200 Bands for Free: Make Music Vancouver, June 21

Photo credit: *_* | Flickr

Ready to kick off summer with a ton of free, live music?

On June 21, the first day of summer, Make Music Vancouver will transform Gastown’s Water Street into one, huge outdoor concert with dozens of different sidewalk stages (Editor’s Note: This event has also been expanded into Yaletown this year).  The event, which runs from 5 p.m.-10 p.m., was inaugurated in Vancouver last year and attracted  20,000 people and 150 bands.  This year, organizers are expecting 200 bands.

200 bands in one evening?  That’s right.  And the reason it’s possible is because Make Music is unlike any festival you’ve ever been to.

The idea started in France in 1982, when the culture ministry urged amateur and professional musicians to flood the streets in celebration of the summer solstice.  Since then, Make Music has expanded to 450 cities around the world.

Photo credit: *_* | Flickr

What makes the festival unique is that it’s entirely grassroots and entirely volunteer – neither musicians nor organizers are paid and there are no tickets to buy.  Basically, if you have a band and want to play, you’re welcome to sign up in advance, then hit the streets and rock out.

Don’t expect any internationally known, big-name acts down in Gastown or Yaletown this year.  The real charm of Make Music is that it consists of local people – some super-talented; some just hobbyists – jamming for the fun of it in the heart of downtown Vancouver.  Genres range from jazz, funk and world music to styles that simply defy definition.

Musicians bring their own equipment and set up at an assigned spot to play for a period of one hour.  Lots of acts are acoustic; others run extension cords into nearby bars and restaurants.  It’s all very improvised and informal.

Meanwhile, crowds meander up and down Water Street, gathering around bands for a song or two, then moseying on to the next act.  After 10 p.m., the party continues inside the pubs and restaurants of Gastown and Yaletown.

Make Music Vancouver is Thursday, June 21, from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. on Gastown’s Water Street, which will be closed to car traffic, and in Yaletown.  For more information, check out the website.

Anyone go to Make Music last year? How was it? 

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9 Responses to 200 Bands for Free: Make Music Vancouver, June 21

  1. Lucy

    Yeaaaaah! Last year it was so great. Good that Water street is closed this year.

  2. Christie

    Sometimes I wonder why it is that Vancouver does not count among Canada’s music meccas. Everyone knows Seattle for the origin of grunge and Portland for its internationally famous indie scene, but come on, there is a plenty of great bands in Vancouver, and there are also many artísts who haven’t been recognized yet. I can’t wait for “I’m Violet Height”!

  3. John Klassen

    Do the organizers and musicians consider that a large percentage of the population (evidence indicates as large as 65%) prefer to celebrate the coming of summer in peace and quiet?

    The World Health Organization reports that noise with more than an Lnight value of 40 dB is responsible for large scale hearing loss and increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders including hypertension and heart disease among.

    • Procomplainer

      Do you realize the stupidity of your comment ? The streets are empty 363 days on 365 ! And you are still complaining for 1.5 single day that will bring joy and new positive energy to thousands of people ?!
      You must be conservative as hell, oh yes, this is BC I understand why now…

    • observe

      Perhaps before we begin the name calling, we should read the evidence. Go to the WHO web site. I have no wish to determine what kind of music people like to listen to or create. My objection is when they intrude into my space. Keep it the concert halls. You keep your sounds in your space and I’ll keep restrict mine to my space. That’s equal rights, its democracy.

      Examine this Listen While you Work: Hearing Conservation for the Arts. Produced by Safety and
      Health in Arts Production and Entertainment, Vancouver, B.C. 2001
      I praise these musicians for being concerned about their health. Now let’s extend that concern to the listeners, and above all to neighbors who have to put up with damage from others

      • Procomplainer

        You should chill out and join the event some day, this change your mind; and I am not a big fan of crowds too but the variety of music and quality of some bands are greater than what you may find on the iPhone store !

        Antidemocratic rules are surrounding our daily routine, I, like many free thinkers don’t consider visual pollution (corporate ads, stores or fast food places) to be a normal picture when I walk out, but this is a daily fact that we have (almost) no control over.

        • observe

          Are the signs against the law then call the attention of the authorities to the law that’s being broken. If not against the law then work for one. At the very least your vision has only a 180 degree exposure and you can always avert your eyes. Loud music surrounds you 360 degrees and there is no escape if it is in your neighborhood. And Vancouver does have a law against noises that disturb the peace.

          Peace to you!

  4. Silent

    This is basically an exploitation of musical talent
    Street party
    Vendors bars make money
    Musicians volunteer their time talent equipment gear for fun

  5. Kiki225

    Musicians :
    Do NOT play for free

    This Event sucks
    Battle of the biggest PA
    Volume wars