UK airport asks musicians to play for free, and quickly regrets it

UK airport asks musicians to play for free, and quickly regrets it


norman lebrecht

September 24, 2017

Message from East Midlands Airport, handling five million passengers a year:

We are always looking for new ways to enhance our passenger experience whilst they are with us at the airport and, what better way than by showcasing some of our region’s best musical talent? Unfortunately we can’t offer performers a fee, but they will be well looked after by our staff while enjoying the opportunity to perform in front of a captive audience.

Might be a good venue for tuba practice.

UPDATE: 24 hours later, the airport withdrew the invitation and apologised.



  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Hilarious. I also loved the implication of a ‘captive audience’.

  • Maria says:

    Reminds me of the question that many professional musicians claim to have been asked at some time or other: “And what is your main job?”

    Or words to that effect.

  • David Osborne says:

    Sadly, this reflects an attitude that is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout society.

    • Maria says:

      Yes, and I think that there are multiple reasons for that. However, I think it would help if the MSM acknowledged classical music’s existence outside of the occasional token blockbuster documentary.

      A week or so ago, this site posted a short clip of the LSO’s oboist deftly switching instruments in the middle of a solo. It would have made an ideal, brief, lightweight item of the sort often inserted at the end of a TV news broadcast. No such luck. Far less interesting, apparently, than David Beckham’s latest hair style or the PM’s shoes. People will say that more people are interested in DB but, IMO, that’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      It is widely accepted that more can be done in schools etc but, IMO, little will be achieved so long as classical music (and perhaps other genres, like folk – when did I last see that on TV?) are so far off the radar of the general public as a whole.

  • Jim says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am a musician with a number of followers. If you would like to provide flights for me I will be only too happy to extol your virtues and mention your name at my concerts! I’m sure you’d love to have your name mentioned in Milan and Paris.
    Kind Regards,