Musicians and music lovers of all ages, abilities and genres are set to take part in hundreds of inclusive events across the UK to celebrate Make Music Day (MMD) – the world’s largest, grassroots DIY music festival taking place in 125 countries annually on 21 June.
This year’s programme includes a hybrid of in-person and online events, alongside a live broadcast on the MMD UK website showcasing a variety of creative projects, events and global collaborations.
With events taking place nationwide, MMD is the UK’s largest free single-day music festival, encouraging musicians, producers, promoters and music fans to collaborate and organise events in their communities. Musicians are also invited to take part in one of many national and international projects, organised by MMD UK and its partners at home and abroad.
You can add or view event listings on the MMD website, where you’ll find hundreds of free events and opportunities to take part in celebrations across the UK.
Alongside the support of partner organisations and their combined networks, MMD UK is proud to include as its ambassadors Nicola Benedetti CBE, Frank Turner, Elin Manahan Thomas, Apollo5, The King’s Singers, Iona Fyfe, Sam Sweeney, Emma McGann, Charlotte Hoather and Zoe Alexander of The Nick Alexander Memorial Trust.
Barbara Eifler, Chair of Make Music Day UK, said:
“Make Music Day is that one day in the year when we can all celebrate music and recognise the incredible variety of musicians, old, young, professional, leisure-time, fantastic champion players, complete beginners – and all the different kinds of music that they love and perform. Music is a language that connects us all, across communities, across nations, across the world. I cannot wait to see what creative events will take place this year and to see the joy in people’s faces as they listen or play or sing. It’s been a hard year, everywhere on the globe, let’s come together on 21 June through music and start healing.”
Following a period of unprecedented challenges, many of the national and international projects planned for 2021 aim to support those most affected by the pandemic. Others encourage global collaboration between cultures and communities worldwide, celebrating the joy of music in all its forms and its power to unite and bring people together.
Window Serenades will be taking place outside care homes across the UK, bringing live music to those isolated. Events planned include Ilkley Silver Serenade, involving seven small ensembles with over 30 musicians entertaining residents of 12 care homes and specialist housing for the elderly.
A host of free resources and virtual events will be taking place as part of MMD Schools, including a live streamed Big Sing from 11:00-11:40am, in partnership with Durham Music and Charanga, plus hundreds of schools across Durham and Darlington taking part in their Big Play. In addition, many schools and education providers will be putting on their own MMD celebrations. This includes Norfolk Music Hub, who have teamed up with Louder than Life, NYMAZ and Norwich Cathedral to curate a performance of a new piece called Bucket Beats that will be live streamed across the county.
Many MMD events and performances will feature this year’s official MMD anthem, Stand By Me, kindly supported by Sony Music Publishing and Hal Leonard Europe. A host of free resources and arrangements of the song are available online courtesy of Sheet Music Direct. MMD UK organisers are also running a competition for the best cover version of Stand by Me shared on social media using the hashtag #MMDStandByMe on 21 June. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges and will win £150 of vouchers to spend at Music Room.
The official MMD UK live broadcast will feature a special virtual performance of John Cage’s 4’33’’, in partnership with the John Cage Trust and Beyond Skin, featuring musicians in 23 countries. Cage’s famous piece doesn’t involve musicians playing at all, but it is the environmental sounds and atmosphere around them that is the participatory composition. The performance will be particularly poignant this year, and it will provide 4 minutes 33 seconds to pause, reflect and remember.
Also as part of the MMD UK broadcast, MixMash Studios is a truly global project involving producers from the UK, USA, Australia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, along with contributions from Found Sound Nation, Ned Rush, Harry Wrigley, Jamie Lidell, plus many more. Up until 20 June, musicians and non-musicians are invited to add sound samples to the global collection – bass lines, barking dogs, vocals, machine noises, or anything else they find intriguing – which will then be made into original tracks by the international team of producers and premiered during the MMD UK broadcast.
Musicians from England, Scotland, Isle of Man, USA, Germany, Estonia, Nepal, China and Nigeria have already begun collaborating as part of the Global Folk Challenge, where participants have been invited to exchange, learn and perform a different folk song submitted by another participating musician. The songs will then be performed and shared on Make Music Day.
