Those thousands of men and women who work in the background, often unseen, to get the shows on the road now have a new, national advocacy organisation.
Established by veteran live professionals Howard Freeman and Tony Moran and launched today (Oct. 28), CrewCare’s objective is to improve the care for all workers in the production and allied industries, and their loved ones.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Moran tells TIO. “There’s a myriad of things we’d like to tackle. Recognition is a big one. They are often overlooked. If (crew) had a little more recognition it’d go a long way to their self-esteem as well and avoid a lot of the issues they’re presenting.”
Because of this lack of recognition, notes Moran, “people don’t recognise what a crew guy is. They refer to them as roadies, a lot of them don’t like that because it has connotations of a long- haired lout on drugs who can only push black boxes.
“They’re a bunch of creatives and their technical skills are through the roof. Because people don’t understand what a crew guy does, it’s very hard for them to equate how that guy could work in another industry.”
Australia’s billion-dollar live entertainment industry is built on the backs of roughly 2,000 support crew, many of whom work difficult hours and are rarely seen or heard.
Their blood, sweat and toil was brought into focus in Stuart Coupe’s Roadies – the Secret History of Australian Rock’n’Roll, released last year via Hachette Australia.
Working in the gig economy is a grueling business. “A lot of crew are in financial, emotional and physical distress,” explains CrewCare’s co-founder Howard Freeman. “A lot of them don’t put their hand up. Their cries often go unheard – but not anymore.”
CrewCare aims to change all that, through a blend of initiatives from support, education, fundraising, research and more.
Partnering with Support Act, CrewCare directs all donations and funds raised through the Support Act ‘Roadies’ Fund, ensuring that behind-the-scenes professionals have access to crisis relief and mental health services.
“The support we’ve had from all sectors of the industry has been phenomenal,” explains Moran. “There’s not one sector that doesn’t want this to happen. It’s in everyone’s interests, they all recognize now that there is a major issue.”
Membership is open to those who work or have worked in the Australian live music and entertainment scenes, and is split into three membership categories with annual fees priced at $10 to $20.
A not-for-profit, CrewCare organised the national 2019 Roady4Roadies events which raised over $62,000 for crew in its first year and will continue and expand in 2020.
To make a donation visit Support Act ‘Roadies’ Fund at CrewCare.org.au/donate.