Notes from a music festival

logo_belfort Straddling the border between France and Germany, the fortress town of Belfort is unremarkable save for a large sculpture – by Frédéric Bartholdi, designer of the Statue of Liberty – of a lion carved into the cliff that forms a natural wall of the fortress.  The lion, its head reared up in pride, is more striking at night, when artificial lights accentuate the lines and contours and the figure seems to emerge, in triumph, out of the cliff.  But this star attraction is all but ignored by the fifty thousand or so people who visit the town each year in May, during the three days it hosts FIMU: Festival International de Musique Universitaire.

The music in the festival spans genres: classical, pop, rock, jazz, blues, folk, you-name-it; the musicians – mostly students – come from all over the world (this year there was even a group from Burkina Faso); the venues, spread across the town, are diverse in nature: concert halls, old churches, outdoor concert arenas and stages, even the interior of a fort tower; all concerts are free, and you get in on a first-come-first-served basis.



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