Last night was the Fête de la Musique. This festival is really cool.
Held every year on June 21st this celebration was first held in1982, and was started by the then Minister for Culture, Jack Lang. (Being Australian, I find it hard to think of anyone other than our own Jack Lang when I hear that name). The idea is for musicians to take to the streets, performing in open spaces and filling the night with music.
It is a charming idea, and hasn't lost any momentum over the years. In our little village of only a few thousand people there were no less than five concerts to choose from - all free.
In typical French style there was not much going on until after 8pm. Indeed, some concerts didn't start until well after 9. Adults and children alike mingled in village squares. At one concert the resident crazy lady danced up a storm right in front of the stage. Perhaps it was just the Rose talking, but unlike with her usual (solo) performances, last night she was joined by many other dancing Frenchies. I was a little in awe of their communal lack of self consciousness. The Man, a resolutely committed non-dancer, snuck away in case anyone tried to pull him into the melee.
Yesterday was coincidentally the longest day of the year and also the official start to summer, so it was a triple celebration. In fact, if all this was not enough, our village also held it's Saint Jean bonfire to top it off. Traditionally people leap over a fire on Saint Jean-Baptiste day (24 June) but Souillac's fire was enormous, far too big to jump over. For many days a large bonfire has been under construction in the main car park. I must have been living here in France for too long - I hardly raised an eyebrow when the thing was engulfed in towering flames within just a few steps of the crowd.