Street dancers perform at Fête de la Musique in Paris. | Courtesy of MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP

Ever since the summer of 1982, Paris, France, has celebrated Fête de la Musique — or, celebration of music — all throughout the day and night every June 21. Musicians take to the streets to perform and help unite the community.

A little bit of this tradition is rubbing off on Louisville, as the city hosts its first-ever Fête de la Musique Louisville on Wednesday at various locations throughout downtown. A joint venture between the Louisville Downtown Partnership and Alliance Française de Louisville, the event will feature dozens of musicians and bands of all styles.

Brett Corbin, a board member of Alliance Française, explains in a press release the magic of the French tradition.

“The day and night is filled with music everywhere in the city by musicians of all types and all skill levels,” he says. “Music is played on street corners, from fixed stages, on park squares and in cafes and restaurants around Paris.”

There will be five planned events from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., followed by two happy hour sessions from 5:30-7:30 p.m. And if you’re a street performer interested in sharing your talents, the city invites you to come downtown during the lunchtime events and claim a piece of sidewalk to perform on — you can even collect tips!

The scheduled lunchtime events are as follows: Whiskey Bent Valley at Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen (122 W. Main St.); Louisville Youth Choir at the Humana Building (500 W. Main St.); Frenchaxe at National City Plaza (101 S. Fifth St.); NouLou Chamber Players and Young Artist Competition winners at Fourth Street Live; and Hewn from the Mountain at the South Fourth district (607 S. Fourth St.).

And the two happy hour events include: Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Band on the front steps of the Kentucky Center, and Carly Johnson on the rooftop of the Brown Hotel.

To drive home Louisville’s ties with France even further, celebrations from our sister city, Montpellier, France, will be streamed on big screens at the Kentucky Center, Fourth Street Live and the KFC Yum! Center.

“We are thrilled to welcome the first Downtown Louisville-based Fête de la Musique, celebrating our city as a music venue,” says Mayor Greg Fischer in the release. “I believe arts and cultural experiences are a powerful way to bring our community together and to sustain a thriving, urban city.”

The events are free and will take place rain or shine, just as they do in Paris.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."