The BRIT Trust, the charitable arm of the BPI which distributes funds raised through the BRIT Awards, has pledged its support for Music Support – a new charity aimed at helping people in the music industry suffering from addiction, emotional or mental health issues.
In addition to a donation towards its day-to-day operations, the BRIT Trust is contributing to a Safe Tent initiative that Music Support has developed in conjunction with Festival Republic and Live Nation ahead of this summer’s major festivals.
The Safe Tents will be staffed by Music Support volunteers and will serve as places of refuge for those working at the event who need a break from intense back-stage pressures and demands in a stimulant-free environment.
The initiative was successfully trialled at last weekend’s Download Festival and will now be rolled out across other major festivals over the coming weeks and months. Festivals to feature Safe Tents include Glastonbury (22-25 Jun), Wireless (7-9 Jul), Latitude (13-16 Jul), V Festival (19-20-Aug), Reading & Leeds (25-27 Aug), and Electric Picnic in Ireland (1-3 Sep).
Music Support was co-founded by industry veterans Matt Thomas and Andy Franks together with Mark Richardson and Johan Sorensen. Set up in May 2016, the charity provides a 24/7 telephone helpline staffed by trained volunteers who have had personal experiences with the issues the charity assists with.
Thomas, Music Support co-founder and chair of the Ttrustees, said: ““Like the rest of society and other creative sectors, issues relating to addiction and mental health are a concern for the music industry. Although awareness has improved, stresses and anxieties can be experienced by artists and employees alike, and are particularly felt in the live sector, where relentless touring and unsociable hours can take their toll. We recognise too that emerging talent may sometimes find it hard to adjust to the demands of newfound fame, while more established musicians can find it a challenge to adapt to changes in their careers.
“It’s our hope that in time we can reach out to all parts of the music community – artists, crew and industry employees – where our support is needed, and help make a difference.”
Since 1989, the BRIT Trusty has donated over £20 million from the proceeds of the annual BRIT Awards to a range of causes that promote education and wellbeing through music. These include The BRIT School, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, War Child and Teenage Cancer Trust among others.
BRIT Trust Chairman, John Craig, commented: “People are thankfully far more aware of the life-inhibiting problems that mental health issues and addictions can cause – not just to the individuals concerned, but to loved ones, work colleagues and across society at large.
“But we need action as well as words, which is why we’re delighted to give BRIT Trust backing to Music Support and the valuable work it is pioneering, including with Safe Tents, to help those in our industry who may be quietly suffering and we need to reach out to.”
Franks said of the Safe Tent initiative: “When you are at a festival, it is often hard to find a quiet place away from the mayhem, or to escape off-site. The Music Support Safe Tent, offers a space to be quiet, or to be amongst others who also want to discuss or share their recovery and knowledge. It is a place for people to come together for a common good.
”We are incredibly grateful to Festival Republic, Live Nation and The BRIT Trust for their faith and commitment.”
Meanwhile, Festival Republic managing director, Melvin Benn, added: “Sometimes things are almost too obvious to notice and the need for Music Support in the music industry and Music Support Safe Tents at many of the high pressured backs stage environments at festivals are examples of those unnoticed needs.
“We take our hats off to the small group of people who have stood up to those pressures to provide Music Support, and Festival Republic and Live Nation are honoured to be working with and supporting them on the provision of Safe Tents at most of our high profile events this year and in the future.”