Inaugural Roady4Roadies to raise awareness and funds for road crews and musicians in need
Roady4Roadies is a new initiative by a broad representation of Australia’s live production sector and the music industry to raise money for road crews and musicians in need and to raise awareness of what road crews do.
It is staged nationally in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth on Sunday, March 10 and Adelaide on Sunday, March 24.
Roady4Roadies is open to the public and industry alike, with 100% of all profit going to Support Act.
The day commences with Roady4Roadies Walk (a leisurely 4-5kms) culminating in a variety of family activities and performances at well-known entertainment precincts.
Walk participants receive a free t-shirt and crew laminate – with sunscreen and bottled water available along the route.
Crewathlon, a friendly Olympics-type competition for teams of roadies, has events including the Cable Comp, Stage Manager Sprint, Lighting Crew Limbo and Sound Crew Shimmy.
It lets the crews snare bragging rights, while the public gets an insight into what crew do.
There’ll be BBQ’d food, awards, speeches and prizes.
The day concludes with live entertainment from major acts.
Rumoured are some of the biggest names in the biz, with one major ‘90s act offering to reunite for the event.
One of the organisers, high profile production identity Howard Freeman tells TMN, “You pay, you participate in a short walk to a venue
“You don’t need to be a roadie. What you’re doing as a member of the public – it’s about kids, women with pushers, families – is being a roadie for a roadie.
“This is an inaugural event. But we’re doing anything that can raise a dollar for musician and road crew welfare by doing any event incorporating any member of the public and educating the public the role that road crews play.”
The Roady4Roadies event in Auckland this year raised $20,000 for the New Zealand Music Foundation welfare group.
Freeman expects that each Australian city will pull a similar amount, factoring in sponsorship support.
Already Live Nation, Moshtix and Love Police have put their hands up, as have a battalion of publicists around the country, while the crews and in-house audio and video companies have also donated their time and services.
Speaking logistics, Freeman says, “We’re trying to limit the number of people on the actual walk to 200 to 300 in some cities.
“Otherwise it (the walk) becomes an event in itself, which requires traffic control, marshals, police presence, road closures, crossing closures – the sort of things that bureaucrats and councils and government want money out of, and which won’t go into Support Act’s coffers.
“We’re not trying to be the biggest kid in town, we’re trying to be the smartest.”
Roady4Roadies is also staged to draw focus on the alarming mental health issues that plague crews.
A 2015 Entertainment Assist study on mental health in the entertainment industry, conducted by Victoria University, found that the rate of attempted suicide in the industry is more than double the rest of the population.
Road crew members, however, considered taking their own lives nearly nine times more than the general population.
Independent figures have shown one in six roadies commit suicide, over eight times the national average.
Freeman, whose family represents four generations of live sector identities, explains: “It’s a lifestyle. It becomes one-dimensional, because this is all you do.
“You get up in the morning, you tour, you live with people for 24 hours of the day basically, and you have no other life because your life is doing the show.
“We are, and were, a physical force of human beings who invent and create, and do things that other people can’t and don’ want to.
“The feature we have to educate people about is the breadth and depth of the intelligence and abilities of the people.”
As Stuart Coupe’s recent book Roadies – The Secret History of Australian Rock N Roll, road crews come up with wizardry and magic every day to e sure the show goes on as scheduled.
Coupe serves as Roady4Roadies ambassador.
Tickets go on sale at 9am today (December 10).