• Petitioned Neil Wood

This petition was delivered to:

Chief Financial Officer
Neil Wood
Director of Ceremonies, Education and Live Sites, LOCOG
Bill Morris

LOCOG: Ensure the payment of arts practitioners performing for Olympic events

    1. Petition by

      Corey Mwamba

      Derby, United Kingdom

Arts practice is not just a joy to experience and a marker for culture in a civilisation; but also a profession.

There have been reports (most of which stem from the Corporate Watch report[1]) and evidence from musicians that show that LOCOG seems to understand the drawing power of music and the arts for its entertainment, but holds those who make up the profession in low esteem. In short, LOCOG is not paying professional musicians for performing, citing that the publicity is adequate compensation.

This is a fiction: currently on the London 2012 site, it is impossible to find a listing of all musical groups performing at all of the opening events: only headline acts are mentioned. LOCOG's "policy" of not paying musicians has had a lot of publicity - but who knows what the policy is for other art forms?

Putting aside whether you like sport or not, the Olympic events are costly[2]. Everything needs to paid and accounted for. The mystery is why arts practitioners like musicians are not included on the balance sheet, especially when the service they are being asked to provide - the entertainment of the spectators and showing the best of the host nation - is such a vital part of the Olympics (see the Olympic Charter recommendations for National Olympic Committees, point 3.2 [3]). To have omitted financial accounting for the arts would seem poor planning and a shame for the United Kingdom - a major exporter of its arts[4].

All other professions involved with staging events and providing services around the Games are being contracted and paid. The relationship with the arts in this case is and should be no different.

This petition sends a clear message to LOCOG to acknowledge the arts as a valued profession that should have been accounted for in its financial planning for the Games events; and that if LOCOG intends to use the arts they should pay for it.

[1]: http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4290
[2]: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/mar/09/olympic-games-budget-cost
[3]: http://www.asksam.com/ebooks/releases.asp?doc_handle=127445&file=Olympic-Charter.ask&query=arts&search=yes
[4]: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/sectors/creativemedia/performingarts.html

Recent signatures

    News

    1. The petition is still open

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      I've had a message from someone saying that this petition is a good thing - as I said before, this is just the tip of the iceberg. So I've extended it to 31 August, and will still be reporting on updates here.

      Thanks to all who have supported this!!

      C.

    2. Billboard article (Jul 27)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      The petition ends today - but I would the way the press from all quarters has highlighted the issue is really supportive. LOCOG is still not responding, but with the U-turn on UBR and various statements admitting their culpability or mistakes, we've really made a difference. Thank you all so much!

    3. Digital Music News (July 25)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      It's a slightly frightening picture of me[!!] but still: the press is taking this issue and spreading the word!

    4. "Play at the Olympics! Just don't expect to be paid much" (Jul 19)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      An article in the Guardian this time - some great writing by Helienne Lindvall.

      If your MP is still unaware of this issue, please write to them - we're really applying the pressure for change here!

      Thanks for all your support on the issue.

    5. 4000!!!!

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Got home to find my originally set limit had be reached and automatically upped - thanks so much for your support! We're all going to be working on the petition letter now, and using some of the comments from here as well as more facts to make a strong case to LOCOG and MPs.

      Please keep highlighting the issue to others - it's a long haul thing, but we are having an effect just by standing together.

      Best wishes and thanks again,

      C.

    6. Reached 4,000 signatures
    7. Daily Mail article (12 July)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Journalist Sonia Poulton from the The Daily Mail clearly links what's happening to artists [she only mentions musicians but this is happening across other art forms too] with the wider issues, and has a link to the Facebook group at the end.

    8. 385 to go!!!!

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      What fantastic morning to wake up to - LOCOG admitting that "mistakes" have been made, and the petition almost hitting its limit! Full of gratitude to all those who are supporting, signing and sharing - let's see if we can get this done!!

    9. Row continues over Olympic pay for musicians (10 July)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Journalist/author Jessica Duchen's very well-balanced article has been published by Classical Music Magazine. In it, a spokesperson for LOCOG admits the practice is happening and that it is a "mistake" - but we still wait to see what will be done.

    10. So close!!

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Just over 850 signatures to go... this is amazing work - thank you so much your support! We'll be using the support from this petition to lobby LOCOG and various MPs to resolve the issues. Maybe we can reach the limit by today??

    11. The Stage (4 Jul)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      This article shows how LOCOG had actually previously set an agreement with the MU but has since reneged on it.

