A consortium of local musicians have questioned Derry City Council’s decision to prioritise entertainment provided at no cost to them at the upcoming LegenDerry Maritime Festival in June.
The group came together after a letter was issued from the Council calling for ‘expressions of interests to perform at our festival.’ It continued, “We will give preference to acts who wish to use this opportunity to showcase themselves at no cost to Council but we welcome all submissions to ensure a broad variety of entertainment.”
A wide range of local musicians and singer-songwriters have reacted angrily at the suggestion that their talent and time is not worth paying for.
Well known self-employed singer-songwriter Paddy Nash was one of the first to take to social media in protest. He said, “If the council are genuine about promoting this place as a ’Music City’ then they have to show respect to the people that go out night after night actually making the music. WE are Music City, WE the songwriters, the players, the promoters and the audience. All we want is a fair wage.”
Another local musician, Paul Casey, said, “How can council claim to be running a ‘Music Festival’ and not pay the people who will actually provide the ‘Music’! Is it a lack of experience and knowledge on DCC’s behalf? Should council employ someone who actually knows the music business, knows the value of bands.”
Additionally a petition set up by local music tech educator Paddy Nixon had in excess of 1000 supporting signatures in just under 24 hours.
Paddy said, “Support has flooded in and comments left are making it clear that musicians have felt dismissed and devalued for a long time.”
One comment claiming to be Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters supported the group, “I hate seeing no chance given to upcoming artists, in a world where musicians are forced to work for free. It is unfair, and unjust. I wish all of you the best luck with this petition, stay strong and fight your case.”
A spokesperson from Derry City Council said, “Music City 2014 offers many future opportunities for musicians to get involved. In addition Derry City Council will reassess the budget that it has allocated to programme performances for this section of the festival and organisers would welcome the opportunity to meet with local representatives, those who have felt aggrieved by the expression of interest. In this way any adjustments to how the talent is to be organised after the discussion could be agreed mutually.”