Debate: Should charities pay musicians to play at their fundraising events?

The Musicians' Union says performers are being 'emotionally blackmailed' into providing their services for free

Musicians are feeling pressured into playing charity gigs
Musicians are feeling pressured into playing charity gigs

RACHEL GILBERT - networking and membership support officer, CVS Cheshire East

Rachel Gilbert

CVS Cheshire East tries to find local artists who would be happy to volunteer their time for an event, but we do not think they should be out of pocket for their hard work, just as we would not expect a volunteer to be.

For example, an up-and-coming young musician, Tom Seals, from Crewe, Cheshire, is now a regular performer at our events. We believe Tom would offer his services for free - but, even so, we pay him a minimal fee that covers his expenses and any work lost as a result of him giving up his time.

DAVID SULKIN - chief executive, Musicians Benevolent Fund

David SulkinMusicians are often thought of as rich superstars or people with an artistic vocation unrelated to the normal economic pressures of life. The fact is that most musicians struggle to make ends meet. So it is ironic that they are often expected to give their services free for charity fundraisers.

The Musicians Benevolent Fund recommends that all musicians should be offered the full fee for a charity event and then asked if they would, without any pressure, consider donating all or part of their fee to the good cause.

DAVID TYLER - chief executive, Community Matters

David TylerThe issue of paying professionals to perform at fundraising events is not limited to musicians, and I'm sure if musicians do not want to perform at an event without payment, they can say no - just like anyone else giving their services for free.

The fact is that many fundraising events simply would not be viable if the full cost of organising them were borne by charities, so I am sure they are not going to stop asking for people to perform for free. It would also be sad if musicians lost the exposure to a wider audience that events like these often afford.

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