Make Music Columbia is a live, free musical celebration on June 21, the longest day of the year, with concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the city.
Join the worldwide celebration of music on June 21!
Make Music is a free celebration of music around the world on June 21st. Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, it is now held on the same day in more than 1,000 cities in 120 countries.
Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.
Each year, over 1,000 cities around the world throw citywide music celebrations on June 21.
It all started 40 years ago in France.
In 1982, France’s Ministry of Culture dreamed up an idea for a new kind of musical holiday. They imagined a day where free, live music would be everywhere: street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, store fronts and mountaintops.
And, unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone would be invited to join and play music, or host performances. The event would take place on the summer solstice, June 21, and would be called Fête De La Musique. (In French, the name means both “festival of music” and “make music!”)
Amazingly enough, this dream has come true. The Fête has turned into a true national holiday: France shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over. Almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique.
Three decades later, the holiday has spread throughout the world and is now celebrated in more than 120 countries. In the U.S., the presenting sponsor is the NAMM Foundation.
Interested in performing or hosting a performance during Make Music Columbia 2023? Click below to sign up as a Performer or a Venue! Registration opens May 1, 2023.
Musicians: All styles, ages, and experience levels are invited to register to perform! You can play one set or schedule as many shows as you like.
Venues: Whether you have a outdoor space, sidewalks, backyards, storefronts, small shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, cultural institutions; community gardens; even your own porch, stoop, driveway, or lawn. The only rule, ALL Make Music Day events must be free!
What is Matchmaking?
Matchmaking is our system of connecting musicians with venues. After creating an account, venues can browse musician profiles and vice versa and participants request a booking. A few tips:
- Don’t be shy! Feel free to send requests. It helps to put yourself out there and you can book as many shows as you want.
- Respond to requests in a timely manner. No one likes to wait to hear back. If it’s not a good fit, let the other party know so they can move on.
- Follow up! You can send direct messages through the system or reach out via phone or email.
- In the end, just about everyone who wants to participate will match up. If you need assistance, send a message to OCA@CoMo.gov
Who can host?
- Is your venue located in the City of Columbia?
- Is it free and accessible to the public?
- Can you maintain clearance on the sidewalk for the pedestrian passage?
Questions? – See our FAQ which covers many questions about matchmaking, registration, marketing, and more! Or email OCA@CoMo.gov
2023 Listings: Wednesday, June 21st
Get in touch with us at OCA@CoMo.gov or call 573.874.6387
What is Make Music Columbia?
- Performed by Anyone, Enjoyed by Everyone.
- Part of Make Music Day – The Global Music Celebration happening in 1,000+ cities. Millions of musicians participate and hundreds of millions experience this special day.
- A way for all Columbians to celebrate the summer solstice, enjoy the longest day of the year and sample a buffet of musical merriment.
- A DIY city-wide celebration where almost any way to make music can happen.
- Open to music makers of all ages, skill levels, and musical persuasions.
When is Make Music Columbia?
Make Music Columbia will take place on the summer solstice, every June 21. Performances can be scheduled from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Where is Make Music Columbia held?
In any space open for public participation throughout the City of Columbia. Sidewalks, parks, coffee shops, retail stores, garages, front yards, and more will become impromptu musical stages, dance floors, and social meeting points.
How do I participate?
- USE OUR MATCHMAKING SYSTEM– Create a profile, include as much info as you can (links to videos, audio, social media), browse musicians or venues, and start sending booking requests. Schedule as many shows as you like. Be sure to confirm your shows by midnight, June 18th. Communicate with your matches to sort out any questions.
- ALREADY HAVE MUSICIANS IN MIND? – Use the matchmaking and scheduling platform to post the details of your line-up!
- PLAY THE DAY OF THE EVENT – If you missed getting into the schedule, you can still play! Pick a sidewalk or a spot in a park and make some music. If you’re out in front of an establishment, check-in with them. The city is a stage on Make Music Day!
Where may I perform?
Performances will take place in a variety of spaces. If you have a rock band and want to set up outside your building and play for neighbors, do it! If you want to perform Bach’s cello suites outside your friend’s convenience store, you can do that, too. Almost anything is possible.
- Sidewalks: If you wish to perform on sidewalks, you will need to contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau for permitting. Keep in mind that you cannot block the sidewalk or impede its ADA accessibility. Please also be aware of your neighbors or nearby businesses.
- Parks: Make Music Columbia has reserved prime Columbia park locations and shelters for June 21st concerts. Those locations are listed in our matchmaking system and can be reserved as a venue on a first-come, first-served basis. You may register for all other parks yourself, but may need to complete a Parks Special Use Permit to use the reservable shelters. Check out a complete list Columbia parks.
