Yesterday there was a festival in Melville called Fête de la Musique. Fête de la Musique, a free festival that brings music to public spaces and gives exposure to both professional and amateur musicians, takes place in more than 100 countries. This was the first fête to hit Melville.

Local band The Brother Moves On marches down 7th Street during the Fête de la Musique.

But this post isn’t really about the fête. It’s about Melville. My affection for Melville is no secret — I’ve written about it before. But I spent a lot of time on the streets of Melville this weekend and even I’m surprised by how cool it’s becoming. New shops and restaurants are opening on 7th Street. The vibe is edgy and friendly and not at all threatening, even late at night.

Fête de la Musique is a good illustration of where Melville is going. Several Melville residents were upset about the fête when it was first announced, and circulated a petition trying to stop it. They were worried about noise and crime and public drunkenness. And apparently, from what I’ve been told, the petitioners might have had a point a few years ago. But yesterday I saw nothing but people having fun — shopping, eating, dancing, and listening to great music. Here are a few pictures.

A talented group of school children.

Customers spill onto the sidewalk outside Café Mexicho. 7th Street, as well as sections of the intersecting avenues, were pedestrianized for the festival. By the way, yesterday was one of the most beautiful days of the year. Sunny and warm with not a cloud in the sky.

Kader (left) and Mustapha (right), owners of the IT Corner, show off their newly renovated shop. The new IT Corner, re-opened just in time for the fête, doubled in size and has a whole new style, while keeping the same buzz it had before.

The best band I saw was The Fantastique Guys, who performed at the IT Corner. Their sound is an interesting mix of Africa and Latin America. It was hot and crowded in there but I’ve never seen an audience have so much fun.

Lead singer of The Fantastique Guys.

One of the empty retail spaces on 7th St. was converted into a gallery for local Melville artists on Saturday. The guy in the middle is Samuel, one of my favorite Melville “bead guys”. He painted the picture to his left.

There are new shops all over Melville, several of which opened just in time for the fête. My favorite new place is Cargo Kilts. The name and photo say it all.  I know these kilts are made for men but I kind of want one for myself.

[CORRECTION: I've been informed that the kilts are unisex, and women's mini kilts are also available. I've been invited to come in for a measurement...Sounds like a cargo kilt blog post is imminent.]

More gentlemen of Cargo Kilts. Just because.

Melville is rising. And it has kilts. I’m lucky to live here.

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