by Kevin Erickson, Communications & Outreach Manager
Max Weber once described politics as “the slow boring of hard boards”; those with less patience for poetry might just call it slow, boring, and hard.
Nonetheless, I’ve found that the music community is actually uniquely equipped with the kind of long-game thinking that it takes to make substantive policy changes. That’s because there’s a basic structural similarity between the kind of slow and steady work it takes to hone your craft as a composer or performer over many years, keeping your eyes on what opportunities and challenges lie around the corner while working to address your present needs, and the slow and steady process of building movements for justice. Making an impact in either policy or music often requires the same kind of passion and perspective.
It’s been nearly three years since the law was passed by Congress, but the Federal Aviation Administrationhas finally taken action to implement new rules to require airlines to allow musicians to carry their instruments on board commercial flights.
The new rules, which go into effect on March 6, allow you to stow a guitar, violin, trumpet, or other instrument in the overhead compartment if there’s room at the time you board. Before this rule, individual airlines may have had different policies, and enforcement could be subject to the whims of whatever gate agent happened to be working. Many musicians were forced to check their instruments, sometimes resulting in damage or mishandling. Now touring artists can make travel plans with a higher degree of certainty and security.
In the lead up to this past weekend’s Newport Folk Festival, reports surfaced on social media of an all-too-familiar tale: a musician once again encountering problems while attempting to board a flight with a musical instrument. Last Wednesday, it was John McCauley, singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Rhode Island-based Deer Tick who was refused entry to his flight in Philadelphia by U.S. Airways. The reason? He wanted to take his guitar on board with him. read more
Traveling by air with instruments is an important part of how many musicians make a living. Security clampdowns since 2001 have made traveling by air or across international borders with instruments more difficult, complicated, and frustrating, but recent regulatory changes may mean more consistent and predictable policies. The following are some guidelines and suggestions to get you and your instrument where you need to go.
[Post authored by FMC Communications Intern Olivia Brown]
When musicians travel with instruments, they often have to gamble with the safety of their most prized possessions. While some airlines are more understanding and allow musicians to purchase extra seats so that they can carry their instruments onboard instead of stowing them with other luggage in the cargo hold, many artists are forced to check their gear — too frequently resulting in damage. And size and weight requirements can be unpredictable.read more