    12. Telegraph: "yes, I know you're a musician..." (7 Jul)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      "LOCOG is not a struggling pub or a jazz club. It is a well-funded organisation which [...] has a mission to show the best of Britain to the world. Trying to exploit professional musicians [...] is no way to do it." Fantastically clear article by Ivan Hewlett.

    13. BBC News - "London 2012: Row over musicians' Olympics fees" (29th June)

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Starting to collate letters and reports now.

      This is a earlier BBC news report highlighting the issue.

    14. Reached 3,000 signatures
    15. Jessica Duchen

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Author and journalist Jessica Duchen writes regularly for The Independent and has interviewed most of the world’s finest musicians (see Archive). Her work appears frequently in BBC Music Magazine, The Strad and The Spectator Arts Blog; she has also contributed to The Guardian, The New Statesman and Gramophone.

      Jessica has seen what's happening and is looking for artists who can talk about the issue for article she's planning. It needs to be pretty soon, so if you can please get in touch with her through her web-site - link attached.

    16. Reached 2,500 signatures
    17. ISM: "Support Olympic musicians"

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s professional body for musicians and is publicly supporting the petition. This gives us the full weight of their membership and a much stronger chance to make a change.

    18. Day 8

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      We're nearing the halfway mark of 2000. Having been away for two days, this is really encouraging, and again I'm saying thank you to all of you who have shared this - it IS making a difference even though we haven't reached the deadline of 30th July! I'm collating news, personal stories and facts with the time I have available to me - if this issue directly affects you, please send a message through, it all helps!

      Thanks again and keep sharing!

      C.

    19. Reached 1,500 signatures
    20. Olympic Music Sync Fees "Beyond Insulting"

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      This is simply one story, from a fairly high profile artist (Four Tet). He said "no" but it's important that LOCOG learns it shouldn't be being unreasonable in the first place!

    21. Day 5: 1000 signatures! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Amazing! This is sending out a strong message. I've had a couple of first communications:

      1. I've been contacted by a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority's press office to say that I'm using the wrong e-mail address, i.e. theirs. Unfortunately, there is no other e-mail contact for members of LOCOG on its site - so I've asked the ODA to supply me with the correct one for Bill Morris. If anybody knows this, then please let me know so I can add it. In the meantime, I'll ask for a contact using the form on the LOCOG site.

      2. I've been asked verbally by some organisations who ARE paying artists properly to clarify that the issue of poor contracts, inappropriate fees and so on is and should be directed at LOCOG: it is their responsibility.
      I also think there should be unions and organisations that make it clearer where bad AND good practice is occurring.

      Again, thanks for your support - let's keep this going, we're all generating some positive responses for the arts here!

      C.

    22. Reached 1,000 signatures
    23. Day 4

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      I've upped the limit - especially since the number of signatories doubled in a day. Thank you so much for signing and sharing.

      I want to briefly touch on why just saying "no" to the gig isn't enough in this situation.

      We all can say "no" - and several have. But all that happens is that someone who will say "yes" will be found - the situation and unfairness remains, and the next time we'll have to say "no" again - no one learns anything.

      This petition is about **highlighting and explaining** the unfair situation that's being presented by LOCOG and changing it so that as artists we don't HAVE to say "no" repeatedly to public bodies asking for the arts to ameliorate their events for free.

      Bear in mind that this is the thin end of the wedge - there are other professionals also being exploited. This petition may encourage a look at other areas.

      It's much bigger than just people not being paid. "No" is not enough.

    24. Reached 750 signatures
    25. Just over 500!

      Corey Mwamba
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so much - we've reached over 500! With all the sharing of the petition, it's really spread. And it's very much down to everyone's efforts. Having never run a petition before, I'd appreciate ideas/suggestion as to what to do to spread it further - so please get in touch if you do!

      C.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Janet Shulman TOPANGA, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      If you want the best quality in anything, you hire professionals. Professionals get paid!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kelly Davis MARYPORT, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      Because I care about fairness and I love music. Musicians can't survive if they don't get paid. This hypocrisy on the part of LOCOG makes me very angry!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Paul Carr BRIERLEY HILL, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      I earn a significant part of my income from playing the organ and are all too often expected to do this for nothing or a low fee which often doesn't cover expenses.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jones Atsuko KAGOSHIMA, JAPAN
      • about 2 years ago

      It's the age-old exploitation,

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • michael hurwitz LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      I am a professional musician and am appalled at the lack of respect shown to us.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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