Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Best Free Street Music Festival in France

Last weekend we went to the Fête du Panier, the annual music festival in the Old Town of Marseille. I go each year without fail: it's a fantastic occasion, a two-day multi-cultural shindig that begins in the afternoon with children's shows, community events and exhibitions and continues way into the night with (free) top-class, live world music - this year, the headline act was the Mercury prize nominee Susheela Raman.

After the lead acts have finished, it continues way into the small hours with pulsating discos in the various squares.

The music is only half the story though: the best thing about the Fête du Panier is its unique atmosphere. Local inhabitants sell home-made food and drinks - there must be some sort of special waiver for drinks licences - or perhaps the authorities just turn a blind eye.

And in every doorway there's someone grilling sardines or merguez (spicy North African sausages), and offering homemade Asian savouries, Algerian patisserie, vegetarian delicacies or home-made p'tit punch (rum punch). Click here to read more about the Panier.

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