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TM Suzi Green launches free workshops ahead of touring return

Tour manager and health and wellbeing specialist Suzi Green has commissioned a series of resilience workshops for the international live music industry as the touring sector begins its transition back into the demands of event production.

The three free sessions, Mindfulness for Touring with Craig Ali, Healthy Boundaries with Laura Ferguson and Sleep & Jet Lag with Matt Kansy, take place on Monday 21 June, Wednesday 14 July and Wednesday 4 August, respectively. The workshops will explore a range of topics, from coping strategies for dealing with ‘heated’ moments in high-pressure situations to how to wind down naturally at the end of an intense day, rate negotiation, managing workload and effective communication, maximising the quality of your sleep and techniques to combat jet lag and shift work.

The workshops were made possible through the Culture Recovery Fund and are designed for freelance touring community, though they are open to all music professionals.

The sessions are presented by The Back Lounge, an online support group for out-of-work touring professionals Green, the founder of Healthy Touring, created during the height of the pandemic.

“We will all need to take our health seriously to survive long periods during busy touring schedules in the future”

A seasoned tour manager, having worked with clients including Placebo, PJ Harvey, Katie Melua and Wolf Alice, Green experienced her own debilitating episode of burn-out and left touring for a decade. “I thought my touring days were over. The industry simply didn’t work for me,” she recalls.

Since retraining in various modalities, she later returned to touring with new skills in wellbeing to the benefit of artists and crew.

“People now have the opportunity to learn how to develop better coping strategies,” says Green. “We will all need to take our health seriously to survive long periods during busy touring schedules in the future.”

To book a place on the free workshops, visit the following links: Mindfulness for Touring, Healthy Boundaries, Sleep & Jet Lag.

 


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Industry pros release guide to ‘healthy career in music’

Industry journalist Rhian Jones and performance coach/consultant Lucy Heyman have unveiled Sound Advice, a two-years-in-the-making manual to building a healthy and happy career in the music business.

Sound Advice: The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy and Successful Career in Music, available to preorder now from Shoreditch Press, is an up-to-date guide on the structure of the modern music industry, with advice on improving performance skills, money management, cultivating creativity, social media and dealing with criticism,  fame and fans.

The book also explores the mental and physical health problems many musicians, and those who work with them, may face in their careers – such as substance use and addiction, eating disorders and body image, musculoskeletal issues and touring, and vocal and hearing health – and includes interviews with leading researchers, health experts, music execs and artists, including Will Young, Imogen Heap, Lady Leshurr, Laura Mvula, Nina Nesbitt, Ella Eyre and Lauren Aquilina.

Through research-informed advice and information, Sound Advice aims to help music professionals “prioritise their mental and physical health while cultivating successful, sustainable and fulfilling careers”, say the authors.

“I had the idea for this book after closely following the ongoing music and health conversation,” explains Jones, a contributor to MBWHits, Billboard and IQ. “It made total sense to me for a business that is predicated on developing and nurturing the talent of creatives to prioritise the health and wellbeing of those creatives.

“If an artist gets physically or mentally sick and can’t work, the people and businesses around them lose money, so it surprised me to find out that there didn’t seem to be many (if any) sanctions in place that were there for the sole purpose of fostering an artist’s good health. And it’s been heartbreaking to witness the many premature deaths of much-loved music talents over recent years.

“As the health and music conversation has gained further traction, lots of interesting ideas have been discussed and various initiatives have launched. Still, there’s little in the way of prevention. This is where we hope Sound Advice will play a part.

“There are no health-focused career guides for those working in popular music, so we aim to plug that gap”

“Education is a vital element in preventing health issues before they escalate, and we’ve aimed to provide that through a combination of research, interviews, professional advice and resources. As far as we know, there are no health-focused career guides for those working in popular music, so we aim to plug that gap while also outlining how vital good health is in the pursuit of a happy, healthy and, therefore, ultimately successful life.”

“Research suggests that musicians may face a large number of mental and physical health issues in their careers, but the majority of these problems are preventable with the right information and support,” comments Heyman, a vocal and performance coach, musician and lecturer. “I wanted to create an easily accessible book that was informed by scientific research and included the lived experiences of musicians, along with the advice and guidance of leading experts and signposts to further support.

