World renowned band Red Hot Chilli Pipers have been left shocked and angered after a prized USA Fender Telecaster belonging to guitarist Nick Hawryliw arrived in Milan smashed up, because it had been driven over at Edinburgh airport.
Band members were left reeling as Nick’s smashed guitar case containing his £2000 instrument appeared on the baggage belt just six hours before a headline performance at a Celtic music festival.
Their anger then reached a crescendo upon learning that the £600 worth of damage had been caused by an Edinburgh baggage handler driving over it whilst on the runway.
The band had flown out of the Capital on board an Easyjet flight early on Friday ahead of a headline performance at the Celtica Music Festival in Aosta.
But instead of making their way to their soundcheck, they had to fret about replacing the treasured guitar.
Since winning top prize on talent show When Will I Be Famous? six years ago, the Chilli Pipers – including Haddington-based band leader Kevin Macdonald – have become worldwide stars performing at far-flung shores from Melbourne to Milwaukee.
Kevin said: “It really is incredible. We fully understand that accidents can happen but to load it on the plane without even informing us of the accident is incredibly cheeky.
“Instead of concentrating on heading to the gig we were left arguing with Italian airport officials for over an hour about what had happened.
“After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and people passing the buck, Easyjet eventually held their hands up and admitted it had fallen off a baggage cart in Edinburgh and been run over.”
The band ended up having to fork out 530 Euros for a replacement guitar to ensure the Italian show went ahead.
Kevin added: “Thankfully it wasn’t one of our bagpipes as I doubt we’d have sourced one of them in Italy at short notice.
“We’ve travelled all over the world and the lack of care and attention which baggage handlers show for musical instruments is incredible – we’re constantly paying for repairs.”
Easyjet has now offered to fully compensate the band for the damage and an investigation has been launched into exactly what happened with baggage handlers Menzies.
A spokeswoman for the airline said: “EasyJet has apologised to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers for the damage caused to the guitar by our ground handlers and is in the process of fully compensating the band for this.
“We have launched a full investigation to establish how the damage occurred and why the customer was not immediately informed. EasyJet has been in close contact with the band since the incident to resolve the issue and ensure lessons are learned.”
A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “We’re very disappointed that this incident occurred and are currently working with Easyjet and their handling agent Menzies to investigate it further. We apologise unreservedly and hope it does not impact on the Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ tour.”