Make Music Raleigh

Make Music Raleigh

Make Music Raleigh is a live, free musical celebration on June 21 and December 21, with concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the city.



Free Outdoor and Virtual Music Making Events to be Held Across Raleigh and Wake County as Part of Annual Global Celebration

This year, more than 100 U.S. cities and counties, including 13 North Carolina counties, will host thousands of Make Music performances across the country as part of the world’s largest annual music event.

In 2023, Make Music Raleigh hosted a multi-event festival across nearly a dozen venues June 21 and a special Make Music Winter event December 21 at Azure Violins in the Mordecai neighborhood.

The Raleigh Drum Circle hosted a community event at Method Road Park for Make Music Day 2023 (photo: Lisa Snedeker)

Make Music Day began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique and has spread to more than 1,000 cities across 120 countries. Unlike a typical musical festival, Make Music concerts are performed by anyone who wants to take part and enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend. From classical to folk, hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock, live music of all kinds resounds on streets, sidewalks, porches, plazas, parks, gardens, store fronts and other public spaces on the longest day of the year.

The Triangle’s first Make Music Day experience was 1998, when Carrboro created its music festival as part of the global Make Music Day celebrations. The Carrboro Music Festival later moved to October. Local Make Music Day events continued occasionally since then. For the second straight year, Make Music Raleigh will serve the local chapter host, this year featuring the generous support of the North Carolina Arts Council through the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. Campbell Raleigh again will be the title sponsor, cementing the festival as a regular feature of the area’s rich cultural landscape.

“Once again, the City of Raleigh Museum is proud to be a host venue for Make Music Raleigh,” says Ernest Dollar, director of the City of Raleigh Museum. “Artistic talent can be found overflowing the streets in every neighborhood. With performances from individual amateurs to world-class ensembles, Make Music Raleigh will give all our residents and visitors a chance to experience the city’s diverse musical riches in their own backyards — or explore the sights and sounds of other neighborhoods.” 

Highlights of Make Music Raleigh 2024 include:

  • “Instrument Zoos” from both the North Carolina Symphony and Azure Violins, letting members of the community see and play orchestral instruments.
  • Floor pianos — electronic keyboards that connect to any conductive surface, including walls, plants, or people — anyone can sample and play at COR Museum and Azure Violins, provided by the madcap inventors of Makey Makey.
  • A harmonica workshop and play-along, with a free harmonica for each participant, while supplies last
  • A ukulele learning session at Azure Violins. Learn to play and perform a song in less than 30 minutes with the help of Azure instructors and members of the Raleigh Uke Jam. Loaner ukes will be provided if you don’t have your own.
  • Busking in downtown Raleigh with the Moore Square Buskers.
  • A Community Bluegrass Jam with the Handsome Ladies of Raleigh.
  • A ukulele strum-along and sing-along with the Raleigh Uke Jam.


How it started

Imagine a free, global music festival that encourages everyone who attends to sing and play. That’s what Make Music Day features. The City of Oaks is a part of that celebration.

It started 42 years ago, in France.

In 1982, France’s Ministry of Culture dreamed up an idea for a new kind of musical holiday. To celebrate the summer solstice, they imagined a day where free, live music would be everywhere: street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, storefronts and mountaintops.

Unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone would be invited to join, play music, or host performances. They called the event 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. Nearly 5 million people — nearly 8% of the residents of France — have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique.

The holiday has spread throughout the world and is now celebrated in more than 120 countries.

In the Triangle, Carrboro established its music festival in 1998 as an affiliate of Fête de la Musique. The Carrboro Music Festival later moved to early fall, ending its formal relationship with Make Music Day. Cary and Raleigh occasionally have hosted Make Music Day celebrations, but 2023 marked the first year Make Music Day has a permanent presence in the City of Oaks.

See you June 21!


Raleigh rang in the holiday season December 21 with Make Music Winter — a free celebration of the solstice!

Azure Violins hosted the party. The Raleigh Uke Jam led a holiday-themed jam with Azure’s students. Along with ukuleles, voices, and jingle bells, participants joined the fun with boomwhackers, rhythm sticks, and egg shakers provided by Rhythm Band Instruments.


Raleigh joined more than 1,000 cities worldwide in the annual Make Music Day celebration, June 21!

CBS17’s Amalia Roy visited our Harmonica Mass Appeal at City of Raleigh Museum and filed this report:

We also partnered with the Raleigh Drum Circle and curated performances by the Handsome Ladies of Raleigh and The Raleigh Uke Jam, among others.

The presenting sponsor in the U.S. is the NAMM Foundation.

Make Music Raleigh’s founding sponsor is Campbell University Raleigh Campus.


Click here to find your place to play or provide a place to play.

Now seeking performers — musicians, teachers, and their fans — and locations and venues, which could be businesses, parks, libraries, museums, even sidewalks or front porches, for Make Music Raleigh 2024!

Make Music Raleigh promotes the spirit of the day on local media and through community organizations and civic groups. Also, by signing up as a performer or a location, you’ll be highlighted on Make Music Raleigh promotional materials, including our website and social media. You can use these links to highlight your performance or your venue, including the chance to upload and promote your work on your matchmaking page!

Questions? Please contact

Thanks, and see you on the solstice!


2024 Listings: Friday, June 21st



Make Music Raleigh is organized and supported by volunteers. Building on our successes in 2023, we have formed a North Carolina nonprofit and will apply for federal 501(c)3 nonprofit status to grow Make Music Raleigh into a must-go annual community celebration!

Anyone who signs up as a performer or venue will be listed on the Make Music Raleigh website and promoted on our social media and outreach materials. Your profile includes photos, links, and ways to get in touch. Sponsors get special recognition.

We appreciate all the performers and venue hosts who made our first MMD Raleigh a hit!

We’re seeking continuing support from sponsors. They’ll help us find even more performers and venues, and improve our community outreach in 2024 and beyond. If you’d like to make a financial or in-kind donation, contact We’d love to work with you. No contribution is too small (or too large)!

For a fast, easy way to show a little love, buy us a coffee!

Make Music Raleigh is extremely grateful for the generous support it receives from the North Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Campbell University Raleigh, and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.


Get in touch with us at