- Community centers, gardens, and plazas: Some public spaces are privately controlled by community groups, management companies, or individuals. These can be fantastic performance locations – quiet, yet accessible. People who control these spaces will make many of them available on our website. If a perfect site isn’t listed, check with the owners to see if they’re interested!
- Private spaces: Restaurants, businesses, community organizations, and homeowners may wish to offer their locale as a venue.
Can I host live music?
There are a few guidelines for hosts. Hosting is DIY and can be as simple as providing space on your sidewalk or as complex as renting a stage with sound tech. Each host determines the location, length of time, and what they are able to provide.
- Performance spaces must be within the city of Columbia. They can be inside your facility or out.
- The space needs to be free and accessible to the public.
- All venues must maintain clearance on city sidewalks for pedestrian passage.
Who can perform?
Students, amateurs, part-time professionals, and established artists are all welcome. There is no audition process to be included in the musical merriment and Make Music Columbia is open to all ages, skill levels, and persuasions of music makers. All you need to do is register, match with a venue, show up, and perform! Even non-musicians are invited to participate in a sing-along with a crowd or help organize a flash mob.
How long will each performance last?
You have complete artistic control. It’s your concert. Time slots are available in 15 minute increments, but if you want to take an extended 30-minute bass solo, you don’t have to ask our permission! It can be as short as a single song or as long as 11 hours. Artists and venues must agree to the length of the performance during the matchmaking process. When you perform you must stick to the set length you agreed to so that the city-wide published performance schedule stays on track.
Will I be paid to perform? Should I pay our musician guests?
Make Music Columbia is part of the international Make Music Day organization. As part of this international celebration, Make Music Columbia agrees to offer all performances for free to the public. Our contribution is setting up the framework for performances by coordinating the concerts, and publicizing the event.
Participation at any level (as a musician, venue, or spectator) is voluntary. While most performers volunteer their time and talents, venues can pay musicians to perform and should include this information in their profile. Additionally, some venues welcome their musicians by providing food and beverage. We ask venues to do what they can to make your musicians feel welcomed and appreciated!
Spectators are encouraged to make donations so byo-bucket.
May performers schedule more than one performance?
Yes, you can choose to perform at more than one site. Please allow reasonable time for travel and set-up if you plan to perform more than once.
Can dancers participate in Make Music Columbia?
Yes, with some caveats. We are committed to live musical performances, so dance troupes will need to leave the recorded music at home and bring along the orchestra (or rock band, or solo cello). Also, please consider space constraints. With an orchestra and fifteen dancers, you’ll need a space large enough to accommodate everyone plus your audience.
What if a band signs up now, and has to back out later?
Once your event is confirmed by the venue and approved by the Make Music organizers, we will block off your spot. If you do need to cancel, it is your responsibility to find a replacement performer. Please inform the venue – and us – about all program changes ASAP, so we can help find a replacement if needed.
I am part of a large drumming circle, and we’d like to perform at the solstice sunrise.
Noise ordinances and common sense are not suspended for Make Music Columbia. Basically, 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM are acceptable times for higher decibel sound, and acceptable locations are non-residential areas where people will not be disturbed in their homes.
Where might I make loud music?
I’d like to reserve one of the larger shelters with a reservation fee. Is there a special Make Music Columbia reservation fee?
Several of the larger park shelters and performance spaces are listed as venues on our matching system and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Any other park usage would need to go through the Parks and Recreation Special Use Permit process.
Who will provide a stage / tuned grand piano / etc for my concert?
Make Music Columbia is not a typical music festival. It is a DIY opportunity for people to be creative about musical events. Our organizers set up the framework for concerts — the rest is up to you! Artists and locations collaborate to produce the events, provide electricity, if needed, and provide any necessary equipment.
Will there be a main stage?
There will be no main stage. Columbia itself is the stage. This event is not focused around built stages. Your stage could be a front porch, a restaurant patio, a park bench, or any other publicly accessible space. Do you have somewhere you’d love to play? Convince that location to register as a venue!
What if it rains?
If it rains, concerts planned for sidewalks may take place inside a building lobby or storefront. We ask that a door or window be opened so that the music is audible from the street. Park shelters are also an excellent choice for rain or shine locations. During the sign-up process, locations listed on the website will indicate what they can do in case of rain. There is no rain date. This event happens in over 700 communities around the world on the summer solstice, June 21, and so will ours.
Can I charge admission for a Make Music Columbia concert?
No. All Make Music Columbia performances are free and open to the public.
Can I block off a street?
Our city permit DOES NOT cover block parties or parade routes that take place in city streets. To host a block party, you’ll need to make those arrangements on your own.
Can my concert be “invitation only”?
No. All Make Music Columbia performances are free and open to the public.
Can I perform outside the city limits of Columbia?
Not officially. Our permits and logistics only cover Columbia. You may perform wherever you wish, but be aware of whatever regulations and permit issues apply outside of the City of Columbia.
Can I create a Make Music Columbia event that does not include any live music?
