San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica gets down to France's solstice music party

Musicians and music lovers in Costa Rica are set to take to the streets and parks for a day of free concerts tomorrow, the summer solstice, which for much of the world is the year’s longest day.

With any luck, Ticos too will enjoy unseasonably long hours of sunshine for their Fiesta de la Música, which lines up outdoor and indoor shows all day, for free.

The fiesta, known in French as La Fête de la Musique, started more than 20 years ago in the rues and public places of France’s capital at the behest of the government’s then music and dance director, Maurice Fleuret.

It has become a global phenomenon, with satellite fêtes in some 250 cities, each trying to emulate the free-spirited Parisian affair, according to the organizers.

Open-air San José venues such as Parque Central and Plaza de las Garantías Sociales will host concerts starting as early as 9 a.m. These include shows by local and foreign artists, in a vast array of genres, from hip-hop to classical, according to Philippe Gasparini, director of San José-based French cultural institute Alliance Française.

Other locales in the capital will include the Brazilian Studies Center, Central Bank Museums, SpanishCulturalCenter and Parque Francia.

“San José is increasingly becoming a cultural destination rather than a stop on the way,” San José Mayor Johnny Araya said. “We’re trying to recover our personal connections. Art and culture provide a huge help for that.”

Outlying districts Curridabat, east of San José, and Moravia, to the northeast, are also taking part. The Liceo Franco-Costarricense in Curridabat boasts a bold program from 3 to 10 p.m., including salsa outfit Son de Tikizia, Celtic-music group Peregrino Gris, Brazilian batucada music and a performance of French electronic dance craze, tektonik. Plaza del Sol, also in Curridabat, will hold a daylong party revved up by DJs and Latin percussionists.

In Moravia, Parque San Vicente and the MoraviaChurch will also hold concerts. And in Ribera de Belén, northwest of the capital, the FidelChávezSchool will join in the festivities.

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