To mark World Mental Health Day today (10 October), the creators of The Roadie Cookbook, published with the aim of funding Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training on live music tours, have announced that its sales have raised more than £13,000 for charities Music Support and Stagehand.
The Roadie Cookbook was curated during the first lockdown by production manager Nick Gosling, production coordinator Julie Cotton, band assistant Athena Caramitsos, backline tech Rich House and industry publicist Kel Murray. The book includes a collection of 50 recipes, anecdotes and advice from touring professionals working at all levels.
The Roadie Cookbook‘s creators said the professional roadie community is heavily impacted by mental health issues, which increased during the pandemic. They estimated that up to three in four roadies experience a mental health episode during their career.
Tour manager Suzi Green, who works with acts such as Grace Jones, PJ Harvey and Clean Bandit said, “In an ideal world every tour should have someone who’s MHFA trained. It’s a high pressure environment and having taken the training two years ago and dived back into a hectic schedule post-Covid, I’ve already used what I’ve learnt. The listening skills are proving invaluable and given some of the scenarios we worked through on the course, I now feel better equipped to know what to do.”
The book’s creators said that although MHFA training is becoming more commonplace among the live events and concert touring communities, many are unable to afford course fees due to recovering from the loss of income during the pandemic, and more recently, with the UK’s cost of living crisis.
Duran Duran tour coordinator Joanne Croxford said, “Having a broader understanding of mental health challenges as a result of doing MHFA has meant having the confidence to see whether it’s the toll of the job that’s having a negative effect on people, or if there’s more to it than that. Being able to decipher one between the other could help save lives.”
Music Support managing director Eric Mtungwazi said, “We are passionate about ensuring that every tour or event has at least one MHFA-trained individual, especially now, given the long-term impact of the global pandemic on mental health and addiction is likely to see higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other health conditions. Anyone who benefits from this bursary will become a Mental Health First Aider with Music Support, investing in the mental health and wellbeing of our industry colleagues.”
Stagehand chair Mike Lowe said, “When the Covid-19 pandemic brought our industry to a complete standstill, as live production workers it was hard to help ourselves and each other. No one was earning. As tough as it was, the wonderful and unique Roadie Cookbook was conceived, worked on, designed, produced, sold and distributed by volunteer live production workers to help their co-workers.”
UK-based freelance touring professionals who have have completed at least one tour, can state their interest in taking the two-day MHFA course here.