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Silence falls over Fête de la Musique

As France tunes up for the 33rd annual celebration of music, 50 bars and clubs in Paris plan a silent protest

STREETS the length and breadth of France will be alive to the sound of music tomorrow, as the country marks the 33rd annual Fête de la Musique.

In Paris, American singer Lana Del Rey is set to take the stage at L'Olympia, while national broadcaster France 2 will present a major concert from Montpellier, featuring the likes of Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, as well as Yannick Noah, Nolwenn Leroy and Christophe Maé.

Meanwhile, numerous events featuring professional and amateur musicians have been organised in cities and towns all over France.

But, in the capital, about 50 bars have taken a vow of silence in protest at what they describe as “abusive behaviour” by the prefecture over noise levels the rest of the year.

Earlier this month, so-called “mayor of the night” Clement R Leon, who was elected in November, called on pubs and bars to “make no noise, no concert, no DJ set… in protest against the abusive behaviour of the Paris prefecture … the lack of political will of the city of Paris… and complaints from residents’ associations.”

At least 30 bars in nightlife hotspots Rue Saint-Maur, Oberkampf and Jean-Pierre Timbaud are set to remain closed tomorrow night.

Nightclub owner Hammoumi Selim said: “We did a lot for three years to fight against noise: we have sound sensors, hired ‘chutteurs’, set up a hotline for residents to call, but the pressure continues to increase. The district is now falling.”

Bars and clubs in the 17th, 18th and 19th arrondisements, meanwhile, have decided not to stage any events tomorrow to give silence to their anger at what they call the “political anticonvivialité in Paris the other 364 days of the year”.

Mr Hammoumi and Mr Leon are due to meet city officials today to discuss the state of Paris’s nightlife.

The first Fête de la Musique, which is always celebrated on the summer solstice, took place in France in 1982. It is now a global phenomenon, with similar events taking place in 100 countries.

Photo: Beatriz Alvani

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