Now in its eighth year, Make Music New York is a city-wide musical celebration held annually on June 21st, the summer solstice.
The Make Music New York Festival (also known as the Summer Solstice Music Festival) was inspired by France’s “Fête de la Musique,” a national musical holiday launched on June 21, 1982. The success of that first Fête soon inspired other nations to host their own summer solstice music festivals.
The idea quickly spread and today, more than 100 countries around the world sponsor associated musical events, all of them open to both amateur and professional musicians playing in every musical genre.
This year, Make Music New York includes 1,350 free performances in public and private venues throughout the five boroughs. Participation is open to all, regardless of musical experience or style, and passersby are encouraged to join in the fun.
I was able to make it to only a single concert this year, but it was a great one: the Privia Piano Bar, a traveling show on a pickup truck. The moving venue, sponsored by Casio Keyboards, made several stops around the city. While Simon Mulligan played in the back of the truck, singer Lolita Jackson took to the sidewalk and encouraged onlookers to join her in the music of one of New York’s favorite musicians, Billy Joel.
If you missed the summer solstice concert, don’t worry; the same group sponsors a second festival, Make Music Winter, on December 21st, the winter solstice.