Special Event
Bastille Day Celebration 2021
at SummerStage in Central Park

Co-presented with the Consulate General of France in New York and the Committee of French Speaking Societies (CAFUSA)

Featuring Live Jazz, a Dance Party and a New French Film!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021
New Time: 6:15pm
Doors open at 5pm
SummerStage in Central Park

In a first for New York City, the Consulate General of France in New York, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), and the Committee of French Speaking Societies (CAFUSA) will present a special Bastille Day Celebration in Central Park.

The free celebration of the French national holiday will start at 6:15pm ET on Wednesday, July 14 at SummerStage.

First up is a jazz quintet headlined by vocalist Kavita Shah (whose “amazing dexterity with musical languages” has been hailed by NPR). Then comes a get-up-and-dance set with film clips by star Joachim Garraud (who has collaborated with David Guetta, Mylène Farmer, and Kylie Minogue). The evening concludes with a screening of the 2020 French comedy My Donkey, My Lover & I (Antoinette dans les Cévennes) starring the delightful Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!).

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 and the birth of the modern French nation. FIAF has hosted New York’s largest public celebration of France’s national holiday since 1996, drawing approximately 40,000 people annually. Last year’s virtual edition marked the first change to FIAF’s three-block Bastille Day party on 60th Street in its 26-year history.

Schedule of Events

5pm — Doors Open

6:15pm — Opening Address
With Jérémie Robert, Consul General of France in New York;
Marie-Monique Steckel, President of FIAF
Gerard Epelbaum, President of CAFUSA

6:25pm — National Anthems of France and the United States
Singer Marie Viapiano with Les Cadets Lafayette Fanfare conducted by Jacques LeTalon

6:35pm — Jazz Quintet with Vocalist Kavita Shah

7:15pm — French House Dance Party with Joachim Garraud

8:10pm — French Film: My Donkey, My Lover & I (Antoinette dans les Cévennes)

See details below.

6:35pm — Jazz Quintet with Vocalist Kavita Shah

The Bastille Day celebration kicks off with a live jazz band performing a selection of beloved French classics. The quintet is headlined by French Grammy-nominated singer Kavita Shah, and features Matt Munisteri on guitar, Matt Penman on bass, Ferenc Nemeth on drums, and Olivier Manchon on violin.

FNAMM, which supports the development of French and francophone artists, assisted in bringing together this top-notch ensemble.

  • Learn More
    • Vocalist, composer, and Grammy nominee Kavita Shah makes music that combines jazz traditions with a global perspective. Possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages” (NPR), she has performed at major concert venues and musical festivals on six continents. Her notable projects blend jazz, new music, and folkloric traditions, and include the interdisciplinary Folk Songs of Naboréa (named by NPR as a Top 10 Jazz Concert of 2017); Interplay (2018, nominated for France’s Victoires de la Musique for Jazz Album of the Year); and Cape Verdean Blues (forthcoming), an album based on her ethnomusicology research on the Atlantic island of São Vicente.

      Jazz drummer and composer Ferenc Nemeth has collaborated with leading musicians around the world, including Lionel Loueke, Kenney Werner, Billy Childs, Herbie Hancock, and many more. His album Freedom—released by the label he established, Dreamer’s Collective Recordswon a prestigious 2020 Independent Music Award.

      DownBeat has called Matt Munisteri one of “New York’s finest vintage guitar stylists”; his frequent collaborations include projects with Catherine Russell, Mark O’Connor, and Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra. Through repertory that crosses genres and eras, he explores the traditions of jazz, bluegrass, and American popular song.

      Versatile violinist Olivier Manchon is as at home in the world of jazz as he is working with indie rock bands and Broadway orchestras. He has worked with such acts as Sufjan Stevens, Shawn Mendes, and Lenny Kravitz, and counts his wife Clare—with whom he formed the band Clare and the Reasons—as his principal collaborator.

      Matt Penman is a New Zealand–born, New York–based bassist and composer. A member of the famed SFJAZZ Collective from 2005 to 2018, he currently teaches, performs, and leads ensembles at leading venues, festivals, and institutions around the world.

7:15pm — French House Dance Party with Joachim Garraud

Joachim Garraud, an important member of the French Touch (or French House) music scene, who has collaborated with David Guetta, will mix classic French electronic and house music with movie excerpts on the big screen. Garraud’s portion of the evening will turn the festivities into a lively dance party!

  • Learn More
    • Joachim Garraud studied piano and percussion for seven years at the Conservatoire de Nantes before setting out on a career in electronic dance music. Today, he is one of the most influential producers and DJs on France’s influential techno-music scene, frequently collaborating with such fellow EDM luminaries as Bob Sinclar, Jean-Michel Jarre, and David Guetta. His irresistible tracks are staples at clubs and festivals all over the world, and include remixes of pop hits by Kylie Minogue, Mylène Farmer, David Bowie, The Eurythmics, and Beyoncé.

8:10pm — French Film: My Donkey, My Lover & I

Antoinette dans les Cévennes
Dir. Caroline Vignal, France, 2020
With Laure Calamy, Benjamin Lavernhe, Olivia Côte
In French with English subtitles

Directed by Caroline Vignal, this warm comedy features stunning landscapes, a gentle touch, a few slapstick flourishes, and a tour-de-force star turn from Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!). On an impulse, Paris schoolteacher Antoinette (Calamy) decides to follow her married lover Vladimir and his family on a hiking holiday. Yet she soon realizes this impromptu vacation is more than she bargained for, as she finds herself trekking across the Cévennes mountains with only a recalcitrant donkey named Patrick to keep her company.

This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Bastille Day 2021 Prize Drawing

Online drawing on Wednesday, July 21 at 6:30pm ET

Continuing a Bastille Day tradition, FIAF’s popular prize drawing returns, with all proceeds going to support FIAF’s arts and education programs.

The Grand Prize: Luxury Two-Night Stay for Two at the Sofitel New York

Plus, win a Thermomix® TM6™ appliance, a FIAF Premier Membership & French Class package, and more than a dozen other fabulous prizes!

Note: Prize drawing entries available online until 6pm ET on July 21. Winning numbers will be posted on the prize drawing webpage on July 21 and the winners will be contacted via email within a week of the drawing.

View List of Winners