Hamilton airport strikes a sour note with city musicians
An appeal for musicians to play free concerts at the John C. Munro International Airport terminal during “customer appreciation days” next month has left some city musicians feeling underappreciated.
Michael Keire, a Hamilton musician and owner of Threshold Recording Studio, received the invitation last week.
“I wanted to reach out because we are looking for some local talent to perform at an upcoming Passenger Appreciation event,” the emailed invitation read. “I was wondering if you might be willing to pass it along to any clients or colleagues you think could be interested in participating …” it continued.
It was only when Keire read the attachment, titled “Performance Opportunity,” that he realized the airport was looking for musicians to perform for free, on the grounds that they would benefit from “the exposure.”
Artists seeking to grab one of 15 slots spread over five days are required to bring their own equipment and instruments and play sets ranging from 45 to 90 minutes long.
His immediate reaction was swift and angry — he contacted the airport and received a simple apology, saying they only sought to showcase Hamilton’s homegrown talent.
Keire posted the exchange on social media and the reaction there was also swift and angry.
Another noted that the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas features a Music in the Air program with five stages showcasing the city of Austin’s considerable talent — and all performers are paid.
In an interview, Keire said the airport marketers were seeking to cash in on the city’s growing musical reputation.
“They’re kind of playing on the back of the branding the city has been working on — only they don’t want to pay for it.”
Keire dismisses the “talent showcase” benefit as “ridiculous. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)