THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Giving Something Back To The Crew – Roady for Roadies raises $20K
by Jenny Barrett.
Photo Credits: Steve Dyke
The recent death of Greg Boyed caused many to reflect on the issues of mental health and suicide in their own lives and the wider community, including two stalwarts of the entertainment technology sector. They didn’t just talk though, they walked.
Promoter, artist manager and musician, Brent Eccles and ex-roadie, tour manager, label manager and now at the helm of Joint Management, Morgan Donaghue joined forces to organise the ‘Roady for Roadies’ walk. Morgan recalls, “A conversation about mental health was the catalyst. We both know that touring can take a huge toll on a person and we wanted to raise awareness and money to support roadies and production crew.
“When you are part of a road crew you can be susceptible to a lot of things – depression, drugs, alcohol, and then there’s your normal health issues or financial problems.”
The idea of organising a 16km Coast-to-Coast walk across Auckland was a natural ‘next step’ to walking converts Morgan and Brent.
“Last year I’d taken six months off to get fit and lose weight. I wanted to go walking and listen to music again, just for pleasure.” He bumped into Brent who was a regular up Mount Eden and a morning walk became a ritual. “There’s enough Friday drinks after work, we wanted to do something that would get people out the office and walking and talking.”
They approached the New Zealand Music Foundation to administer the funds raised, a charity that provides professional counselling support for Kiwi music people through a tailored online, on the phone and in person well-being service. The charity also supplies emergency assistance to music people who are experiencing illness and hardship.
A 2016 industry survey by The NZ Music Foundation of crew and roadies found that 58% reported struggling with the intense pressures of live music work, and 40% also faced issues with bills and finances that impacted on their daily lives.
As would be expected of a promotor and a manager, it took a matter of days for a conversation to become a reality.
“We called a few people, went to the radio stations and tour companies and sponsors just came on board.” The Tuning Fork, the Auckland venue and eatery next to the Spark Arena, provided free post-walk food and drinks and Coca Cola provided water. Universal Music, Warner Music, Live Nation, and Spark Arena all pitched in.
Within a month of the initial conversation, the day of the walk dawned. Used to arranging events for thousands of people, this ‘boutique’ affair was meticulously organised. “It was possibly a little overproduced with PAs, tents, health and safety talks, the whole nine yards,” laughs Morgan.
Fully briefed, over 150 people set off on the 16km walk from Manukau to the Viaduct via One Tree Hill, Mt Eden and Auckland Domain. “It was a great day. Feedback was that it made for some great team bonding, gave people a chance to catch up and talk to friends.”
The walk culminated at the Tuning Fork, “where admittedly we did have some Friday beers but at least we had earned them!” Prizes donated by sponsors the likes of JB HiFi were awarded including Best Dressed, Best Team shared by Universal Music and Auckland Stadium and ‘Most Puffed at the Top of Mount Eden’ which went to Mark from Fat Freddy’s Drop.
With over 150 people signed up, plus contributions from people and companies unable to make the walk, almost thirteen thousand dollars had already been raised prior to the event much to Brent and Morgan’s amazement.
“Then on the day Live Nation topped it up to twenty thousand which was wonderful and just shows the amount of support and appreciation that there is for the roadies and crew.”
Wish you’d been there? The ball is now rolling with events in Christchurch and Australia planned, plus a repeat performance in Auckland in the offing.
From the December 2018 – January 2019 edition of CX Magazine. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues – available in print and online. Read all editions for free or search our archive www.cxnetwork.com.au
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Like to get involved? The next Roady4Roadies takes place nationally in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth on Sun 10th March and Adelaide on Sun 24th March. It is open to the public and industry alike, with all profits going to Support Act. More info here
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