Alcoholism Plagues UK Orchestras
Musicians drink to deal with performance anxiety
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2009 4:56 PM CST
Performance anxiety is adduced as one of the main reasons musicians use alcohol. Group culture is part of another.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Alcoholism is sounding a sour note in the great orchestras of Britain, the Guardian reports. Though little research has been conducted on the issue—which remains taboo in many corners—there have been some “regrettable incidents,” recalled one official with the Musicians’ Union. One drunk percussionist fell off a high stage, and many others have performed intoxicated during concerts.

“They should have been sacked really but they would have been very hard to replace,” the union official explained, adding that "for musicians there can be so much captive time—a lot of time and not many distractions. Frequently the only place to go is the pub.” One doctor said musicians often turn to alcohol to deal with “underlying anxiety.”