Fête de la Musique Top Ten

News - Published: 19 June 2012

Our guide to making the most of one of the few days you’re actually encouraged to get drunk and dance in the street.

fete de la musique paris 2012The Gendarmes must be having a logistical nightmare, not only is Thursday one of their busiest nights of the year but it also comes slap bang in the middle of the European Championships. As always the metros will be open all night and chances are no matter which one you stick your head out of something will be going on.

The festival has a reputation for not being a real industry favourite, in fact, good luck trying to see a gig at one of the usual venues like La Fléche or La Maroq…even L’International has cancelled its line up for the evening. The quality may not always be there and the pickpockets certainly will be, some of our favourite bars even close to avoid it (Le Motel, Pop In, Espace B), but if you don’t take it too seriously Fête de la Musique can still be one of the real feel good nights of the year.

So with the usual suspects out of the question we’re having to look a little further afield, here’s our top ten:

daniel-buren-excentrique-grand-palais-paris1) Bal Blanc at Le Grande Palais: Four Tet, Caribou, Jamie XX (20h)

The city’s top electro night on Thursday is hosted by the Creators Project at the vast Grand Palais. A real quality line up will play to revellers dressed in white surrounded by Daniel Buren’s colourful ‘Excentrique’ installation into the early hours. This is bound to be a real highlight, more info here.

2) Colette Water Bar  – Mina Tindle, Saint Michel, Young Guru (17h)

One of French music’s rising stars Mina Tindle will play a stripped down acoustic show at the trendy Colette boutique in the 1eme supported by a healthy amount of electro, food from 40/60 and drinks from Warsteiner.

Francois Atlas Mountains_paris_fete_de_la_musique3) Place Denfert-Rochereau: Carmen Maria Vega, Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains, Concrete Knives and Twin Twin (20h)

Fête de la Musique tends to bring out the French in French music for both the better and worse, both are here. Expect Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains and Concrete Knives to stand out in the square where Paris once collapsed. Pray for sunshine.

4) Bourse Metro: Hoquets, Le Yeti, Frown-I-Brown (19h)

In a lot of ways the Belgian troop Hoquets represent what the festival is all about: Their instruments are quaint and home made, their quality some what hit and miss, but their love of playing live music is plain to see.

5) Cité de la Musique – Moriarty (17h)

It wouldn’t be Fete de la Musique without the city’s favourite French traditional Irish-folk band. The group would probably feel more at home playing on a street corner, so it’s somewhat ironic that they’ll be one of the few bands playing inside on Thursday.

erevan-tusk-paris-fete-de-la-musique-20126) Le Cargo – Maud Lübeck, Lidwine, The Dove & The Wolf, Erevan Tusk and Redeye (18h30)

Trusted French music webzine Cargo is holding a ‘Secret Garden Party’ with some of their favourite artists including GIP favourite Erevan Tusk, who you can expect to see and hear much more of in the coming weeks. Although the venue is a secret and places are strictly limited you can ensure your name is on the guest list by sending off and email to defoville@gmail.com who’ll try to squeeze you on to the list.

7) ‘The Balcony Party’, 37 rue Gabriel Péri – w/ Frensh Kyd, Marz Attack and Fonzi Winkler

With every Jean, Claude and Francois out making music on Thursday there’s going to be a lot of guff out there. Having listened or at least tried to listen to most of the acts listed on the festival’s official website, I stumbled across Frensh Kyd on Twitter. If you are going to get in to the true spirit of Fete de la musique then it may be worth venturing out of the periph to Levallois. Julien aka Frensh Kyd will be DJ’ing from a balcony with special guests from 19h and could well be one to keep an eye on in the future.

8) 95 Boulevard Beaumarchais – Boombox block party (18h)

If you’re hankering for a simpler time, a time before Twitter, Facebook, and when the average street vendor didn’t have intimate knowledge of Greece’s financial situation, then you may want to head to the Boombox Block Party where 80s and early 90s hip hop is likely to be abundance. Additional info here.

9) Cité Nationale de l’histoire de l’Immigration: Cheveu + YRO (21h30)

The excellent art space Mains D’Oeuvres has loaned Cité Nationale de L’Histoire de L’Immigration two of their artists-in-residence. Post-punkers Cheveu reached the heavy heights of a 7.6 rating on Pitchfork not so long ago but this is a show unlikely to be to everyone’s taste. On the other hand Mains D’Oeuvres themselves are showcasing their newest addition Sophie Oz at their Saint-Ouen base from 15h for those looking for something a bit quieter.

10) L’Hotel Matignon: Theodore, Paul et Gabriel, Lussi in the Sky, Pony Pony Run Run (19H)

New French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is opening up his elaborate courtyard for one night only – this is something of a tradition. The event is supposedly to celebrate 50 Years of Pop although its unlikely any of those performing will be remembered in another 50 – the likes of Lussi in the Sky who came a runner up in Nouvelle Star are among those who’ll take to the stage, but how many chances do we get to see how the other half live?

L'Hotel Matignon Paris Fete De La Musique 2012

Events at Bus Palladium, Gibus, Jardin de Bercy, La Machine du Moulin Rouge, Les Peres Populaire and Cafe des Sports are also worth a look, whilst Batofar will be throwing one big all night party on their boat for those willing to splash a bit of cash. However, if you’re stuck for options, heading up Rue Oberkampf in the late evening is likely to turn up something with Blvd de Menilmontant likely to be one big party and the residents around Lou Pascalou unlikely to sleep until dawn.