A group of live music crew members have created a new not-for-profit cookbook to fund mental health first aid training on the road.
The cookbook was the idea of Nile Rogers’ production manager Nick Gosling (pictured right), and was curated by Massive Attack production coordinator Julie Cotton (left), production assistant Athena Caramitsos and backline technician for Elbow, Rich House.
During the pandemic, the team set out to help other industry professionals who were out of work re-engage in the “mealtime connection” of crew catering by sharing recipes over social media and Zoom.
Having seen the widespread issue of isolation and mental ill-health within the touring business during the pandemic, the group said they wanted to generate enough sales of the book to secure crisis prevention training for those traveling on the road.
The 124-page book contains a collection of 50 recipes, along with anecdotes and advice for staying healthy on tour. Recipes include The Killer Sandwich, Stage Left Satay Bowls, Tour Bus Nachos, and an anonymous ‘Loose Cocktail.’
Its contributors have worked at events such as Glastonbury (cap. 147,000) and with artists including Dolly Parton, Bryan Ferry, Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, Linkin Park, Robbie Williams, Anastacia and Jay Z. Their roles include lighting designers, bus drivers, sound engineers, tour managers and video directors.
The book’s aesthetic design was created by Manchester-based designer Paul Hemmingfield, known for his promotional artwork with the city’s Warehouse Project (16,000) and Freight Island (600) venues. The foreword was written by Skunk Anansie drummer and Music Support founder Mark Richardson, who shares his own experiences of the “dark side of touring”.
Julie Cotton said, “Although Covid-19 was devastating beyond anything we could have imagined, a positive to have come out of the situation was for the industry to have an unexpected opportunity to reset.
“During the last 18 months, we’ve all had a chance to reflect and work together to create positive change by working towards a healthier and more sustainable future in touring. With thousands of people being used to a different routine now, the transition back to working on the road will bring about its own challenges yet delivering concerts and the experiences they bring to people is a vital part of good mental health.
“By undertaking the Mental Health First Aid course, many of us have been able to learn how to better support those around us, and we want to extend that knowledge free of charge to our touring colleagues, funded through book sales.”