How U2 and Live Nation raised $10k for Support Act [Exclusive]
Their Melbourne show at the Marvel Stadium last Friday (November 22) coincided with Ausmusic T-Shirt Day to raise money for Support Act.
Live Nation, a long-time financial supporter of that association and road crew welfare, had been holding discussions with the newly formed association for road crew welfare CrewCare.
The promoter’s vice president of production and logistics, Nik Tishler (and incidentally, the original bassist for You Am I), suggested raffling off A Day As A Roadie.
CrewCare co-founder Howard Freeman was already working on the Marvel show helping to coordinate the site, so it was natural he would be mentoring the winner for the day.
U2 loved the idea, as did their production manager Jake Berry, who gave the winner greater access than first anticipated.
Berry and Freeman had worked together on a Rolling Stones tour in the ‘90s.
“He was just fantastic,” Freeman relates. “Jake is the doyen of production managers around the world, he sets the bar.
“Ideas he’s come up with in the past are now in standard use.”
The mental health app
Dr Pinto & Flavia Montoni
By sheer coincidence, the winning bid of $7,772 came from a Brazilian scientist working in the realm of mental health.
Dr Jana V. Pinto’s company Sync Body-Brain Health, which she the founder and CEO, is developing an app for mental health.
Live Nation and its Ticketmaster division topped the sum up to $10,000 by raffling U2 tickets.
Dr Pinto and her friend Flavia Montoni were first given a full tour through the stadium, even a demonstration of how the opening roof worked.
They were then put to work, setting up the fencing, loading in opening act Noel Gallagher’s neckline, doing menial jobs backstage, eating with the crew, going onstage with Berry, and calling the house lights.
“It worked out just about as well as could be hoped, given the field of interest/research,” says Tishler. “We figure we just have to push these good ideas out into the universe and see what it returns to us.“
Clive Miller, Support Act: CEO adds: “This was an amazing opportunity for someone to see behind the scenes and witness the incredible work that crew do in making a stadium show come alive.
“The fact that Jana was also able to dig a little deeper and find out more about some of the mental health challenges facing crew was an unexpected bonus.
“We look forward to partnering with her, CrewCare and others to develop industry-specific tools and resources that will assist crew to better manage their overall health and wellbeing.”
Dr.Pinto relays a message: “Thank you all for such a wonderful day. Everyone went above and beyond to ensure we had a perfect day. The experience was eye-opening.
“We had the opportunity to chat with many of the crew and they were all very open about mental health challenges, shared stories of friends who had experienced hardship.
“We are glad that Sync Body-Brain Health is able to contribute to the amazing work that Support Act does.
“We look forward to continuing our support by personalising and sharing our tools and programs to promote mental health to all working in the music industry.”
Where the money goes
Backstage at the U2 show
Ironically, in the ten days to the U2 show, three members of the production community died. Two took their lives, one died of natural causes.
Coincidentally, one worked with U2’s lighting crew on their last tour. Another who’d crewed for a major Australian tour died so destitutely that Support Act paid for his funeral.
On the day of the U2 show, Support Act agreed to take over the $70-a-week diabetes medicine cost for a crew member in another state.
Freeman observes, “$10,000 from one show is a great result. Roadie For A Day is an initiative that can we can follow up when other major acts come through.
“We can continually generate income for Support Act, which is the whole reason for CrewCare’s existence.”
Over summer CrewCare will hand out 2,800 cards to crews advising them of the existence of Support Act’s wellbeing helpline.
Every trucking and production house company has agreed to put up A3 posters in their vehicles with contact numbers.
A series of live tapes recorded by crews from the consoles are being prepped for a release on their own label.
The Roady 4 Roadies event, which this year raised $62,000, could expand to 13 towns on April 13.
“It’s all about people working together for a good cause,” Freeman sums up.