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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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Former Duran Duran, Blur tour manager Craig Duffy passes

Tributes are pouring in for former Blur and Duran Duran manager Craig Duffy and his partner Sue Parmiter, who died in a car crash on Friday (21 May) in the UK.

Their deaths were confirmed on Saturday (22 May) by Duran Duran’s former publicist Gerard Franklin, who told Devon Live: “Craig was without question one of the best tour managers in the music business.

“He was a gentleman, caring and considerate and the ultimate professional. He was great fun to be around with on tour a real joy. He was incredibly helpful to all the crew and people working on his tours and was liked by everyone. He was a music fan first and a tour manager second.”

Franklin continued: “He lived for his music and football being a Chelsea supporter. He was a giant of the music industry. It’s rare to find such characters who are genuine and Craig was the real deal, a real gem.”

The father of two, who was undergoing treatment for throat cancer, worked on numerous tours since the early 1990s for the likes of Blur, Duran Duran, Gorillaz, Fugees, Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madness and U2.

Duran Duran bassist John Taylor paid tribute to Duffy on the band’s official website: “It is with great sadness we learnt today of the tragic passing of Craig Duffy: friend, music man and one of the great tour managers of all time.

“Craig Duffy: friend, music man and one of the great tour managers of all time”

“Craig and I spent many touring hours trawling used vinyl bins around the world. There was no better record shopping associate than Craig, and if you know me, you’ll know there is no better testament to a friendship than that.”

He added: “I will really miss you, you fucker. I hope for your sake they play The Clash in heaven.”

The band’s keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: “We are all heartbroken to hear the shocking news that Craig Duffy and his partner Sue Parmiter have died in a car accident.

“Craig was a larger than life character and a joy to be around. He once won the accolade of tour manager of the year at an industry event, so for us he was always ‘Craig Duffy, tour manager of the year’.

“Despite our jest, Craig lived up to his title, he was kind, calm and knew how to steer the ship. We spent a longtime together on tour and we will forever treasure those memories, he remained a punk rocker at heart with a massive sense of humour, he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Blur’s Dave Rowntree wrote: “Have spent the day trying to come to terms with the fact that my friend Craig is no longer with us. My heart goes out to his family.”

“A huge chunk of history has disappeared with his passing”

Right Said Fred tweeted: “Extremely shocked and saddened to hear that Craig Duffy and his partner Sue died in a car crash yesterday.

“Craig was our tour manager in the 90s, we rarely agreed on anything but we had stayed in touch and remained friends. He was a good guy and an excellent TM. Rest in peace.”

The Damned took to Facebook to share a tribute. “I first met Craig around 1976 when he was just a kid working for John Curd,” they wrote. “He was and remained enthused with music, always had a smile and an anecdote to share.

“Over the years he became a very deserved top of the league tour manager who, on and off, we worked with as indeed he seemed to have worked with so many artists from all genres of music in a long and successful career. A huge chunk of history has disappeared with his passing and he will be missed by many.”

They added: “My deepest sympathies go out to his family at this most tragic time.”

The Pogues wrote on social media: “RIP Craig Duffy. We tried to get you for so many reunion tours, you were always, always busy! Condolences everybody. Love, The Pogues.”

British singer-songwriter Nadine Shah tweeted: “Sending condolences to all the friends and loved ones of Craig Duffy and his partner Sue Parmiter. He was a lovely man and tm extraordinaire.”

 


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LN video series goes Backstage with Crew Nation

To promote Crew Nation, its US$10m coronavirus relief fund for out-of-work touring crew, Live Nation has has launched Backstage with Crew Nation, a new video series focusing on the relationships between touring artists and their backstage staff.

Debuting on its Live from Home platform, the first video follows Jon Russell, of indie-folk band the Head and the Heart, in conversation with the group’s front-of-house engineer, Tim Smiley. The pair discuss a range of topics, including how they’ve continued to work together during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The series will feature “natural conversations over video call between artists and members of their crews, highlighting the voices that make up the resilient live music community”, according to LN.

Watch the first episode of Backstage with Crew Nation above.

 


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Tour Managers Not Touring axed after backlash

Tour Managers Not Touring (TNT), a fundraising initiative intended to aid several famous DJs’ out-of-work tour managers, has been quietly pulled following a backlash on social media, where commentators criticised the artists’ apparent reluctance to put their hands in their own pockets.

TNT saw tour managers including Ian Hussey (Carl Cox), Tim ‘Dingo’ Price (Dubfire), Zak (Seth Troxler) and Gabriel Torres (the Martinez Brothers) selling a series of self-made mixes, along with collaborations with the artists with which they work, for a minimum of €5, with all funds going direct to the tour managers involved.

