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ADEN MICHAEL MANALO captures the local love for music showcased during this year’s Fête de la Musique. (With words by KENDRICK GO.)

Last Saturday night, at Boogie, a normally laid back pub in Makati, a woman said that she needed to go to the establishment’s terrace of a smoking area ironically to breathe.

The place was packed. People stood shoulder to shoulder and in some instances, it took me about half a minute to traverse the two ends of its relatively small second floor. This isn’t normally how the place is. And it isn’t much better in nearby establishments. At the El Chante, for example, there was a line of people which stretched all the way to the roadside. At Guanzon Street’s Dulo MNL, meanwhile, I’ve heard people coming out of the place complaining about how crowded it was. And on the nearby streets, cars honked and jockeyed for progress while throngs of mostly young pedestrians walking around Poblacion slowed down vehicular traffic.

That Saturday, it seemed that Makati, even by the standards of a bustling business center, was far too crowded and it was understandable. It was, after all, one of the busiest nights of Fête de la Musique. The festival known for holding simultaneous free concerts in select evenings was in full swing. That evening, the festival operated a total of 52 pocket stages in Makati running alongside the mainstage in Greenbelt. And, on those stages, some of the best musical artists drew crowds from all over the Metro.

According to Giselle Tomimbang—president of B-side Productions which co-organized the festival with Alliance Francaise de Manille, this year’s Fete will be record breaking. Aside from the pocket stages in Manila, the festival also prepared 6 pocket stages in provincial areas. In previous years, they only had one or two.

“It is a testament to the diversity and the dynamic growth of talent and creativity among Filipinos as well as the spirit of collaboration,” she told me. “All of this cannot be possible without everyone involved giving their time and energy to this project.”

Launched in France during the 1980s, Fête, a celebration of music by making it free to the public, has expanded to more than 800 cities and 120 countries through numerous events around the world. In the Philippines, the festival has built a reputation as being one of the most awaited musical events of the year. For its 25th outing, Fête continued to expand on its legacy by increasing the number of its stages and getting more artists and genres of music involved. And last Saturday, it appeared that the crowd appreciated this expansion as they filled Makati to the brim with a love for music captured by the lens of our photographer Aden Michael Manalo.

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