Although many in Houston associate the month of March with the Rodeo, spring break, and Saint Patrick’s Day, Houston’s rich diversity is a venue for many other celebrations as well, for each language and culture has its calendar of holidays and festivals. For French speakers March is the month of International Francophone celebrations. Officially, the 58 Members of the International Francophone Organization celebrate Francophone Day on March 20, 2013. Many member nations, provinces states, and towns extend the celebration for the entire month. Condensed down to 17 days, the official 2013 French Cultures Festival runs from March 8th-25th and launched with a concert at Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston on March 8th. The free concert featured opened with the local French guitar duo Kirby-sur-Seine followed by the popular band Les Tontons.
Every March since 2008 the French Consulate in Houston has coordinated a Francophonie festival–a celebration of all things French. The French Cultures Festival (FCF) brings people together across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The festival is called “French cultures” rather than “French culture” to emphasize the fact that French-speaking nations around the world have many distinct cultures united by the use of one language.
The FCF collaborates with many institutional and cultural partners, including diplomatic representations from Switzerland, Canada and Belgium, as well as museums, universities, international schools and local businesses and associations. Featuring events such as lectures, films, shows, concerts, encounters with artists, scientific conferences, talks, wine-tastings, and parties, the 2012 FCF successfully introduced over 60 different cultural events in the main cities of the three states.