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BEHIND THE SCENES CHARITY OFFERS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR ENTERTAINMENT PROFESSIONALS

 
 

TUESDAY // NOVEMBER 27, 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES CHARITY OFFERS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR ENTERTAINMENT PROFESSIONALS

Dana Janssen // TourReady, Inc.

“Your medical condition is completely out of your control and it is all happening within days.”

After 30 years of mixing the sound for music in countless cities and countries, doctors informed Lee Popa of this devastating news threatening not only his career – but also his life.

 
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An autoimmune disease caused Popa’s liver to fail at an extremely rapid pace. Poppa became very ill and overwhelmed with emotions of what was to come. With incessant thoughts of becoming homeless, feeling helpless, eventually losing hope and most devastating to Popa, leaving behind his crew who are family, he needed help from his community to survive.

 

A live donor came to Popa’s side to volunteer half of his liver where doctors and nurses of USCUH were able to save his life – and Behind the Scenes stepped in to ensure his family didn’t lose their home or have their utilities turned off while he was recovering.

“I couldn’t believe that when I needed help, Behind the Scenes was there and didn’t turn their back on me. I am the crew guy, not the superstar,” Popa told BTS.

Countless behind-the-scene industry professionals have been dealt similar devastating health problems with seemingly no solution in sight. Several individuals, like Popa, spend their entire lives behind the scenes with a goal of making other people feel alive only to discover their own lives are the ones in utmost danger.

The Behind the Scenes charity recognizes the unfortunate reality that men and women in our industry do not reap the same health insurance and other financial benefits as other fields do. Without the ability to work, those entertainment professionals who do receive benefits lose them very quickly. The lack of benefits inevitably poses financial tragedy for ill or injured individuals and potentially for their entire family.

In response to this common issue among industry professionals, Behind the Scenes was launched to help prevent the financial tragedy that so often accompanies misfortune by providing temporary assistance during recovery or the transition to disability.

Watch the video & continue reading to learn who is eligible for a grant, what the grants can be used for, how the application process works, the new BTS Counseling Fund and how YOU can support Behind the Scenes today!

 
More information at http://www.estafoundation.org/bts.htm Grant recipients share how Behind the Scenes provides help for entertainment technology professionals when they are injured or ill.
 

Who is eligible for a Behind the Scenes grant?

If you currently reside in the United States or Canada and have earned your living for at least five years in the entertainment technology industry, and are seriously ill or injured, you may apply for a grant. Immediate dependent family members including spouses, domestic partners and dependent children may also qualify for assistance if they are ill or injured.

If you work behind the scenes…

  • At any type of performance venue

  • Behind the camera

  • On the road

  • For a company that manufactures or supplies entertainment technology products or services

Behind the Scenes was created to help you and your colleagues during times of need. The charity assists industry professionals who are directly involved with the technical aspects of entertainment including lighting, rigging, scenic, audio, wardrobe, hair and makeup, camera, design, production management and technical direction.

What can you use grants for?

Individuals may use grants for living expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities and transportation. In addition, individuals are able to utilize grants for medical care such as doctor or hospital bills, medications, physical therapy, wheelchairs and other aids, health insurance and home healthcare. Grants may also be used towards funeral expenses for industry professionals who have passed away. 

Do you know an individual who:

  • Is having a hard time paying rent because he or she has been out of work due to an injury?

  • Is battling cancer, has met the cap on their health insurance and is struggling to purchase monthly medications?

  • Is a bereaved spouse or a dependent unable to provide for him or herself?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, you may be able to help someone who may immensely benefit from a Behind the Scenes grant!

How does the application process work?

You must complete the Application for Financial Assistance. This application requires:

  • A letter from your doctor or other documentation of your illness or injury

  • Proof of at least five years of work history

  • Detailed financial information

  • A current bank statement

  • Copies of your two most recent tax returns

  • Copies of the bills for which you are seeking assistance

First, a Review Committee made up of members from the Behind the Scenes Foundation Board of Directors looks over all submitted applications. The committee generally makes grant decisions within a few days of receiving a submission.

If a grant is awarded, you will be contacted immediately to coordinate delivery of the grant. Checks must be made payable directly to service providers and can be sent directly to the provider or to the grant recipient for distribution. 

The Application for Assistance is available at www.btshelp.org/application

The BTS Counseling Fund

This fund is designed to provide early access to mental health and addiction counseling by assisting with the associated financial burdens. For individuals seeking to initiate or support ongoing counseling, Behind the Scenes issues funds as a subsidy on a per visit basis giving you the flexibility to change providers if you find your initial choice isn’t working well, and more importantly, encourages a longer-term client/therapist relationship. Funds are also available to individuals entering an in-patient or intensive out-patient recovery program. A special application for assistance is available for a Counseling Fund grant.

The Counseling Fund Application is available at www.btshelp.org/counseling.

How Can You Support Behind the Scenes?

There are two important ways you can support Behind the Scenes:

  1. Spread the word to those in need that help is available.

  2. The program is funded solely through contributions from industry members.

You can make a contribution online anytime, and many individuals and organizations have come up with creative ideas to support Behind the Scenes, such as workplace giving campaigns, charity motorcycle and bicycle rides, donating auction items, designating the proceeds from sales of a product or service, or dedicating a performance to Behind the Scenes.

For more information about Behind the Scenes, to donate, or to apply for a grant, visit www.btshelp.org.






















HOW TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ISSUES AT OUTDOOR EVENTS

 
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THURSDAY // JUNE 14

HOW TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ISSUES AT OUTDOOR EVENTS

Another toasty Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee has proven once again that the heat can be very unforgivable if proper precautions are not carried out. On Friday morning, a 32-year old man had been found dead inside a vehicle, with an autopsy expected to determine the cause of death, reported USA Today. Although no foul play is suspected, his death signifies the 13th fatality in Bonnaroo history.

This also really touches on the vital rule, if you see something say something. We don’t know the details of the man’s death but if we look out for each other or simply follow the buddy system, we are doing our best to prevent a tragedy.

Dozens of festival attendees had been treated for heat-related issues already on the festival’s second day with temperature of 90 degrees with a heat index of 99, Sheriff’s office spokesman Lucky Knott told USA Today. Some of these people had to be transported and treated at local hospitals.

Education is key when it comes to heat-related illness prevention and treatment. We can observe what the experts have to say in order to stay safe when outside for a number of days in a row under hot conditions.

Outlined by the Red Cross website, here are some tips on how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses:

Prior to hitting festival grounds, you should know the locations of shade areas and also air conditioned areas for when your body is in need of a break from the heat. Know where your medical emergency services are. For Bonnaroo and most festies, the map and map on the website outlines where the 24/7 medical tents are located. If you cannot access these, there are plenty of staff to help you locate the help you need.

The following bullets come from The Red Cross website, and they really do apply to both workers and attendees in outdoor events with excessive heat conditions:  

  • The Red Cross urges you to drink water and other non-alcoholic beverages whenever possible, even if you may not feel thirsty.
  • Eat small meals and eat often
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light colored clothing. Wearing dark colors as we know only absorbs the sun’s heat causing you to feel much hotter than the next person. Those festival pants may look cute but they are not worth your well being.
  • Slow down and pace yourself. Take as many breaks as you can, and when someone in your festival crew or coworker feels overheated, don’t pressure him or her to keep up.

Red Cross website outlines three different heat-related illnesses on the body caused by heat waves. From low severity to high, they are as follows: Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

What happens: muscular pains and spasms usually in the legs or abdomen

Why: Early sign the body is struggling with the heat

How to treat: Make sure the individual reaches a cooler area with a comfortable place to sit comfortably. Stretch and massage the area. Make sure they consume a beverage with electrolytes such as sports drinks, fruit juice or milk. Avoid salt tablets at all costs.   

