About Make Music

Make Music New York
Make Music New York 2014. Photo: Kris Connor/Getty

What is Make Music Day?

Make Music Day (or just “Make Music”) is a free celebration of music around the world on June 21st, the summer solstice.

Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is a open to anyone who wants to take part. Thousands of amateur musicians play in public spaces, often for their first time. Professional musicians perform for new audiences, who come out from under their headphones to hear unfamiliar groups risk-free. And everyone is invited to sing along and enjoy the first day of summer.

Today, Make Music is observed on the same day in more than 750 cities around the world. It is the world’s largest annual music event.

Where did the idea come from?

Make Music began in France as Fête de la Musique, a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982. Ever since, the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 120 countries, including Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Australia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, and Japan.

The name Make Music comes from the French Fête (or Faites) de la musique, which means both “festival of music” and “make music!”

Who can participate?

Anyone and everyone. Amateurs, part-time professionals, and established artists are all welcome. In the U.S., initiatives like “Mass Appeal” allow even those who have never before touched an instrument to join in.

Is this an annual event?

Yes, Make Music takes place every June 21. (In 2016, it fell on a Tuesday; in 2017, it will fall on a Wednesday.)

How can I sign up to play, or host a performance?

If you are in a city with a Make Music organization, register through that city’s website. (Click here for the list of cities.) Make Music cities use a “matchmaking” platform that allows you to register your own concert, or to collaborate on a Make Music event with local musicians and venues that fit your tastes. Typically, registration for June 21 2017 begins in February/March 2017, but it depends on the city.

Can I participate even if my city isn’t on the list?

Absolutely. Download this kit (pdf) for tips on how to have your own Make Music event, wherever you are.

How can I get my city to support a large-scale Make Music Day?

The Make Music Alliance can help you strategize, and help you demonstrate the benefits of Make Music to your elected officials. Email aaron@makemusicday.org to learn more.

I want to have a Make Music event, but I don’t have a location.

Concerts can take place almost anywhere – porches, storefronts, garages, gardens, parks, or on the sidewalk outside where you live. Chances are, you already know a location you can use on June 21 to bring your neighbors together and make music.

Do musicians get paid to participate?

The Make Music city organizers do not pay musicians — nor do musicians pay them. Most musicians perform for free. But artists and venues are welcome to make any financial arrangements they wish, as long as the concerts are free to attend, unticketed, and in public spaces.

How will my concert be promoted?

All concerts in Make Music Alliance member cities are promoted through our online listings platform, interactive maps, smartphone apps for iOS and Android, dynamically-created promotional posters, and our nationwide PR firm. In addition, some cities have developed media partnerships to create printed programs listing every concert, vinyl banners for venues, and newspaper & radio ads.

In addition, Mass Appeal events and NAMM-member initiatives receive their own prominent recognition on each city’s online materials and in our nationwide promotions.

Who puts this all together?

Each Make Music city is independently organized. Often it’s a local community group, media outlet, arts presenter, government agency, or civic leader who champions the musical holiday in their hometown.

The nonprofit Make Music Alliance exists to serve these Make Music organizers around the world. Its goals are to promote Make Music participation, provide tools to help manage the event in each community, and foster collaboration, mentorship, and mutual support among its members. Detailed membership benefits are described here.

Does NAMM run Make Music Day?

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation is the presenting sponsor of Make Music Day. We could not do this without their support!

Does the French Ministry of Culture run Make Music Day?

Outside of France, they are not involved in the day-to-day running of the event. But their creation of the Fête de la Musique, 35 years ago, still inspires the work of Make Music organizers around the world.