Libraries across the UK will be hosting a premiere of a new documentary from Get it Loud in Libraries, celebrating the charity’s work over the past 16 years bringing the best emerging and established rock‘n’roll artists to play gigs in UK libraries – as well as charting some of unforgettable misadventures!
The North East and North Cumbria Healthcare Staff Wellbeing Hub has announced a celebratory day of music to help our heroic NHS key workers process the trauma of working on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic. The free online event will involve a collaboration between NHS singer-songwriters and world-renowned composers and musicians, co-producing new songs representing staff across different health sectors and their experiences over the last 18 months. The event will be supported by musicians such as Sting, Eric Clapton, KT Tunstall, Nadine Benjamin and Matthew Sheeran, brought together by the Connection Through Music Volunteers.
Elsewhere, Dawsons Music & Sound will be hosting a series of free events in its stores across the country, including instrument tutorials and how-to workshops on everything from guitars to synthesizers. On the Isle of Wight, Music Craft CIC has organised a day of workshops for a range of ages, abilities and musical styles. MMD concerts will be taking place at the Highgate festival, Egham Festival of Music and Waltham Forest Cello Fest. Tees Valley Music Service and Musinc have planned a flashmob in Middlesbrough town centre, which will also be live streamed on social media, and World Heart Beat Music Academy have teamed up with Colombian music group Mr Klaje bringing together young people in challenging circumstances. Make Music Abingdon will be hosting a range of performances from local musicians and bands as well as informal workshops from 3:00-10:00pm around the town’s Loose Canon Brewery. Meanwhile in London, Team London Bridge and MSCTY have put together an evening celebration of London sounds hosted by DJ Max Reinhardt from Soho Radio as part of Summer by the River at The Scoop.
More details about all of these events and more can be found in the MMD UK website events listings.
Following the success of last year’s first Make Music Day UK live broadcast, another eclectic programme of events, performances and global collaborations will be shown on the MMD UK website on 21 June. The 2021 broadcast will be split into three parts: a Morning Broadcast starting at 11:00am, a Twilight Broadcast starting at 4:00pm, and an Evening Broadcast starting at 7.30pm. All broadcasts will remain online after the event to watch back later.
Highlights of the broadcast include:
- MixMash Studios – Expert producers from around the world will make original tracks out of crowdsourced samples sent in from music makers around the world.
- John Cage 4’33’’ – The premiere of a special collaborative performance with musicians from 23 countries of John Cage’s 4’33”, in partnership Beyond Skin and the John Cage Trust.
- Sign at the Gate – Scottish primary schools come together to sign the MMD anthem, Stand By Me, connected via a live stream for a simultaneous performance, presented by The Frisson Foundation.
- British Black Music Selection – Kwaku from British Black Music presents a range of domestic black music to mark MMD and British Black Music Month.
- International Drum Battle – More than 30 drum and percussion bands from countries including the Netherlands, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Slovenia, Lithuania, Mexico, USA and UK join forces to ‘Drum Around the World’ in 15 minutes.
- MSCTY – DJ and broadcaster Nick Luscombe in conversation with musicians Elsa Hewitt and Kirk Barley about their unique sonic responses to locations close to London Bridge.
- Syncopate: Edinburgh Schools’ Digital Concert – Reel Youth Media and City of Edinburgh Council’s Arts and Creative Learning team present a programme of performances and music making from across the city’s 23 high schools and 88 primary schools, including highlights from Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative project.
- Cap O’Rushes Inclusive Ensembles – Arts & Health South West present a film of a newly commissioned piece by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, written for three inclusive ensembles and a dancer to respond to, featuring BSO Resound, HeadSpace Ensemble, Ensemble Juvenil de Setúbal and UNIT.
Plus, more performances and collaborations from Live Music Now, Making Music, Hands Up for Trad, Jazz in South Wales, Newham Music, Fragile Lucy, Olaide Steele, SK Shlomo and Durham Music.
A range of free, comprehensive support is also available to MMD participants and musicians and event organisers, of toolkits, Covid-19 rehearsing and performing guidelines, meetups and online workshops on topics from live streaming to publicity, and much more.