French festival of music celebrates country's culture in Taiwan

Fête de la Musique was held at Maji Square in Taipei and featured bands, DJs, and a food market


The Association des Français de Taiwan (AFT) hosted its annual Fête de la Musique at Maji Square on Saturday (June 22).

The "Festival of Music," as it is called in English, got its start in 1982 after France's Ministry of Culture decided to set aside a day for musicians and music lovers alike to come together in public spaces. Typically held on the summer solstice, the event is now celebrated in more than 100 countries.

This year's performances took place at the Maji main stage and the nearby live music venue Triangle from 1:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Behind the square, a third stage sponsored by music event organizer EXTRA drew fans of electronic music with its DJ lineup.

The performances featured a range of diverse genres, including blues, alternative rock, and reggae music. One of the last acts to perform, Swing, held true to their name with a rousing horn-driven set, accompanied by enthusiastic dancers from a local swing dance club.

The festival also included a food market, where vendors sold a mix of international fare and staples of French cuisine, such as crêpes and wine.

One of the vendors, a Parisian who introduced himself as Frederic, came to Taiwan 12 years ago as a waiter. He said he eventually found himself asking "what do I want to do in Taiwan?" In the end, he decided to share his passion for French food with the people of his adopted home by baking and selling pies and quiche.

The Association des Français de Taiwan was created in 1991 and comprises about 125 members. The group’s longtime chairman, Dominique Levy, says its purpose is to "bring Taiwanese and French people together."

The AFT holds a variety of functions throughout the year, from conferences to gastronomic events. According to Levy, Fête de la Musique is intended to appeal to the general public, while next month’s Bastille Day celebration has French natives in mind.

There are approximately 4,000 French nationals living in Taiwan.