While apparently well intentioned, the idea apparently went down like a cup of cold sick in the dance music world, with electronic music industry figures such as BarkerKornél Kovács, DVS1 and Maceo Plex tweeting their displeasure. “Please give your money to real charities and NOT to rich DJs and their staff,” wrote Plex.

The most widely shared criticism came courtesy of trance producer John Askew, who recorded a now-deleted video rant (rescued by Dutch DJ Cassy) asking why the likes of Cox, Troxler and Nicole Moudaber “aren’t they covering their tour managers’ costs and giving these mixes away for free, or charging money and giving that money to the medical services, the NHS [UK National Health Service] and every other country’s equivalent?”

“Please give your money to real charities and NOT to rich DJs”

“These are guys with multiple millions of pounds, euros, dollars in the bank,” he said, “and they’re asking the general public to keep their tour managers afloat?”

As spotted by Selector, the TNT Bandcamp page went dark shortly after, and the mixes are no longer available to buy.

Cox in turn criticised the backlash, writing on his Facebook page that he has “never seen anything blown so far out of proportion without context” and saying that idea came from the TMs.

“A group of the hardest-working tour managers out there wanted to get creative and have some fun by getting together and seeing who could actually DJ,” he says. “They asked me to support them, as they support us touring DJs week after week throughout the year. All of us did that without too much thought or hesitation through our social media channels and gave them a mix from one of our shows.

“There was no suggestion ever made that this was to cover ‘wages’ – that is simply ridiculous and I feel saddened that this has even been suggested.”

Cox’s comment, however, is at odds with tour manager Tim ‘Dingo’ Price (Dubfire), who on launching the project stated: “Our goal is to release some new and interesting content to help with the #StayHome initiative and also try and gain some financial support for us tour managers during this unfortunate time, as most of us, if not all, are not paid a salary – we are paid per show.”

It remains unclear whether the aforementioned DJs will now be coughing up to support their crew, as John Askew has suggested.

 


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Tour Managers Not Touring release collaborative albums

A group of tour managers for some of the biggest names in dance music have launched Tour Managers Not Touring (TNT), a fundraising initiative intended to support them through the coronavirus shutdown.

With the fate of the 2020 Ibiza season in the balance, TNT – which includes TMs Ian Hussey (Carl Cox), Tim ‘Dingo’ Price (Dubfire), Zak (Seth Troxler) and Gabriel Torres (the Martinez Brothers) – are selling a series of self-made mixes, along with collaborations with the artists with which they work, for a minimum of €5, with all funds going direct to the tour managers involved.

The first release, The Sofa Sessions, is available to purchase on Bandcamp now, with more planned for the weeks ahead.

“It’s an interesting concept to explore the sound of the tour managers in comparison to the sound of the DJs we work with”

“The tour managers in our scene are like one big dysfunctional family,” says Price, whose contribution is a 57-minute mix called ‘The Hour After the After Hour’. A lot of tour managers play themselves and have great musical taste. So we thought this would be a great way to come together, and an interesting concept to explore the sound of the tour managers in comparison to the sound of the DJs we work with.

“Our goal is to release some new and interesting content to help with the #StayHome initiative and also try and gain some financial support for us tour managers during this unfortunate time, as most of us, if not all, are not paid a salary – we are paid per show. This project is being done out of love of music, our scene and the people involved in it.”

 


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Beat the Street to launch in the US in 2020

Austria-based tour bus provider Beat the Street is making its debut stateside in January 2020, introducing the first double-decker coach to the American touring market.

Beat the Street, which counts AC/DC, Lionel Richie, Mötley Crüe, Beyoncé and Queen among its clients, is offering a double-decker, 16/14 bunk bus to the US touring market, in an exclusive deal with Belgian supplier Van Hool.

The US team, headed by Beat the Street’s Tim King, has already secured several key tours for 2020.

The company has also added the latest X3, single-decker models to its offering, from Canadian manufacturer Prevost.

“American clients have been asking us for many years to run our buses in the States”

“Double deckers are not yet used in the States for touring, but their additional capacity is well known to those US tour managers who use them with us in Europe and the UK,” comments Jörg Philipp, managing director and owner of Beat the Street.

“American clients have been asking us for many years to run our buses in the States. Our first building phase will run until August 2020, with more to come.”

The first new double-decker buses will be available to view at Beat the Street’s official US launch on 29 January 2020 in Nashville.

Production and tour managers can contact Tim King for more information.

 


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