‘Studies have shown that, as well as health, musicians want support with the performance side of their career, so we worked with leading psychologists to provide a section which focuses on topics including managing performance anxiety, increasing confidence onstage, overcoming creative blocks, improving practice and more. This section may be particularly useful to musicians who’ve been unable to perform due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and who might need extra support when they return to live performances. We hope that this book will become an essential manual for any musician to give them the correct advice, signposting and treatment of issues as soon as possible should they need it.”

John Reid, president of Live Nation Europe, is one of a number of live music execs to have praised Sound Advice, describing the book as “informative, accessible and, at times, highly entertaining. We have a responsibility to create a healthy and sustainable working environment, [and] music is no different to any other business.

Sound Advice will be a valuable asset to all those artists and executives alike, trying to navigate a safe, successful and sustainable way through our world.”

Sound Advice is released on February 28. To preorder your copy in paperback, hardback or as an ebook, click here.

 


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Therapists develop mental health guide for touring

The Music Industry Therapist Collective (MITC), a group of psychotherapists with a background in the live music industry, is seeking funding for a best practice guide tackling mental health issues in the business.

The group is aiming to raise £21,774 over the next 55 days to create an “in-depth, clinically sound practical manual to support and guide all those who struggle with mental health on tour.”

The 300-page Touring and Mental Health Manual will offer guidance on how to handle psychological difficulties that arise from touring, such as loneliness; drug-induced psychosis; performance anxiety; addiction; stress and burn-out; trauma; and post-tour depression.

Agent-turned-psychotherapist Tamsin Embleton, who founded MITC, recently told IQ that the “competitive, turbulent and stressful” nature of touring life, as well as “long working hours, poor boundaries between social and work life, and easy access to drink and drugs” can often make those in the entertainment industry susceptible to mental health-related issues.

“This is a vital and most welcomed resource for our industry and touring community”

“This is a vital and most welcomed resource for our industry and touring community,” comments Eric Mtungwazi, managing director of mental health charity Music Support.

“Understanding how to look after your mental health and wellbeing, and knowing how to pre-empt and respond to some of the unique challenges on the journey, is a critical to thriving and working sustainably in the music industry.”

Nile Rodgers, who will be crowned Artists’ Artist at the Artist and Manager Awards in November, comments that “being away from home and loved ones can be incredibly hard work mentally” while in the fast-paced touring environment.

“Having what is effectively a mental health wellness manual to keep yourself in check is a wonderful initiative,” says Rodgers.

Donations to the Touring and Mental Health Manual can be made here. Rewards including digital and physical copies of the manual, mental health training and a logo on the sponsors’ page of the guide are available for those who donate.

Any funds raised over the target amount will go towards creating a non-crisis mental health fund, offering medium- and long-term therapeutic support to those in need.

Read more about how the music business is fighting mental illness here:

A High Cost: How the biz is fighting back against mental illness

 


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‘A space of music discovery’: New ADE boss talks first year

The 24th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) will take place under new leadership, as director Mariana Sanchotene looks to boost daytime offerings, incorporate different art forms and explore the crossover between music and technology.

From 16 to 20 October, ADE festival and conference will take over the concert halls, clubs, and theatres of the Dutch capital. More than 2,500 artists and 600 speakers are expected to take part in the event.

“ADE is massive, it really is mind blowing to be in charge,” Sanchotene tells IQ ahead of her first year leading the event. “The planning is going well so far and it is looking like we will have a strong programme this year.”

The festival recently released its second wave of artists, with DJs Avalon Emerson, Peggy Gou and Carl Craig joining previously announced acts Martin Garrix, the Black Madonna, New Order, Carl Cox and Helena Hauff.

A record 400,000 people attended ADE last year, but Sanchotene states the event has no ambition for growing attendance further.

“We are staying with the same number of venues [140] as last year and expect to match attendance,” says the ADE boss, explaining that the city of Amsterdam is “overwhelmed” by visitors as it is.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists”

“The focus is on increasing artistic quality and on growing the day programme in particular to showcase the crossover between electronic music and different cultural forms such as the visual and performing arts,” explains Sanchotene.

The crossover between different musical styles is important for the ADE director too, who believes that people are “more curious” these days and more likely to deviate from what they know.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists. Don’t just go for the usual suspects, really dig into what new talent is on offer,” Sanchotene tells IQ. “ADE is a space of music discovery – I am very much looking forward to seeing how all the acts turn out.”

