RKHTY at Make Music Day 2017
Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images
Cities Around The World Mobilize For Make Music Day On June 21
Perhaps GRAMMY winners OK Go, one of last year's Make Music Day artist ambassadors, said it best: "Why do we love Make Music Day? Because for one day of the year music gets to run free in the streets in all of its most insane and mundane permutations."
Launched in 1982 in France, now 800 cities in 120 countries around the world are preparing to participate for the 2018 installment on June 21. The music-making plans include 70 cities in the U.S., spread across 31 states. The NAMM-sponsored celebration's major requirement? That attendance and performances are all free.
The name "Make Music Day" comes from the original French phrase "Fête de la Musique," which sounds the same as the command to make music: "Faites de la musique."
While it's been called a festival, and the free performances could be considered concerts, Make Music Day promoters have a decidedly unconventional insistence that words like "concert" or "music festival" are too common and orderly for the free spirit of the occasion and its musically occupied public spaces.
The organization's home page insists Make Music is "completely different from a typical music festival." Former French Minister of Music and Dance Maurice Fleuret, who organized the very first Make Music Day, described it as "the music everywhere and the concert nowhere."
Anyone who wants to participate is encouraged to seek out local organizers and events or else to take charge on their own, per the site's FAQ. Nashville and New York are among the cities with Street Studios events planned, during which DJs will encourage pedestrians to collaborate. Nashville will also have a "mass spoon play-along event" at the airport, and participants will even get to keep their spoons. Meanwhile, at Marcus Garvey Park in NY's Harlem, Jazzmobile is planning to celebrate Broadway's legendary songbook.
The Make Music Alliance is tracking local activities around the world, including China and Madagascar, so don't be shy about exploring what's near you. As a growing tradition with its own spirit and heritage, June 21, 2018, might be time to make attending Make Music Day festivities into a tradition of your own.