On June 21, several venues around town – along with 430 other cities around the world – will celebrate the “Fete de la Musique” (Music Festival).
Created in 1982 by former French Culture Minister Jack Lang, this event promotes local and international singers and bands, who will gather for one night only, on the shortest evening of the year. For more than 10 years now the French Institute in Lebanon – under the patronage of the Culture Ministry – has scheduled a wide range of musical talents. This year’s selection will perform in the Roman Baths, Martyrs’ Square, Samir Kassir Garden, the Beirut Souks, Zaitunay Bay and in several churches across the city.
Free of charge, the “Fete de la Musique” is the “celebration of music destined to promote the importance and diversity of musical genres,” as French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli said at a news conference given Tuesday morning.
Last year’s event was awarded best music festival by Time Out Beirut and this year is expected to live up to last. More than 60 bands are scheduled to make an appearance on June 21.
French singer Dalele will bring her accordion to Beirut for the first time, ready to plunge the audience of the Roman Baths into the realm of her popular French music.
Segundo Bloco performed last year and will be performing again this year. Formed by Lebanese students from the school “Filhos de Bimba Escola de Capoeira,” this ensemble of percussionists and dancers will amaze Lebanese crowds with their blend of Brazilian modern tunes and traditional Batucada-Samba.
Martyrs’ Square will be invaded by young talents. From rock, to metal and pop, a range of genres will be gathered here to please the audience. Lebanese band Pindoll gained international fame due to their opening act for last summer’s Red Hot Chili Peppers’ concert. The charm of lead vocalist Erin Mikaelian and the talents of her musicians will no doubt result in a one-of-a-kind performance.
Near Surface will also be present on June 21. Also known as Amy Smack Daddy, they will offer up a rendition of some of their recent tunes as well as songs from their debut album “Crooked Landings.” They also gained a new level of recognition on the Lebanese music scene due to their opening act for last year’s concert of Guns’n’Roses, alongside The Wanton Bishops.
For those more into fusion music, Tanjaret Daghet will immerse the audience into their Arabic rock world.
Samir Kassir Garden will find itself hosting The Lowhighs, Blue Yeast, Nachaz, Postcards, and Camille and Lory. Reggae, pop, jazz, rock and indie folk music will echo in the usually peaceful Downtown garden.
Allen Seif (aka Oak) will go acoustic with his guitar. Singer and songwriter Oak has performed several times in Mar Mikhael’s Radio Beirut, and was also the overture artist for The Wanton Bishops’ concert in Solea V. His musical style is reminiscent of U.K. pop band Travis or U.K. singer Jude.
Other Lebanese bands such as The Coolcumbers, Murphey Lawless, The Banana Cognacs and Al 3arabi Mo5 will present their music to the audience.
As for the Beirut Souks, they will be taken over by such Lebanese artists as Snowslash, Champlain, Nour, The Missing Pixels and Bruno Tabbal (to name a few) who will immerse the spectators in tunes from many different musical genres.
Aficionados of Middle Eastern music will find their Holy Grail with the performance of band Al Kamandjati who will perform at Zaitunay Bay. Composed of 45 children aged 8-18, they will interpret some Arabic classics.
Traditional Lebanese music will be played by Ribal Raya and his band, and fusion Middle Eastern music will be performed by the band Bl 3arabe.
Rojo Del Libano will also be returning this year to present their repertoire of flamenco fusion with Arabic music.
To top it all off the Coralino and CTI Cantores choirs will perform in St. Louis Church of the Capuchins Brothers and St. Elie Kantari Church, alongside students from Ghassan Yammine Musical School.
“Fete de la Musique” will be celebrated in several venues on June 21. For more information, please visit: www.facebook.com/fetemusiquebey 
By Chirine Lahoud