Heat Exhaustion

Who: This one affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers, factory workers and people wearing heavy clothing in the heat and humidity.

What happens: Look for person with cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin. The individual may experience a headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and/or exhaustion.

How to treat: Move this person to a cool environment with circulating air. Remove as much clothing as possible, apply cold wet cloth/towels and fan or mist the individual with water. If conscious, provide the individual with cold drinks that contain electrolytes, milk or water. The Red Cross recommends 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes

If he or she’s condition worsens, refuses water, changes consciousness or vomits: call 911

Heat Stroke

Why: Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, caused by ignoring signs of heat exhaustion. The body systems are fully overwhelmed and stop functioning.

What happens: Look for red skin, dry or moist. The person changes consciousness, may have a rapid, weak pulse or rapid shallow breathing. He or she may be confused, vomiting or even experience seizures.

How to treat: Call 911 immediately. In the meantime, rapidly cool the body by immersing completely in cold water up to one’s neck or douse or spray the person with cold water. Press ice-water soaked towels over the body while quickly rotating the towels. Cover them with bags of ice. If there is no way to read one’s temperature, apply these methods for 20 minutes.

For more information visit the Red Cross page on treating heat-related illnesses.

Among heat exhaustion, Bonnaroo has an impressive website outlining safety related to alcohol, drugs, food, sexual assault prevention and so much more.

 

 

ANOTHER LIFE LOST TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

 
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ANOTHER LIFE LOST TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

WEDNESDAY // MAY 3, 2018

Last week the live entertainment industry lost yet another young, talented artist far too soon. Tim Bergling, better known as the Swedish DJ Avicii, had been pronounced dead in his hotel room in Oman at age 28. With recent news of Bergling passing by suicide, the topic of mental health once again takes center stage.

On Tuesday, TMZ reported details far too private surrounding the tragic passing of Bergling. Furthermore, TMZ's language of "committing suicide" focuses the entire blame on Bergling himself - something that immensely contributes to the stigma surrounding mental health. In turn, this stigma fuels even more tragedies when individuals are afraid to get the help they truly need and deserve. Instead, we recognize that Bergling died by suicide - something we must keep saying in the fight for mental health. 

Though the actual details are and should remain private within his family and loved ones, the news of a clear suicide waves another blatant red flag in the face of our industry - one we should never ignore. 

Bergling’s family had first released a statement thanking his loved ones and beloved fans for the public gatherings, church bells celebrating his music and the several Coachella tributes the first day of weekend 2, April 20 - the day news of his death occurred.

Three days later, the family released a second statement, alluding to Bergling’s death had possibly been caused by suicide. The open letter read:

Stockholm, 26 April 2018

Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions.

An over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.

When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.

He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness.

He could not go on any longer.

He wanted to find peace.

Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.

Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed.

The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive. We love you,

Your family

How many beloved individuals within our industry will leave us far too soon for us to position mental health on the same level as importance of physical health?

Bergling’s fans have taken to social media sites to express outrage toward the DJ's management, accusing them as far as working him to death.

The backstory? Bergling had suffered from acute pancreatitis and a number of other serious health conditions, CBS News reported. And in 2014, Bergling had his gallbladder and appendix removed, cancelled shows to recover, and even retired from touring in 2016.  

Signs from his documentary Avicii: True Stories, released six months prior to his death, show fans his struggle to keep up with his strenuous career. More specifically, there is a video clip fans are talking about most - see the clip below.

 

In response to the resurfaced clip, fans expressed their anger in Tweets such as:

 
 

To put all blame on management or any one person isn’t exactly the way to go about the aftermath of such tragedy. In the end it’s mental health we must tackle head on and recognize when enough is enough - before it’s too late.

Looking at Bergling’s circumstances and examining just how well he was treated does spark concern for the lack of mental health care he received - if he received any at all.

One article in Digital Music News, touched on the machine Tim Bergling created: the Avicii Machine, basically “Avicii, Inc.” To elaborate, slowing down Bergling - slowing down the machine - means less income for the several people involved in his team.

Just how much money was this machine making? After “Levels” put him into the spotlight in 2011, Bergling’s 2013 hit “Wake Me Up” marked Spotify’s most streamed song ever. At the peak of Bergling’s success in 2014, he made $28 million in one year. Looking at his career as a whole, between 2012 and 2016, Bergling made almost $90 million from his music, QZ reported.

To slow the machine down while it rapidly picked up would mean slowing down the incredible income Bergling was earning - for everybody involved.

Bergling played 320 shows in one year, up until March 2016 when he decided to retire, Daily Mail reported. His documentary revealed many disagreements between him and his manager, Arash ‘Ash’ Pournouri had about keeping the machine going.

In one scene Bergling reveals to his friends about these conversations saying, ‘I have said, like, I’m going to die. I have said it so many times. And so I don’t want to hear that I should ever entertain the thought of doing another gig. And I know Arash knows this, which is why I feel extra hurt - because he has said that [I should play more gigs] when it suits him,’ cited Daily Mail.  

The film also captures Pournouri stating Bergling ‘doesn’t understand the value of money. And he doesn’t understand how his decisions affects other people very negatively’ after Bergling decided to put the state of his well being first before touring.

Bergling’s career took off in 2008 when he was only 17 and Pournouri, 26. At that young age with little experience, an artist may not know of their limits, Pournouri actually said of Bergling at Sydney’s Electronic Music Conference in 2012, Junkee reported.  

And his limits were pushed very much so. There are many instances the documentary captures with the pressure put on Bergling to continue forward, despite the mental and physical problems he suffered with on a daily basis. The documentary also revealed how alcohol battled his anxiety and stress, being a self-proclaimed introvert. The documentary painstakingly captured Bergling’s experienced anxiety and panic attacks.    

In terms of his passing, we cannot play the blame game. Of course, we can say his management put indescribable pressure on Bergling. Of course, we can suggest the dynamics within his team communication and overwhelming scheduling triggered his poor mental health and alcoholism.

But as we have discussed in multiple mental health articles before, we must apply the same to Bergling’s passing: in the end, the only one responsible for saving your mental health, is you. You must be in control of your own mental well being.

Did the years of untreated poor mental health and physical health become too much for Bergling to bear? Yes. This is where we must tackle the issue to prevent the number of fatal outcomes to mental health from growing within our industry. On the surface level, it’s easy to blame Bergling himself - for the alcoholism, for the alleged self-inflicted wound causing his death.

But - Mental health is not a surface level topic! Nor should anyone ever treat it as such.

What we do know is individuals struggling with mental health commonly abuse a number of substances in order to cope. In wake of his 2016 retirement, Bergling had expressed his personal struggles and need for help to his fans through a since deleted letter on his site regarding his retirement.  

In the end Bergling decided to keep pushing himself during his most troubling times. Clearly, Bergling had retired too late - after much of the mental and physical damage had already been done.

We have to continue to change the culture. We really have to show how much we care about the people surrounding us by continuing to check in on their lives.  

Bergling’s management should have grasped the importance of wellness over money and success. It could be safe to say if your team fails to acknowledge your overall well being first, you should reconsider the team completely. Surround yourself with others who support your mental and physical health. No precious life is worth a temporary income - no matter how large that income may be.

Instead of adding Bergling’s name on the list of a young, talented musicians tragic ending, we have to act. We must educate everyone from management, to fans to promoters to clubs to investors about the real result of untreated mental health. Everyone is talking, but when will everyone start doing?  

Remedy State: IMS Ibiza holistic program

Mixmag believes the EDM industry - but perhaps the whole music industry as a whole - needs to implement policies of their own. Create mandatory breaks from touring. Create more accessible events for touring artists such as Remedy State: IMS Ibiza holistic program featuring mindfulness, exercise, physical therapy, medical evaluation and nutrition.

