Mental health in the music industry has been on the agenda a lot of late, with artists from Tired Lion to 360 speaking out about their personal struggles, and more and more studies showing clear links to tolls on physical and mental health.
It’s an issue that definitely needs to be higher on the priority list, however, and one that extends well beyond the musos in the spotlight. As reported by the ABC, roadies are suffering worst of all from struggles with mental health, due to the long hours and isolation on the road, the lack of job security, and the constant upheaval.
A new proposal is on the cards that would go some way to alleviating some of these negative effects, with the idea being that five cents from every concert ticket sold would go towards providing ongoing support for the road crew who need it most.
“We want to try to develop an income stream in perpetuity that can go into a fund to help crew,” says Ian Peel, spokesperson for the Australian Road Crew Association who are spearheading the initiative. “Jump on board. Five cents a ticket — it’s nothing in the scheme of things.”
In Ian’s experience, one in five roadies die by suicide, and he believes that more needs to be done to support the oft-forgotten faces of the industry.
“We’ve had 128 passings and out of those we’ve had 27 suicides,” he says. “There’s a lot of people who have done really well out of the music industry and a lot of the crew that work for them haven’t.”
According to the ABC, promoter Michael Chugg has already made donations of an equivalent amount to the cause, as have Australian rockers Air Supply.
“This is a worthy cause and almost shames them into being part of this journey,” said tour manager Howard Freeman. “People ask Michael Gudinski how’s your journey but they won’t ask the guy who puts the gear into the first Split Enz gig how was your journey.”
Promoters and bands are now being urged to get on board, and cough up the coin to give roadies a helping hand.