I was supposed to start a 5-week North American tour with Art of Shock supporting Sepultura the day before yesterday. The Coronavirus pandemic postponed our tour, alongside so many other shows, tours, and festivals that have been canceled or postponed around the world. The music industry is currently in a devastating blackout and the situation is affecting thousands and thousands of people working in live music and touring.
Live music professionals are genuinely concerned about being able to pay their rent and bills, buy food, and line up their next gig when nobody knows how long this will last. Many cannot file for unemployment due to being freelancers. They are worried about their own and their colleagues’ mental health during this timewise undefined blackout. They need as much support as they can right now to get over this situation.
As the COVID-19 outbreak threatens live music everywhere, crew members, venue workers, and many other employees are struggling to pay their bills. […] For the significant number of people employed as independent contractors — tour managers, directors, and accountants, instrument technicians, lighting technicians, soundboard operators, and others — their jobs often simply do not exist without concerts. […]
Within the touring community, freelancers are arguably hit the hardest. “We don’t really have access to some of the support systems you might want at a time like this,” says Scheckel, the production manager. “We aren’t unionized, like a lot of musicians and local stagehands. There isn’t really a ‘roadie advocacy group’ that I’m aware of. Most of us don’t have great health insurance, and don’t have access to unemployment insurance or anything like that.”
To do my part to help my colleagues in live music and touring, starting from Monday, I will showcase some professionals in my blog to offer my support to them during this difficult time.
I encourage everyone to do the same – to help the people you know are impacted by this situation, be it your favorite musician or your friend who works as tour crew for a living. Continue buying your favorite artists’ albums and merch, get tickets to the rescheduled shows, donate to the tour manager or sound engineer who’s at home without any security or confirmation about the next show, hire the production assistant you know for remote work, talk to each other to make it easier.
Also, consider donating to the roadies who are out of income at the moment through the Roadie Rescue Campaign. The campaign seeks to collaborate with entertainment industry businesses and live entertainment fans worldwide to raise $250,000 in direct donations that will be donated to MusiCares® Foundation to help them provide relief to eligible freelance professionals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re in the situation yourself, check out the Show Makers Symposium website for resources for growth and mental resilience during these uncertain times. They will be posting a mental health resource booklet on Monday so check back on their website after the weekend.
Soundgirls.org is also providing a list of resources to survive Coronavirus including financial aid, best practices, free trainings, free mental health services, and more on their website.
What is your best survival tip for a fellow colleague working in live music? And what resources and other ways to help are out there? Please share your tips in the comments and help.
The lights on stage have been turned off for the time being but they will be switched on again and when they do, we’ll be ready to rock. We’ll get through this together so hang in there sisters and brothers!
❤ right now: Dynazty: Presence of Mind