This retreat is so tailored for the constant touring artist - it is founded by IMS’ Ben Turner and OWSLA co-owner Blaise James DeAngelo. The practices taking place at the program are a direct response to the touring lifestyle.

The website addresses the irony within the music industry. If music is meant to heal the mind, body and soul, why does the lifestyle support the opposite effect?

This is just the beginning. We need to establish more industry-specific retreats such as these. What if there was one day dedicated to mental health within our industry? Bell Let’s Talk Day occurs in Canada every year. But what if this day prevented any shows from occurring? What if work stopped for just one day to focus on the lives of touring artists?

It’s not that far fetched. Although religious driven, Nyepi Day in Bali, Indonesia, better known as the Bali Day of Silence, occurs every year on March 17. Literally everything on the island shuts down. Lights are shut off. No vehicles are allowed on the streets. All travel is shut down. Most tourists avoid this day altogether.

Just what if there was a day like this for touring artists? What if, for one day out of the 365 days of the year, our industry put mental health on the spotlight and silenced our loud speakers to reflect on ourselves and our loved ones?

What if, for those 24 hours we positioned self-care before money and fame? What if we recognized ourselves as human - not a machine?
 

WHEN SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS INDOOR STADIUMS

  (Image via  Yahoo Canada Sports )

WHEN SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS INDOOR STADIUMS

WEDNESDAY // APRIL 25, 2018

Indoor venues are meant to eliminate concerns about weather conditions having impact on any event. Right?

However, last week the major northeastern spring blizzards tested this belief when ice chunks impaled the roof of the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. This incident actually caused the Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals to postpone their major league baseball game after ice and insulation falling from the CN Tower literally crashed onto the field, Pollstar reported.

Just how bad was the damage? According to Andrew Miller, the Blue Jays’ executive vice president of business operations, the ice tore a 3’x5’ hole in the PVC roof over right field which sent the ice and pieces of insulation onto the turf, Pollstar reported.

In fact, this marks the very first time ice has hit the steel deck supporting the roof of the Rogers Centre and should be thankful the damage didn’t cause a “progressive collapse,” CTV News reported.

Furthermore, the Rogers Centre actually had the first retractable stadium roof in North America, back when it opened in 1989. The original structural engineer, Michael Allen, told CTV News the hole was actually relatively minor and that they actually ran computer modeling of a scenario where something falling from the sky would hit the roof. Allen and his team concluded that even a 9-meter diameter hole through a critical part of the roof would still deem the roof safe.

In regards to sports and events, this was the first weather-related postponement at this venue since 2001, when two panels of the stadium’s moving roof collided.

Another effect of the major northeastern spring blizzard occurred on Saturday, April 14. Heavy rains caused the Air Canada Centre to leak during Game 1, but thankfully only had a short delay, Larry Brown Sports reported.

 

On January 8, 2018, a leak went through the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium about two hours before scheduled kickoff at the national Championship game. College football reporter Jeff Sentell tweeted that the location of the drip occurred around the 25-yard line between the hashes.”

Other users offered their input about the stadium leakage, such as CFB writer/analyst Barrett Sallee below:

 

So what does it take for a venue to be perfectly constructed against these kinds of conditions? Just eight days before Minneapolis’s U.S. Bank Stadium - home to Super Bowl 52 - first opened in July 2016, “extreme weather caused some zinc panels on the exterior of the building to partially disengage,” SB Nation reported.

While the panels did not need replacing, they sure could cause leaks during a snowstorm. That is until about five months later, severe winds ripped a panel off of the stadium, resulting in the installation of 4,000 fasteners - a project that took ten months to complete.

So the answer to a perfect venue that can withstand severe weather such as Minneapolis could be months of repairs, renovations and about $1.1 billion. Go figure!  

As for the Rogers Centre? Repairs to the hole were said to have begun the same week, as you can see in the below video of fearless repairmen.

Falling ice eventually forced the cancellation of Monday night's baseball game Become a weather junkie -- SUBSCRIBE NOW Follow us on Twitter ► https://twitter.com/weathernetwork Like us on Facebook ►https://facebook.com/theweathernetworkCAN/ Follow us on Instagram ► https://instagram.com/weathernetwork/ Weather Network approved!

 

 

HOW TO RESPOND TO FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS

  (screenshot via   YouTube )

(screenshot via YouTube)

HOW TO RESPOND TO FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS

WEDNESDAY // APRIL 18, 2018

Through all the Coachella Festival madness, you may not have heard about the Coachella fire that sparked about six miles from the Empire Polo Fields shortly after Beyonce’s performance Saturday evening.

“Dry vegetation helped fuel the fire, which was first reported around 4:30 a.m. Sunday near the 46600 block of Tyler Street,” KSEQ reported.

Firefighters contained the Tyler Fire by 2:45 p.m. on Sunday after 15 acres of land had burned and caused downed power lines. Thankfully nobody was injured and no damage to any structures occurred.

 

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, humans have caused the fire and the investigation is still ongoing.

Coachella Music Festival had luck on their side with the fire having zero impact on the major outdoor event and its festival goers’ safety.   

This does, however, bring an important topic front and center. How do we properly respond to fire-related incidents during an outdoor event, not just Coachella?

In an event where a fire were to occur on stage during load-in, setup, or load-out, does your crew know what proper actions to take and when?    

The Event Safety Alliance discussed this topic in the past based on the knowledge of fire experts, where we outlined below.

Do we fight the fire or evacuate? The fire experts told the ESA most cases are best to evacuate, since seemingly manageable fires may quickly grow too large to contain without the experts and proper equipment.

Two rule of thumbs:

  1. If the fire is bigger than you, get out as quickly as possible while collecting as many people with you and urging others to avoid the area. Make sure somebody called 911.

  2. If the fire is smaller than you, alert everyone to evacuate and find the nearest fire extinguisher. If you prevail, follow the first step above.

The ESA outlines some considerations in attempting to extinguish a fire, found on the ESA’s blog post, listed below:

  • Know the location of each fire extinguisher in your workspace and have been properly trained in its use. Likewise, ensure that the extinguisher is appropriate for the type of fire you are fighting

  • It is best to have a partner when fighting a fire. While one of you is operating the extinguisher, the other can remain focused on the “big picture” and stay in a position to determine if your efforts are diminishing the size of the fire. If the fire is not immediately getting smaller or you doubt whether you are having a significant effect, leave.

  • While fighting a small fire, always do so from a position between the fire and an accessible exit. Keep your back to the exit in case you must leave quickly. If in doubt, get out. If anything concerns you about your safety, exit immediately and help others do the same. Let properly equipped fire fighters extinguish the fire.

  • Do not attempt to move burning materials, especially towards occupied areas (such as the audience). While separating materials may seem like an effective way to prevent a fire from increasing in size, you risk injury and spreading the fire.

  • ALWAYS remove power (shut off electric) BEFORE fighting a fire involving electrical equipment. Electricity can be far more hazardous to those fighting the fire than the fire itself. If you are unable to remove power to electrical equipment, you should not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself. Wait until the equipment is de-energized to fight the fire.

  • The smoke from burning synthetic textiles (e.g., curtains, clothing, etc.)–and many other synthetic materials such as props, instruments, and furniture–can be highly toxic. (http://fashionbi.com/newspaper/the-health-risks-of-toxic-fibers-and-fabrics). Similarly, the extinguishing agent (powder) from dry chemical and dry powder extinguishers can produce a type of “smoke” that can be irritating and cause respiratory problems for those exposed to it. All people should be evacuated from any smoke-filled area, whether the smoke is from the fire or the fire extinguisher.

  • Assign someone to meet emergency responders at the street (or wherever they will arrive) and show them exactly how to access the fire area. Also, have someone available to them who knows the electrical system well. These two actions can take minutes off of how long it takes to extinguish a fire and are wildly helpful to emergency responders.