The 2019 conference will focus on the celebration of 100 years of electronic musical instruments, with exhibits of old equipment and experts speaking about antique gear. The event will also look to the future with an exploration of how technology is shaping the industry, particularly of how augmented reality and gaming are interacting with electronic music.

Health will also be another important topic at the conference, with panel discussions on wellbeing and relaxation spaces to “remind people of the balance” between work, socialising and rest.

Tickets for ADE 2019 are available here, priced at €450 for a five-day festival and conference pass and at €300 for a four-day conference-only pass. Prices go up on Sunday 1 September.

 


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Hearing loss rife among Woodstock gen music lovers

Almost 50% of festivalgoers belonging to the original Woodstock 1969 generation now suffer from hearing loss, a new survey reveals.

The survey, conducted by the Harris Poll and commissioned by Danish hearing aid specialist Oticon, questioned over 1,000 US adults between the age of 65 to 80 who had reported listening to “loud or very loud music in their youth”.

Fifty years on from Woodstock, 36% of a self-proclaimed music-loving crowd – 71% of respondees reported music was a major part of their lives when they were young – now state that hearing difficulties negatively impacts their ability to listen to music to some extent.

Among those with hearing loss, 47% say they no longer enjoy music as much as they used to and 70% wish they could experience music as they did in the past.

The results suggest that, even if Michael Lang’s Woodstock 50 anniversary event had gone ahead as planned, it is unlikely that the original fans would have enjoyed themselves as much the second time around.

“We [now] know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain the ability to enjoy music”

“The survey results demonstrate the far-reaching consequences of loud music listening on hearing health,” says Oticon president Gary Rosenblum.

“That’s an important message for young people today. We [now] know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain the ability to enjoy music and conversation.”

Rosenblum urges those of the “Woodstock Generation” to address their hearing loss. 70% of those surveyed had never seen a health care professional about their hearing, and only 12% had ever used a hearing aid.

Exposure to loud noise also produces negative effects on music industry professionals, damaging their ability to sleep and sometimes provoking mental health risks.

Help Musicians UK is one charity safeguarding the hearing of those working in live, providing moulded hearing protection for 10,000 music professionals through the Hearing Health Scheme.

 


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Call for support for Music At Work Week

Author and academic Dr Julia Jones has issued a call to businesses around the world to back the Music At Work Week campaign, which aims to encourage employees to listen to music in the workplace to improve health.

Music At Work Week hopes to enhance wellbeing and mental health among workers, after studies proved a daily diet of music can assist the brain and body, improving productivity.

Dr Jones, known as ‘Doctor Rock’, came up with the campaign concept while writing her new book, The Music Diet, which identifies music as a key factor in mental and physical health.

Found In Music director Dr Jones, who has worked with Olympic teams, the NHS, governmental bodies and major brands, has been prescribing music for personal and business health for over 20 years. She explains: “The science shows that purposeful use of music playlists and headphones can help people focus to get more work done in less time.

“Purposeful use of music playlists and headphones can help people focus to get more work done in less time”

“The science also shows that music in non-focus workplaces such as reception areas and kitchen areas can produce a more relaxing environment to ease stress.

“We have drawn up a charter for employers to adopt and in November we want as many businesses as possible to support Music At Work Week internationally. This is a serious issue and costs employers and the economy billions of pounds a year.

“Technology has had massive effects on the working environment and health. We want to spark a workplace transformation revolution.”

Music At Work Week will take place between 25 November and 1 December 2019.

 


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Futures Forum: Health and wellbeing in live

Jana Watkins, head of human resources at Live Nation, spoke of her passion for promoting wellbeing within the business, admitting that “the environment in our industry isn’t particularly conducive to leading a healthy lifestyle.”

Director of Killing Moon, Achal Dhillon, echoed this sentiment saying that the industry encourages “certain types of behaviour” that are detrimental to mental and physical wellbeing. The fact that this behaviour is aspired to, or deemed necessary for success, “exacerbates conditions if people have a predisposition to mental illness, or even creates them,” said Dhillon.

Fiona McGugan of Music Managers Forum spoke of the importance of disclosure, and engaging with men directly on this specifically.

Tristan Hunt from the Association for Electronic Music referenced the recent passing of Prodigy’s Keith Flint and Tim Bergling (Avicii), highlighting the continuing prevalence of mental health problems in live music, despite growing awareness of issues.

Jenni Cochrane, director of culture and partnerships at AEI Group spoke of the “excess and problems” which success entails for young artists.

