Aussie muso Angie McMahon, artist manager Charlotte Abroms and sound engineer Jono Steer have joined forces with music industry not-for-profit Support Art to raise much-needed funds for music industry workers in a precarious position as a result of cancellations brought about by COVID-19.
“In the wake of COVID-19 and in accordance with the government, entertainment industry workers have acknowledged it’s the right thing to do in an effort to protect the health and safety of all members of the community, by cancellations events, festivals, tours, gigs and conferences, which has now left the industry facing a huge crisis,” reads a statement.
The group point out that Australian music workers are one of the most vulnerable industries with regards to job stability and mental wellbeing, and that many in the industry – including musicians, sound engineers, tour managers, production companies, managers, crew, venues, bar staff and much more – are now facing an uncertain future.
This morning, newly-formed website I Lost My Gig, which is recording lost income in the Australian music industry from necessary event cancellations, reported $100 million and counting in lost income across the entertainment sector.
In response, the trio have paired with Support Act, a charity that provides help for artists and other music workers in crisis, to raise funds for the organisation.
“As a manager, I’ve had to inform our whole team of multiple cancellations throughout the year. It’s difficult when there’s no timeline as to if or when their shows will be rescheduled. Angie and I talked about session musicians and crew and the people who live show to show. I’m speaking to people who are struggling to pay their rent, who are fearful for their futures, who have children to look after,” explains Abroms.
“We discussed the fact Support Act’s resources will be stretched during this time so we felt the need to do something for those facing temporary unemployment. It’s the collective mental wellbeing of our industry we are trying to protect. It’s an issue close to our hearts. Support Act are a trusted charity to help our fellow colleagues and friends who are most vulnerable.”
Steer says he’s seen a flurry of panicked social media posts from fellow crew members losing an entire year of work. He’s in the same boat, but says the ability to work in a studio will hopefully mean the impact is less severe. “A lot of my other colleagues live gig to gig and don’t have sufficient savings to get them through more than a couple of months. While there’s no help for sole traders in the stimulus package, we felt the need to do something. These sole traders are the backbone of the industry.”
Abroms launched the fundraiser yesterday on Facebook – contributions can be made here, and all funds raised will be donated to Support Act. In 24 hours, the fundraiser has so far raised over $10K.