Make Music Day – local and international, back as usual on 21 June  


Author: Barbara Eifler, co-chief executive, Making Music, and chair, Make Music Day UK

It’s the simplest of concepts: anyone can create or host or perform in a music event on 21 June and be part of the world’s biggest DIY grassroots music festival.

There is no restriction on what you do and how you do it, no artistic oversight telling you what you can or can’t play or programme, and you are very welcome to use it to promote your kind of music making, or your local musicians, bands or choirs, or indeed to use it to fundraise for your favourite, or local, musical charity.

There are only three conditions for a Make Music Day event to be eligible to be listed on the website, it must:

  • Be a music event.
  • Take place on 21 June, or if pre-recorded it must premiere on 21 June.
  • Be free for audience or participants to access.

Make Music Day is about celebrating all kinds of music and music-making, in a public arena, bringing music to the people, rather than making people attend a venue; making music something that folks stumble upon in the course of their normal day and which may introduce them to some new kinds of music or new bands and even encourage them perhaps to become a hobby musician themselves. 

As the weather in the UK can be variable on 21 June, popular public spaces include libraries, shopping centres, railway stations and hospital atria, as well as the more usual town squares, parks, and bandstands. 

From France, where it started as Fête de la Musique in 1982, it spread rapidly around the world, and many countries now, as well as encouraging local activity, collaborate on international projects.

2024, for instance, sees the UK again leading on connecting primary schools across the world, which last year involved 11 primary schools in the UK and 65 schools in Thailand, Australia, the US, India, China, Pakistan and Italy in exchanging musical ‘hellos’. This year, it will be at least 100 schools already. And there will be an Olympic project this year, too. There are more details to come, so do sign up here for the newsletter. 

But why would a council want to get involved? And how?

Increasingly in recent years, business improvement districts (BIDs) across the UK have been getting interested in Make Music Day as a catalyst to help them animate their city centres and increase footfall – popular with local businesses and hospitality outlets. Crawley BID first trialled Make Music Day in 2022 and, following their evaluation, are now making it a regular feature in their diary. Cambridge, Glasgow West End, Team London Bridge and Belfast Linen Quarter are just some of the BIDs now investing modest sums in Make Music Day and seeing a real return on their money.

Another strand, Great Music Places, saw Darlington first focus on this day in 2022, with smiles resulting from all. Watch the short video. 

So what can councils do to help?

It’s not necessarily about money (though a small sum for expenses often helps). But councils can support initiatives through facilitating temporary licensing; making open or public space available, without too much red tape; perhaps managing traffic flow, and promoting events via their website and social media.

As local co-ordinators, it’s in your hands to create a buzz in your place for Make Music Day 2024 – and give more people a great reason to come to your town, city or village and benefit your residents, musicians and businesses, as well as showcase your local talent!

To find out more, you can contact .

The following blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Association of Local Councils. Any links to external sources included in this blog post are provided for convenience and do not constitute endorsement or approval of those websites' content, products, services, or policies. Therefore, readers should use discretion and judgment when applying the information to their circumstances. Finally, this blog post may be updated or revised without notice. 


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