Watkins then asked panellists for their top tips for maintaining health and wellbeing. “Switching off – literally,” said Dhillon, speaking of the ever-present working environment within music.

“The environment in our industry isn’t particularly conducive to leading a healthy lifestyle”

McGugan referenced the isolating nature of mental health issues and spoke of the importance of being able to admit issues openly and talk about them with others. Hunt agreed with this, “the more we have this conversation, the more it destigmatises the issue,” he said.

Hunt and Cochrane then discussed the danger of phones, email and social media, stressing the need to take time out to cleanse the mind. Both recommended using night mode to limit exposure to blue light and of vastly reducing screen time, especially before bed and in the morning.

“Sleep is the foundation of everything to do with your mental and physical health,” said Cochrane. “Give yourself some quiet headspace, you deserve it.”

Substance abuse, and the industry’s enablement of it, was the next topic of discussion. Dhillon spoke of the tendency towards glamourising artists’ addictions and the ease of access to narcotics.

McGugan agreed that the industry needed to focus on its duty of care towards artists, whereas Hunt said the prevalence of drug use and abuse was symptomatic of a wider set of problems. “We do have an exploitative industry,” admitted Hunt, speaking of the focus on financial gain over wellbeing.

“We need to call people out and it has to be a collaborative effort,” he said.

 


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Measles rife at UK music festivals

A British public health body has warned those not vaccinated against measles to stay away from music festivals this summer following an outbreak in England.

A total of 234 cases were confirmed between January and June, says Public Health England (PHE) – of which 36 were in people who had attended festivals in June and July – compared with 54 for the same period last year.

“Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications,” says Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE’s head of immunisation. “So, if you think you might have measles, please don’t go to any of these big events.

There were 16 cases of measles at Glastonbury, one at Secret Garden Party and seven at NASS festival in Somerset

“Measles isn’t common these days because most of us are vaccinated, but young people who missed their MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] jab as children are vulnerable, especially if gathered in large numbers at an event.”

PHE is advising young adults to ensure they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine.

There were 16 cases of measles at Glastonbury (which must have added to the festival experience for those already stricken with a stomach bug), one at Secret Garden Party, seven at Somerset music/extreme sports festival NASS and two at Nozstock in Bromyard, Herefordshire, among others.

 


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Music Support aims to help music biz insiders

A new organisation that will provide specialist care for music industry executives, artists, crew and technicians is already helping a number of individuals after being quietly launched in April.

Music Support is the brainchild of production manager Andy Franks, artist manager Matt Thomas, musicians Mark Richardson and Rachel Lander (both recovering addicts) and addiction counsellor Johan Sorensen, who, having experienced dark times themselves, set about creating a network that they believe can vastly improve the mental health support for available for music business employees and freelancers, from apprentices to company bosses.

“There are obviously some great organisations out there – the likes of Samaritans, for example, do a fantastic job – but working in the music industry can involve some very unique circumstances, so we wanted to create something where people who know the various challenges of the business can help others work through their problems,” explains Franks.

Music Support has launched with a 24/7 phone line where individuals who are struggling with any kind of issue can speak to an operator, who will find the relevant expert counsellor to call that individual back. The organisation promotes other services such as Samaritans, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SANE, but it aims to help callers deal with alcoholism, addiction, emotional health, mental health, stress and other issues.

“Working in venues where there are thousands of people enjoying themselves can sometimes be the loneliest place, and we have people at the end of the phone who understand that”

“Usually people are called back within a matter of hours,” says Franks. “We’ve been talking about the need for a service like this for a long time, but at long last we have it. If you’re lying in a bunk on a bus travelling through eastern Europe on a tour feeling depressed, it can feel like hell – I should know, I’ve been there. But Music Support gives you the chance to speak to someone who knows what you are going through, so we’re hoping that word can spread quickly about the new service.”

Despite a very low key launch, Music Support has already helped a number of people since it launched in mid-April, but Franks and the other founders are determined that word about the service should spread throughout the industry as quickly and widely as possible.

“It can be a harsh environment, working away from loved ones for months on end, and it’s understandable that some people turn to drink or drugs,” adds Franks. “Working in venues where there are thousands of people enjoying themselves can sometimes be the loneliest place, and we have people at the end of the phone who understand that.”

Donations for the non-profit organisation can be made via the website – www.musicsupport.org – while anyone wanting to speak to a sympathetic voice can call +44 203 432 0449.