The Stagehand Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund, launched in September 2020, achieved its target of raising £1m by the end of 2020 and now looks to building on the £1.17 million raised in order to continue supporting live events industry workers experiencing hardship in 2021.
As a result, a third round of grant applications will be open until 12pm on February 12. The grants of £500 help crew facing financial crisis and experiencing food poverty.
Stagehand, the only UK charity that specifically helps music stage and road crew, has issued over 900 grants, butthere are many more live events industry workers who are in urgent need of support, with thousands facing serious hardship. The problem is intensified by the nature of the industry; over 60% of its workforce are freelancers and over 20% of all crew do not qualify for any Government support, meaning many skilled professionals have been forgotten during the pandemic.
The response to this fundraising effort has been immense. Generous donations from the wider music industry and the public, the Prints for Music campaign, initiatives from peers, musicians and the #ILoveLive prize draw have not only made a practical difference to helping road and festival crews cope with huge challenges, but also offer a timely reminder that this plight is important to music fans throughout the world, reinforcing that this community is missed and appreciated.
Comments left on the charity’s Donate platform and JustGiving page demonstrate the strength of public feeling:
“Live music is the lifeblood of entertainment – without all those behind the scenes it just wouldn’t happen! Thank you for everything that you do and a very Happy New Year to all!”
“Some of the best nights of my life have been facilitated by these guys. This is just a small thank you during bad times.”
Donations to the Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund have been gratefully received from PPL, BPI / BRIT Awards, Universal Music Group, Sony Music, The Co-Op, SJM Concerts, artists, artist managers and many individuals including some by anonymous donors.
Prints for Music, the photography sale created by Ed Robinson who, together with 39 other photographers, donated images depicting musical heroes throughout the ages. The campaign saw significant funds go towards the target.
Grass roots fundraising activity was also very important and included initiatives such as:
The Biggest Loser, headed up by Stagehand Trustee David Lawrence with supportive tour managers and production managers based in the UK, Europe and North America. The team trained for fitness and dropped the pounds, creating virtual and focused routine during lock down.
Crew Gear clothing which brandishes t-shirt slogans such as ‘Unviable’ was started by two members of tour supply company Adlib, splitting 20% of profit between Stagehand and Music Support.
The Jam Night Before Christmas, a live session by the Subfrantic team, pulled in funds on December 19 2020, and artists like Newton Faulkner and Kim Wilde also asked fans to donate during their own live streamed gigs.
The #ILoveLive prize draw campaign gave music fans the chance to give something back to the people who make life-affirming live events happen and to win money-can’t-buy prizes from their favourite artists. #ILoveLive was held in partnership with Crowdfunder UK, which waived its platform fees. The winners have been notified and prizes shipped.
A second #ILoveLive Crowdfunder Prize Draw Campaign will launch on February 17 and is already attracting some significant artists. Acts including The 1975, Foo Fighters and Jack Garratt will donate unique prizes.
The #ILoveLive campaign was spearheaded by artist manager and promoter David Stopps with Andy Lenthall and Mike Lowe at Stagehand.
Mike Lowe, the Chair of Stagehand’s Board of Trustees, commented: “We know that when live shows can take place again in financially viable ways, the industry will be extremely busy. 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.”