The ESA concludes by telling us the best protection against a fire is through prevention, but knowing what to do makes all the difference.

PROTECT YOUR GEAR FROM THEFT

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PROTECT YOUR GEAR FROM THEFT

THURSDAY // APRIL 12, 2018

On Friday, March 30, 2018, a thief stole the instruments of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band guitarist, Nils Lofgren, prior to his show in Dallas, Texas. Four guitars, harps, tools and other equipment were among the items stolen from the band’s van parked at the Holiday Inn Express, FOX4Dallas reported.

Lofgren felt devastated from losing many sentimental guitars brought with him on tours around the world over the time span of 50 years and 6,000 shows. Despite the loss, Lofgren reassured fans the great show would go on, as a professional musician would be expected to do.

That same night, the guitarist tweeted, “I’m devastated by this robbery. These are my first shows out after a very difficult year. Please consider a retweet. Alas, the show must go on. @KesslerTheater it won’t be the show I was planning on. However I do plan on taking the roof off.”

Lofgren was able to continue the show by borrowing and renting what he needed to make it happen.

Lofgren told FOX4Dallas the thief broke into the van, put the equipment into his trunk and drove off. Thanks to surveillance video, police recovered Lofgren’s guitars the following Monday, and an arrest was made.  

What if this happened to you? And more importantly, what if you didn’t have the resources to have the show go on?

Musicians, performers, venue employees, drivers, touring crew, tech crew, stagehands, and just about any other occupation in the live entertainment industry are subject to losing the precious gear that pay the bills - if they don’t take the right precautions.

How the perpetrator broke has yet to be announced. The investigation of the break-in is still underway, but here are some helpful tips you should consider, provided by gigging musician and deputy sheriff, Jerry Cress, on Disc Makers Blog.

First thing’s first: Document the Sale & Insure Your Gear

If you buy equipment from a private seller, you are urged to have the original owner / private seller, provide documentation of the sale, i.e. “On this date (date), I sold (equipment), serial #_, to (your name) for the amount of (price).”

Inspect your home and car insurance policies in detail. Spend the money to receive instrument insurance.

Keep a record of every single piece of equipment in your possession.

Lock your doors

It might seem like the obvious action, but in the smallest moment you are away from your car is when this type of thief succeeds. Running in the gas station to pay in cash? Lock your car. Forgot your wallet inside? Lock your car. Running down the hotel lobby for some ice? Lock your door! Thieves are constantly on the lookout for anybody who lets their guard down, even for a split second.

Reported recently in Simi Valley, California, is news about gas station “slider thefts” who essentially will slide up to a person’s car out of sight while he or she is getting gas and snatch belongings before quickly escaping the scene.

You can see footage of this happening below:

 

Imagine filling up the tank of your touring van holding thousands of dollars of gear, only to turn around to an empty backseat. So, moral of this lesson is to lock your doors at all time, even if you’re just getting gas.

Keep a clean car and cover your windows

Don’t leave your gear in a vehicle unless you absolutely have to. As soon as you’re able to unload your gear, do so. Leaving important gear in your car on display is comparable to window shopping for a thief. Don’t tempt them. Otherwise, it may be a great idea to invest in some curtains to hide the gear you have inside.

Stay out of the dark

Avoid parking your vehicle holding gear in a back, dark lot of your gig location or hotel. Park in an area with lights, and as close to your gig venue as you can possibly get. Check on your vehicle every so often.

Work as a team

This step may remind you of being in an airport, to never leave your bags unattended. The same goes for loading in and out. In an instant, your unattended equipment can be snatched while you’re loading something else in or out. Have someone in your crew watch the rest of your stuff if you’re preoccupied with something else, whatever that may be.

Rethink your rehearsal space

How does everyone know where the neighborhood band is? They can hear ‘em. That being known, everyone then is aware of the gear inside that house in that garage. The noise complaints and cops outside the house addressing those complaints sure don’t go unnoticed, especially to a thief curious as to what’s inside.

The article also addresses the issue with garage break-ins, and the ease most garage doors have with break-ins built for emergencies. The author suggests investing in good locks or deadbolts and to cover the windows. He further suggests not storing gear in the garage is the surefire way to prevent any of the above.

Invest in lights and alarm systems

Outside light sensors usually shoo a burglar away. Also invest in an alarm system that will notify you right away if there is a breach.

HOW TO PREVENT & COPE WITH ANXIETY AT YOUR FESTIVAL GIG

HOW TO PREVENT & COPE WITH ANXIETY AT YOUR FESTIVAL GIG

MONDAY // APRIL 9, 2018

It’s officially festival season. Whether you’re the musician, performer, venue employee, volunteer, security, driver, touring crew, camping operations, tech crew, stagehand, ticketing operations, etc...working at a days-long music festival can throw serious curve balls at your mental health.

Behind-the-scene areas can be just as chaotic as the elements posed to the general public. You’re constantly just trying to do your job, but sometimes the music festival environment can throw you off balance.

Factors include but are not limited to a lack of sleep, working overtime, sensory overload, dehydration, high-stress environment, skipping meals and much more.

More recently than before, an increasing number of countries are finally beginning to put mental health on the same level of importance as physical wellbeing. In an industry already mentally and physically demanding, paying attention to your own wellness often comes second, if not last.

In the days leading up to and during your festival gig, feelings of anxiety are highly common. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with approximately 40 million people affected, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Each individual is widely unique from the next, so each formula will differ in regards to what works and what does not.

That being said, here is our round-up of tips and tricks you may consider to prevent anxiety, to combat anxiety or what to do if you experience a full-blown panic attack during your festival gig.

Prevention: Prepare for the days ahead

You know you’ll be working at Coachella in a few days, so now is the time to prepare yourself both physically and mentally.

It’s kind of like preparing for a marathon minus actually being in the marathon. Physically prepare yourself by feeding your body the right nutrients it needs and getting enough sleep during the nights leading up to the festival.

Your friends and family may have the common misconception about you working behind the scenes of a music festival - meaning, you’ll receive lavish treatment alongside festival acts they dream to see in concert. Sorry to disappoint your loved ones, you remind them the only person there to take care of you is YOU. And besides, most of the festival acts have their own trailers or spaces separate from the backstage crew.

Long story short, you need to be responsible for keeping your physical health in check. Particular circumstances may call for you to stand for longer than normal periods of time, remain in crowded areas (yes, even backstage, especially before/during performances of bigger artists), spend lots of time away from air conditioned rooms or resort to a meal you wouldn’t normally opt for.

If you prepare with lots of sleep and nutritious meals, your body will react stronger to unforeseen situations at the festival. Lack of sleep contributes to both stress and anxiety, so going into the festival with your energy tank full is highly recommended.

Like we’ve said in previous blog posts, the more stressed you are, the less likely you are to sleep and having a bad night’s sleep prior to working at the festival will contribute further to that stress and cause anxiety.

And again, too much caffeine intake and/or smoking cigarettes to combat sleep deprivation and stress, respectively, are both recipes for anxiety.

If you’ve never been to the venue, try and familiarize yourself with it through maps, research or even a Google maps image of the outside. It may seem like the obvious thing to do, but double or triple checking may ease your nerves.

Also noting the locations to exits, entrances, emergency exits and medical tents is both helpful and comforting. Apply this same knowledge to both general public areas and backstage.

Prior to the festival, try to tell yourself and expect that you cannot control everything. Roll with the punches and do your best. If you are doing the absolute best job you can do in your control then you’ll have to settle for it - and be proud!

Feeling Anxious

Of course, there is a big difference between feeling anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder. Regardless, when facing these feelings, it may be safe to say the individual is experiencing behavioral anxiety, a response to frightening or stressful situations, Life Hacker reported.

