Make Music Day Atlanta Strikes a Chord of Community and Creativity
Thanks to visionary Make Music Day Atlanta co-founders Jennifer Ohme, Lauren Kelley Holst, and Ben Holst, in collaboration with five local districts, Atlanta proudly celebrated its first Make Music Day ever! Make Music Day is a global event that takes place annually on June 21st, offering free live music experiences for people in over 1000 cities worldwide. This day always falls on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and Atlanta made the most of it.
Origins and Expansion
Make Music Day traces its roots back over 40 years, to France in 1982. Creator Jack Lang and his team at the French Ministry of Culture crafted the idea of an inclusive music holiday that encouraged people to take to the streets and liberate their love for music. Unlike any other music festival, this free event encourages anyone and everyone to play music or host performances. Today, it has evolved into a cherished tradition spanning over 120 countries, weaving together a global tapestry of musical expression and unity.
A Harmonious Morning
This year, Make Music Day kicked off in Atlanta at San Francisco Coffee in Virginia Highland. From 9 to 11 am, coffee lovers and music enthusiasts gathered to enjoy the acoustic tunes of Mike Shaw from The Head. With a sound reminiscent of R.E.M., Mike’s songs resonated throughout the coffee shop mixed with families, professionals, and individuals. It set the perfect tone for the day.
The musical journey continued down North Highland Avenue at Farm Burger, where Johnna Jeong guided eager learners through the basics of ukulele. A young couple, initially planning on leaving after lunch, decided to stay and found themselves smiling throughout the entire lesson. Within a mere hour, a group of strangers who had never held a ukulele before found themselves strumming in harmony to “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift.
Make Music Day Atlanta kept up the pace with shows and music lessons for all ages in venues across the other four districts involved: Little Five Points, East Atlanta Village, Sweet Auburn, and West End. Each neighborhood came together to provide a continuous stage for free musical displays. The day culminated in a lively showing at Pal’s Lounge featuring Buttermilk Freeman.
The Last Note
Co-Founder Lauren Kelley Holst’s sentiments encapsulated the spirit of the day: “This is a labor of love, a passion project, and a lot of the reason we started it was for the love of music and community. It’s a beautiful connection of people across the world. Being able to bring that to Atlanta, a big music city, meant a lot.”
Kelley continued, explaining that “From the districts to the participants to the musicians to the small business owners, to see people show up and celebrate life on the Summer Solstice is really impactful, especially in today’s world.” Make Music Day Atlanta will echo in our hearts until next year’s celebration!