The fate of the music

Completely different from a music festival, the Fête de la Musique is above all a free popular fête, open to any participant (amateur or professional musicians) who wants to perform in it. This music day allows the expression of all styles of music in a cheerful atmosphere. It aims at a large audience, working to popularise musical practice for young and not so young people from all social backgrounds. It gives an opportunity to communicate and share a very special moment through music.

Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for Culture, the Fête de la Musique is held in more than hundred countries in Europe and over the world. It takes place every 21st June, the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere -
from the Fête de la Musique website. My header photo was taken at this year's Fête de la Musique celebrations in Saint Jean de Monts, France. In nearby Nantes graduating students from the Conservatories of Angers and Nantes gave free recitals in the city's Musée de Beaux-arts as part of the region's annual Le printemps des arts Baroque music festival.

Now in its fourteenth year, BBC Proms in the Park is still one of London's most popular events. Sir Terry Wogan presents a host of internationally acclaimed stars, including Katherine Jenkins and Garđar Thór Cortes, with a special appearance from pop legend Barry Manilow ... Tickets £25.00 (under-3s free) Family and Friends ticket offer: buy 7 tickets and get the 8th free -
from BBC Proms 2009 website.

Guests will have the opportunity of dining in the superb surroundings of the BBC Proms in the Park Restaurant with balcony, whilst viewing the concert.

Hospitality Package
* A privileged position in the glass-fronted BBC Proms in the Park Restaurant equipped with balcony
* Cocktail and canapé reception
* Three course dinner with accompanying fine wines
* Complimentary bar
* Admission to the main concert Arena
* Souvenir programme
* Event management in attendance to ensure the smooth running of your evening

Saturday 12th September £299.00
All prices quoted are per person and plus VAT -
from Ambro Events website.

The BBC today agreed to publish the salary bands and top line expense details of its 50 highest-paid executives for the 12 months to the end of March 2009 following freedom of information requests ... BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright earns between £190,000 and £220,000 ...

The BBC published on its website five years' worth of line-by-line expenses ... The data offers an extraordinarily detailed snapshot of the inner workings of the BBC ... By far the biggest claimer of overnight accommodation was Radio 3 controller Roger Wright – double that of BBC director general Mark Thompson -
from Guardian articles on June 25.

The Freedom of Information disclosure referred to above lists Roger Wright's position as Controller, R3, Audio & Music. But he has the combined roles of R3 controller and Proms director. Based on the BBC wording, and as the £190-£220k band is in line with other BBC radio network controllers, it would seem that this is the remuneration for the R3 controller position only. If this is correct Roger Wright's combined salary could be considerably higher than the stated figure - which already exceeds that of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I have filed a FOI request with the BBC to clarify this. I also cannot help but notice that another FOI disclosure lists Roger Wright's expenditure on "Hospitality - Own" in twelve months as £6,539 while expenditure on "Theatre and other cultural activities" in the same period was £85.

But, it's not that important, it really isn't. Here is a photo I took in the Fête de la Musique corporate hospitality area at Saint Jean de Monts during the cocktail and canapé reception.

So where is your pie?
UK households with TV receivers pay an annual BBC TV license fee of £142.50. This mandatory license fee generates an annual income for the BBC of £3.4 billion, of which Radio 3 receives £36.6m. The information on BBC salaries and expenses in this article uses data disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act. But, despite being publicly funded to provide a public service, the BBC is exempt from the FOI in areas relating to creative output. Here is the wording from the BBC website:

The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the BBC in the way it does to almost all public authorities in one significant respect. The Act recognises the different position of the BBC, as well as the other public service broadcasters covered by the Act (Channel 4, S4C and the Gaelic Media Service) by providing that it covers information "held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature". This means that the Act does not apply to material held for the purposes of creating the BBC's output (TV, radio, online etc), or material which supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.

Without the benefit of an expense account (or Cessna) we paid our own way to Saint Jean de Montes and stayed again at the ever-hospitable Hôtel de plein air international at La Yole. We used La Yole as a base for visiting other French music festivals including Le printemps des arts in Nantes. More posts to follow. Photos (c) On An Overgrown Path 2009. Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Pliable said…
Latest on BBC salaries -

At last there is an awareness of the self-serving attitudes of the current senior BBC management.

Let us hope that the BBC Trust now turns its attention to the other topic that has pre-occupied this blog for some time, namely the scandalous decline in the quality of BBC programmes - particularly those on Radio 3.
Pliable said…
The BBC have responded to my FOI request.

They clarify that the salary band for Roger Wright of £190-£220k is for both his position of R3 controller and of Proms director. The BBC say his job title was condensed to fit into the table in the disclosure.

But the BBC response ignores my first question, what is the salary band for the position of director BBC proms?

So I have asked again ...

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