Northamptonshire country manor boss apologises for ‘musicians to work for free’ request after huge social media backlash

The boss says the post was never intended for professional musicians, rather to give amateur musicians a platform

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 5:07 pm
Lamport Hall has been the centre of social media backlash following a post asking musicians to work for free. (File picture).

A Northamptonshire country manor which became the subject of a social media backlash has apologised for any offence caused.

Lamport Hall posted on its Facebook page on March 26 asking for ‘competent musicians’ to perform background music at its Walled Garden Feast - a food festival due to be held in May this year.

In the post, the venue said musicians would be given a picnic hamper but there was no mention of monetary payment, which has caused a huge backlash on social media.

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People across the country shared the post and their anger that musicians, who have more or less been unable to work for the last year, were expected to play for free.

However, the boss of the venue says the post was never intended for professional musicians, rather amateur musicians needing a platform to start showcasing their music.

After the large amount of backlash, the post and Lamport Hall’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts were deleted as staff were receiving ‘abusive and personal comments’. The social media pages have now been reinstated today (April 7).

The post, seen by this newspaper, said: “Calling all musicians! Would you like to gain some experience performing for a crowd? Do you feel a little rusty after lockdown and would just like to get out there again with your instrument?

“We are looking for competent musicians to perform as background music at The Walled Garden Feast. All styles of music considered and a picnic hamper will be provided to all performers.”

In response to the post, concerned individuals took to social media to say the request was ‘disgusting’, ‘outrageous’ and ‘disgraceful’ and called for people to ‘boycott the event’.

The boss of the venue has now apologised for the post and explained what was intended.

Mark Herrod, director of Lamport Hall, said: “We take the arts very seriously and we are great advocates of the arts, technicians and production which makes it all possible.

“What we intended with the event and the post was to offer a platform to local people, amateur musicians.

“We wanted to give them a platform to showcase their music and we were not targeting professional musicians at all.

“There was a lack of clarity in the post and that is regrettable and I am sorry for any offence caused.

“The event is a different kind of event and is not based on performing arts, so there probably will not be any music at the event now, which is a great shame.”

In recent days, members of staff have been targeted on social media in the comments section of unrelated posts on Lamport Hall’s Facebook page.

According to Mr Herrod, some of the comments have been personal, abusive and against people who have nothing to do with the event in question.

Mr Herrod added: “When it gets to that point it is my job to protect my staff.

“I will not have strangers making personal comments that are not related to this manner.”

The director says he will not stand for abuse against his staff, which is why the Facebook and Twitter pages were deleted for a period of time.

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