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PPL donates £75k to Stagehand Covid-19 fund

The Stagehand Covid-19 relief fund has been bolstered by a £75,000 donation from PPL, the UK’s music licensing company for performers and recording rights holders.

The fund was founded by the Production Services Association (PSA) in September 2020 to support touring crews and event production workers during the live industry’s ongoing unemployment crisis.

According to Stagehand, the fund has been able to provide some of the 20% of people (more than 1,500 workers) who have fallen through the gaps in governmental support with grants of up to £500 for food and housing bills.

PPL’s second donation to the fund will enable Stagehand to open the fifth round of applications for crew in need.

“PPL and live event production workers are at opposite ends of the music business,” says Mike Lowe, Stagehand Chair of Trustees.

“It is so heartening that PPL regard the entire business as one ecosystem”

“It is so heartening that PPL regard the entire business as one ecosystem and at a time when our sector is on its knees, offers help. PPL was the first major organisation to make a significant donation, helping to raise awareness of the plight, as well as kick-starting the campaign and inspiring other contributions.

“PPL’s most recent donation will continue to help live events crew through these extremely difficult times, and it is a very appreciated endorsement for the work that Stagehand is doing.

Peter Leathem, PPL CEO, says: “The pandemic has been an incredibly tough time for many, but it has also shown our industry at its best. Stagehand, as well as other hardship funds from the likes of the Music Managers Forum, Help Musicians, the Musicians’ Union, AIM and the BPI, has brought the music community together to help those facing financial difficulties. PPL is proud to continue to support these funds. We hope this latest contribution to Stagehand will help crew and production workers while the live industry plans its return.”

Stagehand has launched a number of fundraising initiatives including the ILoveLive prize draw, which raised more than £300k from the auction of unique live music memorabilia, and Prints for Music, which saw celebrated photographers donate iconic music photography to raise money.

Donate to the Stagehand Covid-19 relief fund here.

 


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Live Nation’s Crew Nation raises $18 million

Crew Nation, a global Covid-relief fund set up last year by Live Nation, has raised US$18 million for touring and venue crews impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The live entertainment behemoth launched the fund in April 2020, contributing an initial $5m directly (including $250,000 personally from CEO Michael Rapino and his family) and matching the next $5m donated by artists, fans and employees dollar for dollar.

Live Nation told Variety yesterday that it has far exceeded its initial goal by raising $18m in a global effort that has aided approximately 15,000 crew members in over 40 countries and across all 50 states.

The fund, which is powered by charitable organisation Music Forward Foundation, will now be allocating a second round of emergency grants to crew who need it the most.

Crew Nation has aided approximately 15,000 crew members in over 40 countries and across all 50 states

In order to qualify for a grant, applicants must have previously received a Crew Nation grant and will be required to show the need for emergency funding for covering costs such as housing or critical medical expenses.

Artists including Justin Timberlake, Anderson .Paak and Kesha made contributions towards the fund, while partners and brands including Live From The Drive-In, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball came up with creative ways to encourage donations, and countries including Spain (pictured) and Germany organised their own Crew Nation benefit concerts.

Most recently, Kings of Leon raised $500,000 for Crew Nation through the proceeds of one of their NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Anyone who wants to contribute can either donate money or buy limited-edition merch, and all proceeds will go directly to the fund.

 


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Unsung Heroes 2020: Charlie Hernandez

Unsung Heroes 2020, published in IQ 95 just before Christmas, is a tribute to some of the organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond to help others during a year unlike any other – be that through their efforts to protect the industry, or helping those who were in desperate need.

We turned to the readership and asked you to nominate worthy causes and personalities for consideration as the inaugural members of our Unsung Heroes awards. Now, IQ can reveal the dozen most-voted Unsung Heroes of 2020, continuing with Charlie Hernandez, founder of Just a Bunch of Roadies (JABOR), who follows UK association Music Venue Trust.


The concept for Just a Bunch of Roadies began following the 2004 Christmas tsunami in south-east Asia, when Charlie Hernandez was in Malaysia for client Petronas, working on a glitzy event to roll out a new Formula 1 car.

“We shifted our focus into a humanitarian effort for the people of Malaysia, and their government gave us support with the aircraft and freight that we needed to move into Malaysia,” he recalls.

Hernandez visited the disaster zone and describes the horrifying scene “as though a bulldozer of immense proportions had just devastated a city.” However, on returning to his hotel in Kuala Lumpur, a pre-show cocktail party was in full swing and along with fellow production worker Lori Tierney, they hatched an idea for roadies to handle such initiatives themselves, rather than involve pop stars, and Just a Bunch of Roadies (JABOR) was born.

Since then, the organisation has helped people in dire situations, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Pakistan; Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013; and Project CURE in the likes of Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Indeed, the network involved in JABOR consistently likes to think outside the box. “For example, there were some hospital beds that were used in the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London. Tait were making the beds as props but put in the extra work so that they could become proper hospital beds, while Rock-it Cargo then delivered them to a children’s hospital in Tunis,” says Hernandez.

JABOR can call on numerous production suppliers in its efforts, such as Sound Moves, Clair Global, eps, Live Nation and Upstage Trucking, and individuals like Jake Berry, David Bernstein and Opie Skjerseth.

“If you truly want to help out, go and fucking do it yourself – because individuals really can change the world”

Hernandez also notes that JABOR principals Lori Tierney, John Campion and Dan Parise all passed away during 2020. “They are a huge loss to us all,” he says.

