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BRIT Trust and Festival Republic back Music Support and Safe Tent initiative

By | Published on Wednesday 14 June 2017

Music Support, the UK charity that provides help and support for music people suffering from addiction or mental health issues, has won the backing of the BRIT Trust, which is contributing towards both the organisation’s day-to-day running costs and a new Safe Tent initiative being run with Live Nation at a number of this year’s summer festivals.

Music Support was launched last year by music industry veterans Matt Thomas and Andy Franks along with Mark Richardson and Johan Sorensen. The charity explains that it “provides a 24/7 telephone helpline staffed by trained volunteers who have personal experience of issues within the industry and can offer help and support as someone who has been there and understands. They are also able to signpost pathways to clinical help if needed”.

The organisation also promotes good mental health practices across the music industry, and has contributed to CMU Insights sessions on mental health and addiction at The Great Escape, and helped to produce the MMF’s mental health guide.

The Safe Tents initiative will see the charity have a presence at a number of music festivals this summer in a space that will provide “places of refuge for people working at the event who need a break from intense backstage pressures and demands in a stimulant-free environment”. Backed by Live Nation and its Festival Republic division, the Safe Tents will be staffed by Music Support volunteers.

The BRIT Trust is the charitable arm of UK record industry trade group the BPI and it distributes funds raised by the BRIT Awards.

Confirming its backing for Music Support, the Trust’s Chairman John Craig said: “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”.

Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn has also spoken about his company’s support of the Safe Tents initiative. “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 backstage environments at festivals are examples of those unnoticed needs”, he observed. “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”.

Commenting on the industry backing for Music Support, co-founder Thomas 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”.

He went on: “We recognise too that emerging talent may sometimes find it hard to adjust to the demands of new-found 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”.

Meanwhile co-founder Andy Franks, a tour manager by trade, added about the Safe Tents programme: “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”.