There are many theories pertaining to the origin of anxiety and many forms of anxiety disorders. Whether you are one or the other, repetitive feelings of anxiety, strong or mild can have a negative impact on your state of mind during the big event.

Despite all attempts at prevention, you begin to tense up, have an overwhelming sense of awareness of all your surroundings and feel fearful and/or dreadful. This is the definition of anxiety.

But how do you know if you are experiencing a panic attack? Outlined by Anxiety BC, there are 4 Facts you should know about panic attacks:

  1. Panic attacks are simply the body’s fight/flight/freeze response even when there is no real danger present. A physical response may include an increased heart rate.
  2. Although scary and/or uncomfortable, panic attacks are harmless. They are compared to an alarm system within your body, but not designed to cause real harm.
  3. Panic attacks only last about 5-10 minutes, although they may feel as if they last an eternity.
  4. Many times, most people won’t be able to see you experiencing one. Those closest to you will, but for the most part they are internal experiences.

Outlined by the Anxiety And Depression Association of America (ADAA), here are some strategies you can use to decrease the intensity of a panic attack. Anxiety BC urges one to use these techniques NOT to stop a panic attack, but to help you ride it out until it’s over.

  • Take deep breaths; concentrate on inhaling and exhaling slowly through your nose. Not just in the event of a panic attack, but also throughout the day while feeling stressed.
    • Don’t use breathing to stop a panic attack, because it’ll only make it worse. Instead, use breathing techniques to lessen the intensity, Anxiety BC reported.
    • Slowly count to 10 or 20 if necessary

Taking a time out not be possible with your role at the festival, but in any moment you have a team member who can take your place for a small window of 5-10 minutes, getting some fresh air away from the chaos in a comfortable area works wonders.

  • In preparation to the festival, stowing some headphones in your pocket for this situation also helps remove yourself mentally from the chaotic scene
  • Learn some relaxation techniques such as meditation - meditation during a festival, yeah right. This is where headphones and a space to close your eyes for a brief moment can really help.
  • If possible, try some of these Muscle Relaxation techniques. This is more effective if you start practicing these in times not suffering from a panic attack. So in the event you experience one, this technique will be a piece of cake.  

Adopt Realistic Thinking

According to Anxiety BC, what occurs in the mind during a panic attack can be categorized as overestimating or catastrophizing.

  • Overestimating: Picturing the worst outcome (that most likely will not happen) is going to happen, such as having a heart attack due to your panic attack
    • Fight back: These thoughts are NOT facts. You are mistaking a possibility for a probability. Ask yourself how likely this outcome actually is.
  • Catastrophizing: Thinking the worst thing will happen and you won’t be able to deal with it, such as fainting from a panic attack and having others laugh and judge you  
    • Fight back: Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen when coping with the negative situation. Would it really make a difference in the duration of a year?  

These are just some of the tools one can use to combat a panic attack. Many more involve steps to take at home, away from the festival scene, that will overall help you when you are challenged with a panic attack on the job.

To read more in detail about panic attacks and management strategies you can take during the attack, before and after click here.

Finally, when the festival is all said and done, it is crucial to take at least one day off to regroup. Your hard work, long hours, lack of sleep and/or nutrition probably derailed from its normal, healthy path so it is important to give your body and mind the rest it needs and deserves.

Really try to put down the phone and refrain from checking every single email the day after the festival. Those follow-up emails and thank-yous can very well wait 24 hours.

When you do return to work, this could be the perfect time to open up to your team about how you’re feeling.

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, chances are your team members feel the same way and a support system is formed.

This could also be a time to speak with teammates and supervisors about what went well and what did not.

Evaluate the situations that caused the most stress by writing them down, discussing them and making a lasting change for future festivals and events.

In turn, encourage your team to open up by asking how they are really feeling and offering a helping hand. According to Conference & Incentive Travel that ranked events industry professionals No.5 on the most stressful jobs, a staggering 38% of individuals do not want to ask for help.

Reassuring your teammates they’re not alone could very well change this percentage and the stigma associated with mental health in our industry.  
 

"Strike A Chord" Discussion Spoke Volumes On Mental Wellness in the Entertainment Industry

  Those who participated in the panel include Talinda Bennington, Chester's wife; Anna Shinoda, Chester's band mate's wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring & Production for Linkin Park; Joey "Vendetta" Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada; & Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give an Hour

Those who participated in the panel include Talinda Bennington, Chester's wife; Anna Shinoda, Chester's band mate's wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring & Production for Linkin Park; Joey "Vendetta" Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada; & Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give an Hour

Strike A Chord Discussion Spoke Volumes On Mental Wellness in the Entertainment Industry

By: Dana Janssen, TourReady, Inc. 

WEDNESDAY // FEBRUARY 28, 2018

In July 2017, the music world tragically and abruptly lost the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington. Born out of tragedy, on January 31, 2018, the Strike A Chord Discussion at Live Nation Canada focused on mental wellness in the entertainment industry and specific actions to take better care of ourselves and each other.

While working in the entertainment industry is rewarding, the lifestyle itself creates challenges to our mental health. The constantly evolving industry creates a high-pressure, stressful environment where we tend to place our entire well being on the back burner as a matter of course.

High stress, lack of sleep, chronic jet lag, poor eating habits, and a lack of exercise are just a few of the challenges touring professionals deal with on a daily basis. A 2017 American business traveler study from On Call International found that ⅓ of road warriors experience higher than normal stress levels, causing several issues including the growth or worsening of depression and anxiety.

In response to the growing number of individuals who are emotionally suffering, Live Nation CanadaBell Let's TalkWarner Music CanadaCanadian Event Safety and Event Safety Alliance (ESA) teamed up to spread mental health awareness and voice a new approach for people to easily find the help they deserve.

Those participating in the panel were those closest to Chester, including Talinda Bennington, Chester’s wife; Anna Shinoda, Author and Chester’s band mate’s wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring and Production for Linkin Park; and Joey “Vendetta” Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada. Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give An Hour also joined the event. Give an Hour leads the Campaign to Change Direction and is now working closely with Talinda Bennington to reach those who are in need of mental health care and support. 

In addition to the organizations previously listed, attendees of the private event included The AFC, a company that provides emergency funding for Canada’s entertainment industry; OVER THE BRIDGE, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and addiction awareness and support resources; and TourReady, Inc., a partner of the ESA working to spread the Canadian initiatives on mental health awareness and actions in the United States.

The group disclosed personal experiences in order to discuss how to talk about mental health; recognize warning signs, changes in behaviors and triggers; seek support for ourselves; and how to help those surrounding us who are suffering emotionally and/or dealing with addiction.

Live entertainment individuals gathered before the panel hoping to make a lasting change across the industry in the aftermath of the loss of Chester. We hope to heal ourselves and those in need. The discussion on mental health has well begun reaching higher volumes and has sparked the world to listen more than ever before. People are finally talking.

Live Nation Canada furnished the discussion room with round tables, chairs, comfortable red couches and coffee tables. Each table displayed several handouts of a graphic picturing the Campaign to Change Direction’s Five Signs of someone who suffers from emotional pain and might need support.

Samantha Slattery, co-chair and executive director of Capital Presents opened the event alongside Janet Sellery, co-chair and health & safety consultant of Sellery Health + Safety.

Digging deep into sensitive topics, Sellery reminded the audience to excuse themselves if anyone is left feeling vulnerable, and offered an on-site psychotherapist for support. Digby advised the audience to take a deep breath before diving into the crucial discussion.

“We Let Our Guard Down”

There had been no overt signs prior to the loss of Chester, Digby said. The Linkin Park Family welcomed Digby in 2002, throughout the journey the family ideal continually evolved to it’s most recent place of nearly perfect. Chester’s sudden passing devastated the entire family who never saw this coming.

