Multi-award-winning tour manager Andy Franks reflects on why and how he came to launch Music Support, after a successful career working with acts including Depeche Mode, Coldplay and Robbie Williams, and why the mental health charity’s support services are in more demand than ever.

 I remember when I was working with Robbie Williams in the late 90s. He said to me, “I’m off to see my therapist”. I said I was surprised that he saw one. He replied, “We are going inside my head, a place I would never go unaccompanied…!”

Rob is a great and funny guy, but it made me think, “why can’t he sort stuff out for himself?”

Fast forward 10 years, and I was an alcoholic, sacked, out of work, feeling very alone. Luckily, I had found a great therapist, and with the help of him and going to AA meetings, I got sober. I have not had a drink for 8.5 years.

I wanted to find a way to help others not go through the same pain and suffering I had experienced, and from that, with the help of other recovering addicts in the business, Music Support was born.

Now, nearly six years on, the issues are even more acute. With the despair brought to our industry by Covid, there is even more need for a place to go to get help.

I am fully aware that addiction and mental health pervades every walk of life, but our industry is a business of fixing things and delivering on time, under unbearable pressure. We have wonderful teams of people who can work together to create amazing projects, and deliver incredible results, under unbearable conditions. The problem is, when we are in despair, why can’t we ask for help?  Why is that? Why can we fix it for others and not ourselves? Of course, it’s not that simple.

We build festivals on a piece of grass, create albums from ideas, and deliver results that others only dream of. But asking for help when we need it is very difficult, almost impossible.

Music Support has a team of trained responders that listen in a non-judgemental way. They can advise and signpost callers to organisations or individuals that can offer help, advice, and help them make the tiny steps towards recovery.

But, like any charity, we need help and support with funds to continue our work. Music Support is there for everyone who works in or around the UK music industry. So please get involved, and spread the word.

Just remember, if you are struggling or in pain, call us. We are here to help, however desperate things may seem.

You are not alone.

This article was published in the latest edition of Access All Areas magazine  – subscribe for free here