Travel Blog

16 Jun

150 Bands for Free: Make Music Vancouver Returns

Photo sourced from Make Music Vancouver

Photo sourced from Make Music Vancouver

Want to see 150 bands in one night, for free?

Make Music Vancouver, the crowdsourced music fest, is back for its third edition on June 21.  For one night, the streets of Gastown – every last curb, doorway and plaza – will be filled with 150 local acts performing everything from rock and reggae to classical, jazz and punk.

For music lovers, and anyone into raw, unbridled creativity, it’s an auditory and visual feast: sometimes messy, sometimes inspiring, always entertaining.

From a distance, all you hear is a cacophony of cymbals, booming bass and a chorus of dozens of different voices.  Up close, however, each act comes into its own.

At one intersection, you might be absorbed in a rollicking piece of Celtic rock.  Walk a few steps further and a cover band is performing AC/DC.  Around the corner, a jazz trio is swinging away, while – barely out of earshot –  a metal group chugs its way through a Metallica number.

Not to mention Water Street is closed for traffic during the event, turning Gastown into one big street party.  Last year, 25,000 people turned out for Make Music, and this year’s shindig may be even larger.

Make Music Vancouver gets its inspiration from a French phenomenon that began in the early ’80s called Fete de la Musique.  In 1982, the culture ministry urged amateur and professional musicians to flood the streets in celebration of the summer solstice (what a gloriously French thing to do).  Since then, Make Music has expanded to 450 cities around the world.

Importantly, Make Music is an entirely grassroots endeavour.  Volunteers put on the event and musicians play for free, snaking extension cords into local bars to power their amps.

Don’t expect to see big-name, international bands.  Many of the acts, in fact, are just local people from around the city, which is a big part of the appeal.  Lots of us have a bit of musical talent.  For one night of the year, why not let it all hang out in front of a few thousands friends and neighbours?

Make Music Vancouver is free and takes over Gastown June 21, from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.  A list of bands performing is available on the website.

Anyone been to Make Music before?  What did you think? 

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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