Not only did grief and shock overwhelm the LP family, but also their dedicated and loyal fans. The difficult lyrics, Digby said, spoke to fans in a uniquely genuine way. Fans coped with the loss of their hero heavily through social media, supporting one another through asking for help in their own lives.

The most important and alarming factor is that depression rarely has a face. There are very few “tells” and in some cases none. Though after the fact we can sometimes see indications – or “signs” of the pain or suffering that was hidden.

Some of Chester’s inner demons were known over the years and had played a crucial part of who he was. However, during the months preceding his loss it appeared as though he had things under control. “In fact,” Digby said, “this was the best, and most in control Chester we had ever seen."

The discussion presented a home video of a seemingly joyful Chester in good spirits playing The Jelly Bean Challenge with loved ones.  Digby challenged the audience to identify anything out of the ordinary in the video. No one could.

The video was shot only 36 hours before his passing.

“Our guard was down,” Digby said. “He was presenting himself as newly transformed and completely in control.”

Musicians are far too familiar with experiencing emotional ups and downs. With each performance comes the body’s own natural high. The artist connects with the audience, the audience adornment produces a chemical response including dopamine, adrenalin and cortisol, all of which need to be managed, Digby said.

Not only do artists experience these highs, but also crew members behind the scenes will and do as well in their excitement over the thrill of the job. OVER THE BRIDGE recognizes the wide range of industry professionals who may experience similar mental health challenges, including but not limited to, “musicians, booking agents, venue owners, event security, hospitality personnel, bus/truck drivers, and local crew and touring crew.”

The problem occurs when the show is over, the hotel door shuts and the lights turn off. What happens after experiencing such a huge high followed by the quietness of a hotel room or bus bunk? Sometimes to continue reveling in the euphoric rush, substance use or other addictive behaviors become normalized.

Despite the anecdotal reports of post-performance lows and substance use and addiction to combat these lows, there is a lack of research to back the important issues that have become very normalized amongst musicians.

Ace Piva of OVER THE BRIDGE and his research team designed a study that measures musician post-performance mood response and how those individuals manage, cope and celebrate those emotions. The team is currently sorting through the collected data of the study produced under the supervision of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“It is our duty to acknowledge it and make it ok to talk about it to try and help others help themselves or someone they care about,” Digby said. “That’s why we’re here.”

“What Did I Miss?”

Although Talinda and Chester were inseparable from the start, the two began as emotionally unhealthy in their own, separate ways. He had struggled with depression and addiction in the past, something Talinda had strived again and again to understand from her perspective - a totally unknown territory.

“We can seem so normal and so okay, and then not be okay - in an instant,” Talinda said. 

At the time of his passing, Chester had practiced sobriety for six months and was also enrolled in an outpatient treatment program.

Any relapse in the past resulted in utmost, indescribable shame within Chester.  In addition to overwhelming shame, Talinda recalled the ongoing pressure Chester experienced throughout his musical career. With each album success came the pressure to achieve an even higher success on the next album, while at the same time fighting hard for self-improvement.

His loved ones will remain unaware of Chester’s thought process during his final moments, but the only things to blame are disease, addiction and mental illness. What are some of the issues victims’ loved ones experience in the aftermath of a tragic loss such as Chester’s?

To answer this question, TourReady spoke to Van Dahlen, who, through Give an Hour, created a national network of volunteer mental health professionals who provide free and confidential mental health care to those in need including those who serve, veterans and their families.

The grief survived loved ones are left with, Van Dahlen told TourReady, is overwhelming and they wish to undo it.

“Survivors guilt,” she said, “is an actual phenomenon that we frequently see when someone dies by suicide, when there are traumas, natural disasters occur, or in the aftermath of an mass shooting.”

Both survivors and loved ones live with thoughts such as, “What did I miss?”; “Could I have prevented it?”;  “Recognized it?”; and, “Could I have seen it coming?”

The answer is that it is typically extremely difficult to prevent these traumas or tragedies.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time,” Van Dahlen continued, “the survivor couldn’t have changed [the outcome] or stopped it.”

Following the immediate aftermath, these feelings are normal and understandable. However, people will have to judge how well they can tolerate [those feelings], Van Dahlen said.

“When a survivor’s grief becomes unremitting and begins to preoccupy the individual throughout the day or late at night, people deserve proper care, support and attention to work through these feelings and reactions so that they can move on,” Van Dahlen said.

Instead of attempting to answer the why we must understand his passing as a recipe for a tragic final conclusion.

“Typically, there are multiple factors that contribute to someone’s death by suicide. In Chester’s case it may have been past traumas, the impact of addition and the loss of his close friend, Chris Cornell - how these all fit together, for Chester, we will likely never know,” Van Dahlen said.

Remaining stuck in the endlessly tangled search for answers will solely result in significant suffering within the individuals who are left behind.

Based on what we know from those closest to him, the years of untreated mental health and substance abuse led to his loss against the battle of mental health.

Thanks to the individuals who shared their experiences at Strike A Chord, the music industry continues to take a huge step forward to remove the stigma surrounding mental health, in hopes of changing the culture for future generations to come.

Changing the Culture

The stigma associated with mental health, mental illness and addiction contributes to the overwhelming emotional suffering within the individual.

Shinoda shared an entry on her personal blog the embarrassment she felt and costs associated with mental health that she, too, suffered with prior to finding what methods work best.

Shinoda discussed the issue of the mental health stigma that turns people away from seeking the attention they deserve. One simple way we can combat the stigma is to change the language we use in society when discussing mental health.

She introduced the phrase committed suicide alone heavily weighs blame on the victim for a tragic end of his or her emotional suffering. If instead, we begin to say died by suicide, we recognize a very real, fatal outcome for untreated mental illnesses.

We need to change the culture. It can feel embarrassing, and the time it takes to navigate affordable resources heightens the stigma, leaving a threat to mental wellbeing untreated. Moving beyond the stigma takes effort from everyone to look after one another in support.

Talinda said something that will resonate with me for the years to come: “When we ask ‘how are you,’ are we really asking, ‘how are you?’”

Think about the last time someone asked you this question, and what their response might have been. Did they ignore your answer? Did they look in the other direction? Did they walk away from you?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you know the abrupt exchange was not a positive one.

Again, we may seem so normal but we aren’t always okay.

Talinda teamed up with Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction to launch a new initiative in honor of Chester’s life, 320 Changes Direction.

Being able to speak openly about these struggles encourages those in need to seek the care they deserve. This is one of the two needs the Campaign to Change Direction and 320 Changes Direction initiative aims to satisfy.

By first changing the culture of mental health, Change Direction and Talinda seek to build a new approach for those suffering to easily find help they need and deserve. In this industry, checking in with each other - caring for each other’s mental wellbeing - is crucial.

When the Campaign to Change Direction launched on March 2, 2015, their 50 partners, and now 320 Changes Direction, have pledged to educate the world about the Five Signs of emotional suffering in order to launch a public health effort for everyone – to encourage all of us to care for our emotional well being. With one in five Americans dealing with a mental health challenge, it is no surprise First Lady Michelle Obama helped launch the campaign as their keynote speaker in Washington, D.C.

Van Dahlen compared knowing the signs of a heart attack equally as important as recognizing the signs of emotional suffering.

“We would never say ‘suck it up’ to cancer,” Van Dahlen continued, “so why would we [say that] to someone who is emotionally suffering?”

Changing this stigma also lies in the hands of parents who should encourage their children to think and talk about their emotional wellbeing.

“We teach them about issues such as drugs and sex but we don’t spend a whole lot of time helping them grow emotionally fit,” Van Dahlen said. She made the argument emotional wellbeing is a bedrock for success in life, healthy relationships, families and communities.

Putting time and energy into the prevention of emotional suffering is a great start to ensuring our children are emotionally healthy to begin with.

