What’s On previews the street music festival in Dubai at Souk Madinat, known as La Fete de la Musique, marking World Music Day, taking place on June 21.

– Best nightlife in Dubai
Turtle rehab project

To borrow the famous lyric from The Sound Of Music, the alleys of Souk Madinat will be alive with the sound of music on June 21.

More than 15 music groups will pack the souk to give live performances as part of La Fête de la Musique, a French street music festival. From young guitar players to keen amateur musicians and expert bands, the Fête will feature a diversity of instruments, traditions and sounds.

Held to mark World Music Day, Dubai’s Fête de la Musique is part of a global musical celebration that began in Paris in 1982 on summer solstice.

From 7pm to 10pm on Saturday, each band will play for 30 minutes at assigned spots in the souk’s alleyways. In the spirit of the festival, the artists will be a mixture of amateurs and professionals.

“Today it’s the only international cultural event dedicated to live music,” explains Ossama El Shammaa, marketing and communication manager of the Alliance Française Dubai. Visitors should expect pop, classical music, jazz and blues. But no singing nuns.

Amongst the performers is Parallel Sound System, a three-piece ‘electro dream pop band’ with Christianne Alvarez on vocals, Mckie Alvarez on synths and effects, and Cromwell Ojeda on synths and samplers. Parallel Sound System – who’ll be dropping ambient electronic beats at the weekend – recently represented Dubai in Bahrain’s Museland Music Festival. A self-confessed gear junky, Cromwell will also be performing solo under his Muhaisnah Four guise, claiming that it’s all about the ‘beats and the bass’.

Meanwhile, fresh from the Bombay Bassment gig at Music Room and various open mic events around the region, acoustic guitar/beatbox duo Mural bring their stripped down interpretation of house and drum ‘n’ bass to the event.

Other acts include rock band Point Of View and the Dubai Classical Orchestra, should that be your bag, as well as The Gypsy Swing Project.

Alexandre Valls is one of four musicians making up The Gypsy Swing Project, Focusing on a Parisian style of music that began in the 1940s.

In his first Fête de la Musique performance in Paris years ago when he was a teenager, the plug was pulled on Valls.

“We were so bad and were playing so poorly, that the restaurant cut the electricity after five minutes,” he recalls. “After that, we took classes. We practised a lot and it got better. Now they don’t cut the electricity anymore.”

Valls says the Fête is a unique chance for musicians to come together and forge new genres. “The concept of the Fête is really amazing. In France, amateurs and children go and plug in their amps, and play music in the streets. That means in big cities, there are bands every 100 metres. People just walk and enjoy all the music they can imagine.”

“In Dubai, because of very strict regulations, it’s hard for any musician to perform in public places.” Here’s where the Fête comes in, “reproducing the spirit” of what you would find in France.

June 21
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 7pm to 10pm, free. Tel: (04) 3358712. Taxi: Souk Madinat. afdubai.org/event/fete-de-la-musique