup for
a young musician’s first-ever public performance
and were so good that fireworks were set off in their honor. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but you know what I mean.
And you know what? They do it for free, for the love of making music, for the pleasure of watching people dance, clap, and even sing along, for the glory of finding themselves well after midnight rewinding all of those cables, restuffing all the gear into cars, and maybe popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne. But honest, it’s not about the Champagne.