Musicians break quarantine rules by chartering fishing boat to leave France


A group of Scottish musicians chartered a fishing boat between France and the UK to beat the new coronavirus quarantine rules – going home with just 10 minutes to spare.

Sunday August 16, 2020, 4:45 p.m.

The Dunedin Consort has chartered a fishing boat to return from France.

The Edinburgh-based Dunedin Consort had traveled to France for a concert in Normandy – their first performance together since the lockdown began in March.

The eight Baroque musicians arrived at Hayling Island in Hampshire on Saturday at 3.30am after a five-hour Channel crossing, just ten minutes before new government rules – according to which anyone returning from France would have to isolate themselves for two weeks – would have forced them into quarantine for two weeks.

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Jo Buckley, managing director of Dunedin Consort, said the group knew quarantine was a risk as they traveled to France on Wednesday – but said the organization would have lost thousands of pounds had it not been for not produced. The group are lined up to perform at the Edinburgh Festival online next week and were expected to be able to perform together rather than being isolated at home.

The concert, titled Nature’s Voice, took place on Friday evening at Lessay Abbey in Normandy. After the new quarantine rules were announced by the UK government on Thursday, the group began trying to find ways to get home – like many other travelers.

Eurotunnel trains sold out and air fares were up to six times higher than normal, although the ferries increased their capacity.

“It’s the impossibility of planning concerts in the midst of all the changing rules and regulations,” Ms. Buckley said. “We looked at the ferries, the Eurotunnel, the flights, even chartering a private jet – you name it, we tried it, but we couldn’t find a way to do the gig and get home. with us before the quarantine curfew.

“Because the work is so precious at the moment, I didn’t want the quarantine rules to get in the way of anyone who has work in the next couple of weeks because they are all freelancers.”

Finally, on Friday morning, they tracked down a company that was renting a boat for fishing trips to Hayling Island.When the concert ended at 10:30 p.m. local time, eight of the group’s 13 members boarded a coach for Cherbourg where they met. the Valkyrie Ship.

Ms Buckley added: “It was lovely. The boat was very comfortable. We all got a little sleep inside although we were all very excited when we got on board. It was a calm night so it was a very easy crossing.

The musicians were taken to London Euston by minibus and from there were able to make the final leg of the return marathon.

Formed in 1995 and named after Din Eidyn, the ancient Celtic name of Edinburgh Castle, the ensemble won two Gramophone Awards – for the 2007 recording of Handel’s Messiah and the 2014 recording of Mozart’s Requiem – and a Grammy nomination. In 2018, he was shortlisted for an ensemble award from the Royal Philharmonic Society.

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