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“Rather than managing an opera house, I wanted to create a ‘structure’ for a new event,” says French producer Rene Martin in a book published in Japan last month titled “How a Classical Music Festival Gathered 1 Million People.”

After being inspired by the excitement of 35,000 young fans at a U2 concert, Martin launched La Folle Journee (which translates as “day of madness”) in 1995 in his hometown of Nantes, in the northwest of France. It has been held there annually ever since and re-created worldwide. The event aims to remove barriers to classical music by offering a program of short concerts lasting from morning till night performed by first-rate classical musicians at unusually low prices.

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