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Roady4Roadies: celebrate the role crew play in live music

Story Published Wednesday 20 April 2022
Roady4Roadies supports CrewCare and celebrates the role that crew play in live music

Roady4Roadies events across in Australia in May will celebrate the critical roles that crew play in the live music industry.

We spoke to Haydn Johnston of Architects of Entertainment and CrewCare Board Director about the importance of these events.

CrewCare acts as a voice and support system for crew across the nation.

Without the crew, there wouldn’t be a live show. Australian music crew number over 22,500 and COVID has seen all of them without work for two years. Throughout May, Roady4Roadies events across Australia will celebrate the critical roles that crew play, and raise much-needed funds for Support Act’s ‘Crew’ fund.

We chatted to Haydn Johnston, of Architects of Entertainment and CrewCare Board Director, about the importance of the Roady4Roadies events, the work of CrewCare, and tips for newbie crew.

Q: What is Roady4Roadies and how can APRA AMCOS members and the wider music community get involved?

A: Roady4Roadies is a social, national event which celebrates the integral work that crew play in the delivery of a live performance. Funds raised go to Support Act, in support of the work they do across the industry, which has provided important support to Crew at times of need. APRA AMCOS members can help by sending messages of support for roadies – quotes or a short video about their own crew or a crew member – and highlight the value of crew to the team. Share your message on your own social media, and submit it to [email protected]

Here’s a great example…

Q: What does this event mean to CrewCare?

A: CrewCare is a non-profit advocacy organisation, providing a voice for Crew across the nation. CrewCare not only assist in providing an emotional support base for crew, but are also acting in discussing within the industry the avenues for creating a better trained, mentally strong industry. Roady4Roadies is a way of getting people together to show support and the opportunity to have a social chat, outside of the hustle of a work environment.

Q: How can the industry help support CrewCare throughout the year?

A: The general non-crewing industry can make donations to the Support Act ‘Crew’ fund, and engage in their many activities. The Crew can keep an eye out for the many courses that CrewCare curate, such as Mental Health First Aid training and the Plug-In Workshops. One of our ambitions is to train enough crew on Mental Health First Aid that at every show there is someone who has this training and can support crew who need a little help. What we love on Roady4Roadies is to see musicians come out and support the crew; having them attend would show great appreciation of how hard crew work, and acknowledgement of the important part they play in the delivery of a live show.

Q: With most COVID restrictions lifted and live music slowly making a comeback, are crew and technicians able to get back to work? What challenges are facing live music crew right now?

A: Whilst we are full-on back to work, there is still COVID rampant, and crew need to make sure they are looking out for themselves and others on a show; and the industry needs to be patient should someone have to isolate or take time out, which it has been. There is also the challenge of not having enough crew, now shows are back and it’s ramping up, the talent shortages are very evident. Everyone involved in live music needs to make sure they commit to what they can physically and mentally achieve, and also take into consideration the people they leave every time they go off on tour. Take pride in teaching, and joy in watching someone grow in their skill set.

Q: What kind of opportunities are there and how can someone break into the industry?

A: If there was ever a time to look at a role in live music it is now. There is plenty of opportunity for young people who have the desire, and it’s not just “the roadie”, it’s across every facet of live music from club show local techs, to festivals looking for everything from Production crew to Site crew to Event staff, the opportunities are endless right now. If there is any interest, then coming to Roady4Roadies is a great place to chat to experienced crew, find a break, maybe offer your services. There are mentorships around – keep your eyes on CrewCare website, and various other state bodies.

Q: And while we have you here…can you share three quick tips for the musicians getting back to playing gigs or who are playing their first live shows?

A: Ah the joys of your first gigs, all your friends there, pretty special time for anyone who has decided to play their songs live. There are simple things to remember: to show the venue respect, it is their business after all, but it’s pretty simple – make it easy for them and they will have your back, at least until you are too big to play there!

For most starting out you will use the house engineer, to give that person the best opportunity try not to play too loud on stage, this will allow monitors to do what they should do and you will hear the things you need to. Volume on stage is always a battle, so think about playing at a volume that works for all aspects. Last simple one for guitarists only – always have spare guitar lead, picks and batteries for your pedals.

Support the crew at this year’s Roady4Roadies events:

This year, Roady4Roadies events will take place in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart on Sunday 1 May, and Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin and Newcastle on Saturday 7 May. Each event kicks off with a leisurely, neighbourhood walk, followed by family activities and live entertainment.

Tickets are just $20 and go a long way to helping those most in need. Tickets to all events are on sale now from Moshtix.