There is hope for new pathways, Van Dahlen continued, but there is no pill to fix a mental health challenge. Although there are pills to aid mental suffering, such as an aid in sleep after a post-traumatic event, one still needs to put in the work.

Seeking Self-Help

To understand the difference between an emotionally suffering individual and one who is not, each individual’s brain differs widely from the rest. Humans have yet to understand how each and every brain works in its entirety – but this is ok because there is a lot we do know about how our brains contribute to our feelings and our behaviors.

Along with the movement to drive culture change, the second goal of these amazing organizations aims to create a new approach to guarantee easy access in finding help whenever necessary.

The ability to help ourselves is what we do understand. Humans have the capability to heal and change behavior patterns, Van Dahlen said.

During the struggle of his own mental health journey, Scoleri compared the incessant rumination plagued over his brain to spiders searching for every negative thought imaginable.

To help himself, other habits Scoleri currently practices include meditation, exercise, avoiding caffeine/alcohol, eating clean, eliminating social media, turning one’s phone off two hours prior to bed, and much more he listed on a convenient handout at the discussion.

The problem is, Scoleri revealed, is no one provided his personal list of tips for him. He had to recognize his own need for help and work for it.

The panel then displayed a quote by Maya Angelou:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Mental health awareness training, Digby said, is a good idea. We have already seen both Canada and the UK jump ahead with government funding toward mental health first aid. And the Campaign to Change Direction launched the Five Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-being that we can all learn and practice on www.changedirection.org.

Bell Let’s Talk has created their own five ways to end the stigma around mental illness, described on the home page of their website.

More industry specific, the AFC, formerly known as the Actors Fund of Canada, is described as the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Each year, the organization distributes $500,000 in emergency financial aid to help all entertainment industry professionals suffering from injury, illness or other personal hardships.

In addition to OVER THE BRIDGE currently sorting data from the post-performance mood response study, they have collected local mental health programs and resources, entertainment support and national crisis support/distress lines on their website, www.overthebridge.org and http://www.ementalhealth.ca.

The mental health conversation in the American entertainment industry has recently jumped on board. When asking Van Dahlen about organizations leading the conversation, she credited Live Nation and Warner Music for seizing the opportunity to build a movement within the music industry to address needs of artists, industry professionals behind the scenes and fans.

The Recording Academy MusiCares brings awareness to music industry professionals suffering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and uses their platform to educate us on programs available across the nation.

Change Direction’s partnerships with Talinda through 320 Changes Direction, various artists and groups, Live Nation, the industry standards Digby continues to develop, and the supporting organizations at Strike A Chord are all faced with a huge opportunity to elevate this important issue.  

The resources are here. But it takes the individual to recognize and help him or herself as a first step in order to utilize the resources. And people in this world have the right to take care of themselves.

Shortly before Chester passed, a veteran had given him a dog tag Talinda wore around her neck bearing a message for all of us.

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit,” Talinda read. “I found this after he passed, at a time when I needed to hear it the most. So I want to pass that to you. Now you know - we’ve shared this wisdom with you, but it takes courage. And I wish that courage to every one of you to take care of yourselves.”


Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018 resulted in over 130,000 online interactions and raised $6,919,199 dedicated to mental health in Canada becoming a stigma-free country.

Learning Resources

To learn more about the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and pledge to share the Signs, visit The Campaign to Change Direction: www.changedirection.org

To learn more about mental health conditions visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions

To learn more about mental health organizations and statistics worldwide visit World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/mental_health/en/

Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Text SIGNS to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-487-4889

 

Watch the full stream video of Strike A Chord here.

 

WHY SPECIALIZED PIT SECURITY IS CRUCIAL

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WHY PIT SPECIALIZED PIT SECURITY IS CRUCIAL

MONDAY // FEBRUARY 26, 2018

If you have not seen the bizarre video from earlier this month of the over excited fan climbing onto Keisha Cole’s stage to only get physically thrown off by security - well, you should. Here it is below:

 
 

In the video, the man is seen hopping the barricade to join Cole on stage and appears to try and grab the microphone from her. It didn’t take long before security grabbed the man who didn’t seem to comply with the bouncer’s orders before throwing him off of the stage.

Although no injuries were reported, the fall looks quite painful. How did this man manage to get past security? How did he manage to climb the barricade and do so without anyone noticing in time?

The video seems to show pit security fail to react in time to the over zealous fan. Sometimes the consequences won’t stop these types of fans from committing this act. For one, an individual who commits this crime may get arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, punishable up to 93 days in jail and fined as much as $500, Thomas Hardesty, Director of Security & Traffic Management for Palace Sports Entertainment told Yahoo! Entertainment.

This man may have suffered minor injuries, but others are not so lucky. In fact, a fan actually died two weeks after a 2010 Ted Nugent show after the bass player kicked the adoring fan in the head after he snuck on stage, Yahoo! Entertainment reported.

The event security, but perhaps they weren’t specialized pit security personnel. GPS Security outlined five reasons why every event needs to establish specialized pit security for us to elaborate on in response to the recent event.   

1. Lifting People Properly: Especially after this man fell (after security failed to catch him), lifting individuals from a dense crowd requires proper training and care. With the potential for injury of both the lifter and the individual, specialized pit crews are necessary since they possess the sufficient skills to do so.

2. Performers Safety / Fan Safety: When a venue hires a specialized pit crew, the performer should not be subject to any threats from the crowd. Even if the performer decides to descend to the crowd for interaction, the specialized pit crew upholds the performer’s safety. Although the intentions of the over excited fan may not be malicious, an uncontrolled fan on stage opens many doors for a negative conclusion - which brings us to another point we decided is just as important: Fan Safety.

Just like the video, security aggressively shoved the fan onto the floor. What if the fan had fallen head first or trampled on following the fall? Having a surprise fan jump on stage isn’t the first thought on the performer’s mind during their gig. Just as we mentioned before, a fan had died because of the bass player’s reaction.  

3. Safety of Crew: When a crew is in place, they not only look out for the performers/fans, but also each other. In a case where one security personnel acts alone, he or she may not have the proper backup if a fan becomes too much for one person to handle alone. Lifting and escorting an individual should be done in groups of three, eliminating the difficulty and danger of the crew member and the individual. 

4. They See Everything: From the video, it is very difficult to tell where the security’s eyes are focused on at the time of the barricade hop. An experienced pit crew knows how to constantly scan the crowd for threats while interacting casually. In addition, some pit crews may have water to keep the pit fans hydrated.

5. Team Work = Key to Good Functioning: An experienced pit crew will have a plan of action for every circumstance. The article explains if one pit crew member notices an issue, he or she will know the proper way to inform the others and seamlessly handle the situation together.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL JOB

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COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL JOB

THURSDAY // FEBRUARY 15, 2018

The smallest form of miscommunication can result in a total disaster when it comes to the live entertainment industry. On the individual level, you may be the best, organized event professional who notices minuscule details, but if you lack effective communication with other individuals working on the same event, nobody will care about your skills when disaster strikes.

When we read about other event conundrums, never think, “that will never happen to me,” because many times the victim of these disasters will think, “I can't believe this happened to me!”

Pollstar recently published an article about the secret to having a smooth show day, pointing at effective communication from the venue executives over the phone as the key.

The article highlights phone communication eliminates details that may slip through the cracks over email. You can have hundreds of emails back and forth, but someone will most likely miss something.

“Venues need to be sure to communicate with tour managers to give them a heads-up about potential challenges to load-in, such as construction in the area,” the article says. Jerome Crooks, tour manager for Nine Inch Nails, Tool and LCD Soundsystem told Pollstar a venue forgot to tell him a marathon was going through the area, resulting in a two-hour delay to load-in.

Let’s look at the TomorrowWorld 2015 disaster in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, for example. The rain showers caused the rural venue to transform into a mud pit, making it impossible for cars to drive to and from the event.

