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Bebop Spoken There

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Work NOT Play

I note that musicians are being booked to perform at 'The Café' in Alnwick Gardens
Apparently, the A G Facebook page invites 'talented musicians' to play in their café for a few hours for 'no fee' but that they will be 'allowed to keep any tips or donations'. 
As an experienced band leader on the local jazz scene for more years than I care to remember, having worked 'on the road' in Holland, France, Germany and throughout the UK, played in bands with Sting, Jools Holland and Fred Rowe, my advice to musicians is 'don't do it!'. It's the thin end of the wedge and it's setting an extremely bad precedent for other musicians, especially those with babies to feed and mortgages to pay. 
We all work on the premise that one gig will lead to another (better paid) gig - but don't perform for nowt! The MU is very aware that their members are being asked by organisations and charities such as National Trust to play for 'nobbins' and the opportunity to sell CD's, etc. to the exclusion of a reasonable fee - check out the MU's campaign for 'Work NOT Play'
It's a jungle out there for the majority of working musicians! Let's not make it worse than it already is. 
Brian Bennett.


6 comments :

Lance said...

Agreed, no one should be asked to work for nothing. Having said that, I've looked on the AG F/b page and can't find the item in question. However, we do know it goes on whether at AG or elsewhere and as long as musicians are prepared to do it then organisers will take advantage.

Brian said...

Phew! That's a relief! The baby will be fed and the Building Society Manager will sleep at night - all's well on the Tyneside jazz scene!

AndyHud said...

FROM The Alnwick Gardens/Northumberlamnd estates of mouth
Alnwick Gardens Admission Charges
Adult
£13.75
Concession (students and aged 60+)
£11.90
Child (5-16 years)
£4.40

Isobel Jane Miller Percy is the Duchess of Northumberland and also a businesswoman who is best known for redeveloping Alnwick Garden. She is married to the 12th Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy.
The Percy family have owned Alnwick Castle and surrounding lands since 1309. In order to ensure the continued upkeep of this heritage, the business has undergone significant change in recent years.
Ralph Percy was ranked at number 248 in the Sunday Times Rich List 2011, with an estimated wealth of £315 million. He is the titular owner of Alnwick Castle, an ancestral ducal seat, as well as Warkworth Castle and Prudhoe Castle in Northumberland; Syon Park in London; Hulne Park and Hulne Priory at Alnwick; the Albury Estate in Surrey, and other listed buildings such as Brizlee Tower.[4] Northumberland Estates manages 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) of land, directly managing 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of forestry interests and 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of farmland, with 100 tenant farmers managing the remainder of the land.....

Draw your own conclusions

Anonymous said...

A well known Tyneside music and educational centre is another culprit. I've performed their quite often in recent years, both on the concourse and in the brasserie. Until now, this has been at a reasonable rate. However, when last month I was asked to perform on the concourse next January, a generic email advised me that "this wouldn’t be a paid performance, but the Concourse programme offers local artists, ensembles and community groups the chance to perform at (well known venue) and to profile themselves. You will also be provided with technical support (where required) as well as a listing on our website."
Upon enquiring about this change in policy, I was informed that this was a "result of having a reduced budget to manage and produce the Concourse programme; a consequence of the continue economic squeeze both internally and externally."
I find it strange and disappointing that a venue that purports to support the cultivation of local music and musicians cannot find the money to substantiate this claim.
I have declined their offer.

Paul Edis said...

Hi Brian/Lance. I have a gig at Alnwick soon. I can assure you I have a guaranteed fee for the gig well above the MU minimum rate. I agree entirely with the above! Cheers. Paul

CCJAZZMEN said...

Don't worry guys, you are not alone, this type of thing does crop up in Hong Kong also, these people just don't get it, that we also have to make a living, but they seem to think that all musicians just do it for fun, well I think you can guess what my answer was.
Colin Aitchison
China Coast Jazzmen
Hong Kong

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