C’est pas Classique

When you think of classical music, do you think snobby, stuffy, and snooze inducing…? Then the C’est pas Classique music festival in Nice is for you!   This free annual festival pulls classical music down off its high horse and turns it on its ear… making it fun, fresh, accessible, surprising… and anything but classic.

Completely free, the 100 concerts over 5 days are mostly at the Acropolis, but as the increasing crowds have started to keep people away, the shows are getting more spread out and can now be experienced in various churches, galleries, and public squares.

An early Christmas present paid for by the Conseil General, this unique free festival is known for its quality, weaving in local talent with top international stars like opera diva Barbara Hendricks, and composer Michael Nyman.

Now for the strategy: 60,000 music lovers descend on the Acropolis over the 5 days, jockeying for position.  A trick to avoid the lines is to attend the concerts at the satellite venues: churches, the Opera, the Conservatory, open-air concerts at Place Garibaldi, Place Pierre Gautier (off Cours Saleya), and Place Massena.    And here’s the least stressful way to get into the most sought after concerts at the Acropolis:  go early, go with friends, bring a thermos of hot spiced wine and some snacks, and treat the hour+ that you will wait in line like a stand-up alfresco cocktail party.

And here’s what awaits you when you finally get in:  famous headliners , cutting edge symphonies, opera, soloists, workshops…   And then there are the fantastic bizarre hybrids, where classical music gets pulled down off its pedestal, like Big Nightmare Music, Les Pianotokes (ping-pong and dueling pianos), Chat-rivari (Clarinets to the French cartoons “Le Chat”), Diva Malbouffa, and choral tributes to Queen and Pink Floyd.

Click here for the schedule.

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