He continues, “Many people and companies do extraordinary things and we’re very blessed to have their support. Our industry is the last bastion of the handshake, and we basically run on the compassion of the roadie, who would rather crawl across broken glass than see someone get hurt or in pain.”

With Covid-19 devastating the live events industry, this year JABOR turned its attention to its own. “Food is security for people in our industry, so we shifted our mission and tried to communicate the message that people are not alone in their suffering,” he says. “We set up food drive-throughs and partnered with the likes of Musically Fed with Maria Brunner to feed people in Nashville. And since then, we’ve had similar food drives in Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Phoenix.”

JABOR also liaises with local food banks to identify where they can help make a difference. “Basically, we’ve learned how to do it, but then applied what we all do for a living as production crew and used the knowledge of our industry to do it better and feed more people.”

Hernandez explains that using those principles, JABOR ran a Labor Day effort in Minneapolis where 300 cars were each loaded with enough food to feed a family of six for an entire month. Similar efforts around Thanksgiving distributed 400 meal kits, each to feed 6–8 people through that holiday period.

“We’re able to make a difference and give people hope, but there are so many people involved and they are the true unsung heroes – I would not be Charlie Hernandez without them,” he says. “We have a mantra that if you truly want to help out in a crisis, go and fucking do it yourself, because individuals really can change the world.”

 


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Stagehand launches prize draw for crew relief fund

Live production hardship fund Stagehand, along with Crowdfunder, has launched a prize draw to raise funds for production staff and stage crew impacted by the loss of work caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The #ILoveLive draw will give fans the chance to win unique memorabilia from artists and live music organisations such as signed guitars from Nile Rodgers, Liam Gallagher, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton and more; hand-written lyrics by Florence Welch, Robbie Williams and Years & Years; and a rare mask worn by FKA Twigs during her live show.

Fans can choose which artists they want to buy tickets for and can increase their chances of winning by purchasing multiple tickets, which are priced at £5 each. The draw is now live until 17 December and winners will be chosen on 23 December.

“We know that when live shows can take place again in financially viable ways, the industry will be extremely busy,” says Mike Lowe, the chair of Stagehand’s board of trustees.

“Artists, festivals and venues just want to get back to work and the public are hungry to see live entertainment again. No live show of any kind can happen without the skills and expertise of the army of live events workers. I am sure that the live events industry workers who we can help, will join me and my fellow trustees in expressing our massive appreciation for making all of this happen in the most difficult and unprecedented of times.”

“No live show of any kind can happen without the skills and expertise of the army of live events workers”

Stagehand, which is this year’s Nikos Fund – the ILMC charity of the year, aims to raise at least £1 million before Christmas.

The charity has already raised £280,000 in donations from PPL, the BPI, major record labels and artist management companies – most of which went to the 300 crew members in the most desperate need earlier this month.

Stagehand has also launched several fundraising initiatives including Prints For Music, which launched earlier this week.

Organised by photographer Ed Robinson, a slate of celebrated photographers including Rankin, Tony McGee and Jill Furmanovsky have donated iconic music shots to raise money for Stagehand’s Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund.

Over 100 iconic prints of globally treasured artists such as David Bowie, Grace Jones and The Rolling Stones, are now on sale for £95 each for a limited time of four weeks, with 100% of proceeds going to the fund.

Stagehand is one of the many funds for live technicians, most of which were set up during the pandemic. According to the charity, over 60% of the people working in the industry are freelancers without any support from a larger company and over 20% of all crew have discovered that they don’t qualify for any government support at all.

Join the prize raffle here or make a donation to Stagehand here.

 


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Iconic music photography donated to Stagehand fund

Celebrated photographers including Rankin, Tony McGee and Jill Furmanovsky have donated iconic music shots to raise money for Stagehand’s Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund.

Over 100 iconic prints of globally treasured artists such as David Bowie, Grace Jones and The Rolling Stones, are now on sale for £95 each for a limited time of four weeks, with 100% of proceeds going to the hardship fund.

Stagehand was launched over two decades ago by live production trade association PSA and claims to be the only UK charity specifically dedicated to providing hardship funding for crew who have fallen on tough times.

“The livelihoods of people working in live music productions has been decimated by the effects of Covid-19,” says Mike Lowe, chair of Stagehand’s board of trustees. “Every day we hear from people who are struggling and Stagehand is raising funds to help those in most need, with the simple aim of helping to keep roofs over heads and food on tables.”

“None of these photographs would have been possible without the artists and those who support them”

The launch of Prints For Music for Stagehand was organised by leading photographer Ed Robinson who says: “Like so many others, the struggles of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected me deeply on a personal level as well as professionally. I have reached out to the people I know in the music and photographic industries with the simple idea to try to help those who are not getting the support they need to survive this crisis.

“For many photographers who have been privileged enough to have been given access to photograph these artists, it has only been made possible by the efforts of their production teams. None of these photographs would have been possible without the artists and those who support them. This initiative is our way of giving back in their time of need. It will help preserve their livelihoods and enable the shows to go on in the future.”

 

 

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Prints For Music also features artists including Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Bob Marley, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Marina Diamandis, The Streets, Florence and the Machine, Liam Gallagher, Jonny Greenwood, Beth Ditto, Tina Turner, Brett Anderson, Alice Cooper, Sting, Stormzy and Kate Nash. The sale is open on Prints For Music until 21 December 2020.

The Stagehand fund opened for applications last month (15 October) and initially awarded grants of £500 to help with “keeping a roof over heads and food on the table”.

The charity is working on a number of fundraising initiatives for crew who have been financially impacted by Covid-19 including a virtual tip jar and an upcoming memorabilia raffle.

 


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