The Musicians’ Union and the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic are organizing a Musicians’ Silent Solidarity March for Sunday, August 26 at noon. The second line starts at Armstrong Park and parades to Jackson Square, but musicians are asked to carry their instrument, not play them to protest the second class treatment of musicians. Listen up! An email outlining musicians’ talking points listed the following five:
1. ALL New Orleans musicians should participate by carrying their instruments but not playing in order to demonstrate the stark void IF New Orleans’ musicians quit playing and/or leave the city for more lucrative career opportunities.
2. This march is a rallying cry to musicians to join together in solidarity to demand the respect afforded to other professionals since local musicians are considered “American Music’s greatest natural resource” and the back bone of the local tourist industry. Musicians have paved the way for New Orleans to enjoy a profitable tourist market and they must, therefore, be compensated for that reward by which New Orleans has profited for decades. We urge the city of New Orleans to respond to their professed love of our music by putting their money where their mouths are and paying us as professionals in order that we may continue to live and play in the city we love.
3. This musicians’ march is a reminder to New Orleanians of the rich heritage that all enjoy and many profit by. Therefore, musicians are an entity that the city should not only exploit, but actively support, by paying to listen to their gigs and buying their CDs. Tip jars = salaries. Pay musicians well.
4. This demonstration of solidarity is a reminder to musicians that they should not sell themselves and their fellow musicians short by taking low-paying gigs. They are the cornerstone of New Orleans and are worth a high price.
5. This march is a call to corporations, restaurants and ALL private citizens to take ownership of the rich musical heritage with which we have all been spoiled. To keep the music alive, they must respond to a moral call to support, preserve and enhance the viability of the musical professionals in New Orleans.