Steven Haynes is one of the professional musicians approached by LOCOG to perform for free. His band Barbican Brass was contacted by a representative of the organizing committee several months ago and asked to play at the opening of an Olympic Park venue.
“We were told that it wouldn’t be a paid event, but that it would be a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our talent to the world,” he said, adding that such an approach undermines musicians’ profession.
“To be asked to perform for free is disrespectful of what we do for a living. It’s no different from LOCOG asking the people who built the Olympic Stadium to do it for free because it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their talents to the world,” he states.
—Cellist Peter Sachon chatted with us in May about the harsh realities of being professional musician these days, and he mentioned as proof the Olympic committee’s decision not to pay musicians. The musicians’ unions fought it and brokered a deal that professional musicians would get paid, but it’s been coming out the committee had been approaching folks and asking them to play for free anyway. During the opening ceremonies, it was a talking point that it was so great that everyone involved was a volunteer. For working musicians, it’s a generous word.