World music returns to Laguna Beach


When Sydney Haik takes the stage to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Main Beach on Saturday, she may not look like a veteran performer.

But, of course, appearances can deceive.

Sydney, who will turn 8 in October, is the youngest performer at this year’s Fête de la Musique, an event hosted every year by the Laguna Beach Sister Cities Assn. She’ll help open the festivities by singing the national anthem at 1 p.m.

Stage nerves probably won’t be a problem — the San Juan Capistrano resident has already appeared in “Annie,” “Seussical” and other youth-theater productions.

“I’ve been used to it,” Sydney said Wednesday in her home practice room, which features a keyboard, sheet music and a pink Hello Kitty microphone.

When asked about her daughter’s musical roots, Christine Haik replied, “Well, she started—,” only to have Sydney finish the sentence: “—when I was a baby and I was singing on the swings.”

There’s plenty of age variety in the lineup for the sixth-annual Fête de la Musique. Other performers on the docket include Richard and Mary, a folk-rock duo that has toured for 30 years, a vocal troupe from Laguna Beach High School and just about everything in between.

But the one-day festival is diverse in another way. The Fête de la Musique honors Laguna’s sister cities — Menton, France, and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico — with a program of world music, which means the styles Saturday will run the gamut from French ballads to country-rock to belly dancing.

After the 1 p.m. opening ceremony at Main Beach, performers will fill the streets of downtown from 1:30 to 4. Wrapping things up is a final ceremony at the beach, which Chairman Ken Aubuchon said sometimes ends in a massive sing-along — although he couldn’t give any guarantees for this year.

“It’s sort of a spontaneous thing that either happens or doesn’t happen,” he said.

The original Fête de la Musique took place in France in 1982, and more than 100 countries around the world now host a world music day June 21 to celebrate summer solstice. Aubuchon said Laguna moved its own event’s date because Saturday was more convenient.

Sydney, whose father owns an auto repair shop in Laguna, got the nod this year when members of the selection committee saw her perform. The majority of the 40 acts will return from last year — including the Grey Hill Gospel String Band, a bluegrass combo that has joined the lineup every year since the first festival in 2008.

Jeff Adams, the group’s standup bassist, said he and his five bandmates will play this year at the corner of Glenneyre Street and Forest Avenue. He cited the Fête’s international flavor — and camaraderie — as his favorite part of the event.

“We just like the people we meet and the variety of people,” Adams said. “They’re from all over the place — all over the world, really. A couple years ago, we met a lady from Zimbabwe, and she ended up staying around and singing a couple of songs with us.”


If You Go

What: 6th Annual Fête de la Musique

Where: Downtown Laguna Beach, with opening and closing ceremonies at Main Beach near North Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Cost: Free

Information: (949) 497-3748 or