No. This is a live music event. A DJ who merely plays prerecorded music would not be included, but a DJ who is using prerecorded music as a part of creating a new unique sound is welcome to join.
Can I have my event indoors?
Of course! We ask that a door or window be opened so that the music is audible from the street.
Who organizes this event?
The City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs joins an informal confederation of 1000+ cities worldwide in creating opportunities for all music makers to take to the streets and celebrate the summer solstice.
How can I get involved as a volunteer?
There are lots of ways to volunteer. Contact us and we’ll run the options by you.
On the registration page, I see that Make Music Columbia runs from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Wow, that is a long event! What is the day like?
The number of events per hour increases as the day goes on, particularly falling on a weekday this year. This schedule gives you the option of playing/hosting your event whenever works best for you and your audience.
The matchmaking software asks for my Facebook and web address. I don’t have this. Does this mean I can’t register?
Facebook or a website are not required. We ask for the links to allow venues and performers to learn more about each other before committing to the match. After matchmaking is complete, our website will allow prospective audiences to sample your work and allow you to promote yourself. If you incorrectly enter information in these boxes, you won’t be allowed to continue. Information entered should be accurate, or the box should be left blank.
I’m a venue. Why is there a check box that says “Accepting requests from artists to perform here?” I wouldn’t be signing up if I weren’t accepting performers.
When your venue is full, you will un-check this box. We’ll see your venue, and performance schedule, and see that it is full.
Why am I restricted to three choices for the type of music I perform or that my venue will accept?
This arbitrary limit is to make finding the right match easier. Use the “Any” choice to override this limitation. Then, you can tell us about your music styling in the description box. If you represent a venue open to all types of music- say so in your description.
I see there is a box asking me how I will promote my performance and I have no idea how to promote my performance. Do I need to promote my performance or venue to participate?
Everyone who signs up on our matchmaking website should describe what they do for promotion. We are counting on musicians and venues to promote their shows anyway they can — email blasts, notices on websites, texting friends, etc. Maybe for you, promotion means telling your best friend and your Aunt Mary about your performance. That’s fine. If you DO know a lot about music promotion, this is a great opportunity to volunteer.
What will Make Music Columbia do to help promote my concert?
We will list all concerts on the Make Music Columbia website (with descriptions and links to artist websites, where available), and we’ll pitch stories about noteworthy concerts to the press.
I’ve signed up as a musician or a venue and I’m ready to make a match. Can you break down the approval process in the software for me?
You can see the details of any artist or performer who fits your search criteria from either the browse or account pages. Use the box with the drop-down menus labeled “venue type”, “neighborhood” and “electricity” to narrow your choices. Use the small triangle to the left of the name of the artist or venue to see all of their details. You can see all available venues and performers by selecting the browse feature, but matchmaking actually happens on your account page.
I’ve looked at all of my options and chosen some possible venues or musicians. What happens now?
After you make a choice, that entity will receive an email. Then both sides need to confirm, modify or decline the opportunity. If you wish to modify, you should contact the other party. When you agree on a match it will be recorded, and Make Music Columbia organizers will examine and approve. Before approval by the artist, venue, and the organizers, your desired match will appear on your “Account” page under “My Performances”; note that until all three parties have approved, the match is “pending confirmation”. After approval by the artist, venue, and Make Music Columbia, the match will be recorded at “Performances”.
We completed our matchmaking last week, but our completed match still says “Pending Confirmation”. What gives?
Make Music Columbia must approve each performance before it is final. In most cases Make Music Columbia will confirm your performance and venue match within two days. If your venue and performer are certain you have a firm commitment, there is no need to worry, you are going steady and we will not force a break-up. Please be patient for our administrators to approve the match in the system.
Do I need to check in with my “Account” page to see if there are any pending matches?
When someone requests a match, you will be emailed a notification to log in and check the match.
If I signed up two weeks ago and no one has picked my venue/performance, should I start to worry?
It may take time to make a match. Keep in mind that the registration will be open until June 18th, so new musicians and venues will appear until then. If you don’t see what you want today, check another time. Or, be creative in your matchmaking. Venues may contact musicians not already registered in the matchmaking software to ask them to sign up. Likewise, performers may contact venues where they’d like to perform and ask them to sign up as venues. Also, consider that venues can be almost any public place in Columbia where people can gather without impeding traffic. The playground down the street, the pet store’s parking lot, the plaza outside your office building could all be venues.
Why was my performance was denied?
Some reasons for denial might be because the venue’s time slots have been filled, or the venue cannot accommodate your type of music or the number of performers. Don’t despair; try to find another match.
A venue or performer wants to modify my request for a match. What is required of me now?
The modification request in our matchmaking software is there to set up a performance schedule that works for both the venue and performer. If a request needs to be modified in some way other than time, you will need to contact the other party to work through the details of the modification.