Harris blames LOCOG, the organising committee behind the Olympics, for under-paying musicians and, in some cases, asking them to pay for the privilege of performing for free.
“Quite apart from the many artistes who have been asked to perform for free, there is a letter of engagement which has been put into wide circulation showing that the Olympics are offering £50 per act per hour for performances at the Dorney Lake (rowing) venue,” Harris wrote on the MusicTank blog today. “I had better write that out in full in case you think there is a typing error. That is, fifty pounds per act per hour. So a five-piece band would get £10 each for a one-hour performance.”
He added: “That is without allowing for the time that it takes to travel to the venue set up and pack away equipment. If you allow two hours for travel and set-up, and packing away, which is probably the bare minimum that will be required, given all the security issues with instruments and the difficulties of transport during the Olympics, that means that the musicians would get just over £3 an hour. This is well below the minimum wage – even the notorious G4S are paying their temporary security guards £8.50 an hour – remembering of course that out of that paltry wage, performers will meet their own associated costs – travel, insurance, tax, and presumably Olympic venue prices for food and drink.”
Harris joins the likes of PPL chairman Fran Nevrkla and the Musicians’ Union, who have both called for musicians to boycott the Games by refusing to play for free.