Gastown Music Festival - Fete de la Musique

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					The streets are alive with the sound of music.On June 21st, the longest
day of the year, Vancouver hosted a free, five-hour outdoor music
festival. The event took place on the oldest streets in the city - the
cobblestones of Gastown. It ran from five in the afternoon till ten at
night and featured musicians from various musical backgrounds. They all
performed in the nooks and crannies surrounding Water Street. The sounds
of guitars, voices and percussion instruments blended into a musical
quilt of auditory diversity.The event was titled Fete de la Musique
Vancouver - or in English, Make Music Vancouver. The festival has its
roots in France, where the idea was formed to create a free annual music
festival on the summer solstice that would be accessible to everyone. It
was the brainchild of Joel Cohen, an American employed by the national
French radio station, Franc Musique. The idea took on a firm form under
Maurice Fleuret, a French Music and Dance director, who spearheaded the
first gathering. The inaugural festival in France was held in 1982. It
has since spawned similar festivals on the same date and under the same
conditions in countries around the world.There are now over 100 countries
taking part in the annual event. In Canada, the festival has premiered in
Toronto, Moncton, Ottawa, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec City and Montreal. This
was the first year that it took place on the streets of Vancouver. The
two francophone institutions responsible for organizing it were Alliance
Francaise de Vancouver and Francais du Monde a Vancouver. The event also
had the support of the French Consulate.With a distinctly French
background, organizers encouraged French-speaking artists to submit their
applications for a festival spot. The final line-up showcased a variety
of culturally diverse acts, with vocals in a number of different
languages.The festival site had 35 musical zones, or temporary stages,
where artists rotated through a set line-up. Each zone had a specific
musical feel. For the rock fans, there was the corner of Water and
Richards. The hip-hop fans had the bottom of Cambie, by the rail
yard.With a mix of professional and amateur musicians, the festival
included raw and polished talent. None of the musicians performing were
paid - a key element to the festival. The performers shared their music
for the love of their craft.The musicians were asked to bring their own
instruments, chairs and music stands, with the festival organizers
supplying only the location. The performances concluded at 10 pm, when
the bylaw noise restrictions came into effect.Make Music Vancouver also
encouraged local bars and nightclubs to continue the party indoors, after
10 o'clock. Bar and club owners were asked to stick to the same
principals and not charge for admission.If you missed out on Fête de la
Musique, make sure you buy your tickets early for this summer's most
anticipated music festival, Live at Squamish. Metric and Weezer will
headline this two-day event in the middle of August.

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