“For artists, taking the train, with large instruments, has become more stressful than performing on stage”

Tribune. A few years ago, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, in the name of the safety of travelers, baggage handling changed dramatically. Under the pressure, we began to dismantle the necks of the double basses. These instruments have miraculously passed the centuries, avoided bombs, they played music to try to alleviate the horror of wars, the weight of chains, or to celebrate the most beautiful moments of life, a birth, an evening. unforgettable, a (European!) union, dance, escape …

Disassembled and atrophied in this way, the instruments take up a little less space… and free up sales space for luggage or freight. Double bassists, cellists, lutenists, harpists struggle by plane, taxi, metro, and today access to trains is more and more often forbidden to them. For those who travel with large instruments, taking the train has become more stressful than performing on stage. Always in the name of the safety of the travelers, one even asks them to go down without discussion.

It is required by on-board regulations, the instrument is too bulky, it does not appear in the list of oversized baggage accepted on the train. Skis, snowboards, strollers yes!… Double basses, cellos, harps, outside!… Get off the train! It does not matter if you go to work, if you work for the French cultural exception, if you intervene in a school or an nursing home, if you participate in the dynamism of a rural territory or in a big festival supported by the public power, it is is no, stay at the quay, remain unemployed!

Can not use freight

The SNCF even succeeds in a commercial tour de force, by verbalizing its best clients, which it nevertheless thanks with Grand Voyageur cards giving theoretically access to many privileges … But in our case, it is only a question of being stigmatized, of having to give up a job, of feeling insignificant and unwanted, despite the hundreds of train tickets bought in first class.

Seen from the SNCF, we would have to ship our instruments by freight services, between wheat, cattle, cars, steel products, liquid bulk. Freight is purely and simply unsuited to the constraints of our business. With freight, it is impossible to chain concerts across the country on time. It is impossible to serve the territory as a whole, nor to guarantee the security of our instruments.

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