The result? TomorrowWorld’s 120,000 young attendees were faced with 20-mile traffic jams, 5 mile-hikes, lack of food and water, and no shelter during the night, reported Vice.

The venue was totally unprepared for the weather conditions surrounding the event. Nothing was communicated between the festival organizers and venue about creating a back-up plan. People either paid hundreds of dollars to Uber’s surging prices or slept on the side of the road without food and water, the article reported.

With no real effective plan of action, the event actually cancelled its third day for attendees not camping on-site. Lack of planning, coordination and communication concluded the festival’s return accompanied by lawsuits.

What can we do to communicate better?

Event planners revealed their tips to etouches.com on how to prevent issues before and during the big day.

After Text/Email, Follow-Up With a Call: This day and age, most of the communication we participate in on a daily basis is done digitally, via text or email. Possessing important information on an email document or text is necessary and extremely helpful, but there is always the possibility ideas or crucial details get lost in translation. We know this already when it comes to everyday communication with the relationships we have outside of work. Follow-up with a phone call, especially if the email/text includes crucial detail or lengthy information.

In addition, the “you never got my text?” excuse doesn’t fly anymore and no one will believe you, even if you did try to send a text. A simple follow-up phone call does the trick and ensures confidence in the exchange of information.

Interacting/Following Up With Third-Party Vendors: Frequently checking in with both your team and the client is crucial. Waiting for mistakes to surface on their own is detrimental to the event. Checking up on the progress gives a chance to pinpoint any mistakes threatening to the event’s success. In addition, this interaction “builds rapport and creates lasting relationships,” the article said.

Following up with third-party vendors, such as a photographer, caterer, or DJ is crucial to ensure what you may have promised to the client as expected. Failure to communicate with these parties would fall on you no matter what the cause.

Write Efficient Emails: There is no excuse for the 20 typos in your email, we have spell check, people! In addition to spelling, the most important thing is to communicate all the details necessary in one email rather than a series of back and forth emails, resulting in a email chain that scrolls for days. You may be hiding Important information within the chain, impossible to find, resulting in wasted time and potential event disaster.

The takeaway? Keep all lines of communication open. Call frequently, write efficiently and interact with all parties more than once. Doing so will save your event, your reputation and your money.   

CREW MEMBERS TAKE MINNEAPOLIS: WORKING UNDER COLD CONDITIONS

 Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging & Productions bundles up in proper gear for the Minneapolis Weather Conditions at his crew's Super Bowl build. 

Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging & Productions bundles up in proper gear for the Minneapolis Weather Conditions at his crew's Super Bowl build. 

CREW MEMBERS TAKE MINNEAPOLIS: WORKING UNDER COLD CONDITIONS

WEDNESDAY // FEBRUARY 7, 2018

If you were lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl this year, then you got lucky the big game took place inside the climate-controlled U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Outside of the 70°F stadium temperature, surrounded the coldest outdoor Super Bowl temperatures in history. Temperatures for the big game reached just above 0°F, with wind chill making it feel minus 20°F, USA Today reported.

For the production crew, frigid, snowy weather creates a whole different playing field. It is vital for all site supervisors, employers and individual crew members to prepare accordingly for each and every job impacted by severe weather conditions.

On January 22, people located in the Plains and Midwest were advised to stay off of the roads during heavy snowfall and powerful, gusting winds. All travel was expected to be dangerous especially closer to the evening, ABC News reported.

The storm affected the outdoor crew working downtown, just blocks away from the Super Bowl stadium. We spoke to Site Supervisor Robert Castro of Gallagher Staging & Productions after dangerous weather conditions prompted him to shorten his crew’s normal work day. Castro detailed the extent of how the stormy weather has affected the custom truss structure build in Minneapolis thus far.

“It was super windy all day. Our guys are rigged in the air, so when the wind gusts reached 30 miles per hour we had to pull it down and tell the guys to go home,” Castro said.

These conditions are not typical for staging crew. During the build, temperatures dropped to 25°F, but the windchill factor caused the temperature to feel 14°F. That being said, supervisors must closely monitor the work environment at all times.

“We work in the rain unless it gets super bad. We work as long as we feel comfortable and safe, and when it takes a direction for the worse, we slow down and wait for it to pass,” Castro said.

The Construction Health & Safety Manual: Rigging reads, “Never carry out a hoisting or rigging operation when winds create hazards for workers, the general public, or property.”

More specifically, high gusts of wind may cause equipment to swing or even rotate out of control, creating danger to riggers and potentially overloading the hoisting equipment.

Another consideration was the surface of the truss riggers utilized in order to climb.

“The snowfall causes truss to become wet and eventually the wind gusts cause everything to freeze over and become slippery,” Castro said.

When it came to objects freezing over, truss and other equipment were not the only issues.

“Anything on the truck that cannot freeze needs to be insulated. We had liquids in our first aid kit freeze solid,” said Project Manager Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging.

During winter storms such as these, it is so important for supervisors to know safety precautions including dressing in proper gear. The crew geared up with the appropriate pants and layers including a jacket with a waterproof layer and layer to keep warm.

Shoes must be insulated and waterproof to stay decently warm, but Castro described his severe weather experience as a horribly cold one, due to steep snow reaching above their boots and ankles.

“You need lots of layers, especially wool and polypropylene lined socks. Your hands can’t work in waterproof gloves, so bring several pairs of dry gloves to change into once they get wet,” Golden suggested.

All geared up, Castro and his crew felt “like marshmallow men wobbling down the street” as they observed Minneapolis natives walking through downtown wearing jeans. Natives are use to the cold, but you have to consider the time spent inside to give their bodies’ a break to warm up.

Castro and his crew made sure to take breaks inside, but for the most part the crew diligently worked on the structure outdoors - much more time was spent outside than the on-foot passers.

Knowing what gear to wear is one thing, but for Castro the most important task is knowing when to call it quits before any accidents may occur.

Who is responsible for calling it off? It varies from job to job, Castro added, possibly the supervisor, the client or a safety guy on site. For this particular job, the stage hands worked inside the arena so they were not used to doing this type of work outside. Castro is the supervisor on site, so it was his job to pay close attention to weather conditions and how it may have affected the safety of his crew. 

As a supervisor, having a plan of action instilled prior to the build is so important, Castro said. This involves a bit of risk assessment, in the phase where a risk is in its “raw state” and the supervisor should visualize everything that he or she will carry out to manage the danger, the Event Safety Alliance wrote in the Guide to Risk Assessment 1.01.

The risk assessment process in its entirety, includes the following steps:

  • Identify hazards
  • Identify all parties who might be harmed
  • Evaluate risk
  • Record assessment
  • Monitor & Review

Not only is the event organizer responsible for monitoring the safety of his crew, but also the crew themselves.  

“The boots on the ground should also be able to speak up if they feel that conditions have become unsafe,” said Dan Broadhead of Gallagher Staging. This goes along the lines, if you see something, say something.  

Going into the build, Castro explained, was a little nerve wracking nonetheless because of the cold weather, wind and the location of the build. 

“Having trust in the engineering is everything,” Castro. The outdoor Super Bowl structure was very custom with the various custom angles within. When the team began building the structure, Castro felt very confident in both the engineering performance and crew on-site.

Along with feeling confident in the structure’s engineering, the crew relied on the Weather Nowcasting system to alert him, receive updates and help prepare ahead of time with future weather reports.

In addition, Golden told us the usefulness in Weather Ops from WDT for forecasting during this project.

“It’s been great as it’s going to get. [The weather] totally has the potential to make things go south, but we have an awesome crew here. Of course we all hate the cold and wind, but our crew is amazing and gets the job done correctly,” Castro added.

The big game was on Sunday, February 4, where the Philadelphia Eagles took the win over The New England Patriots. Although inside, fans bundled up during travel and planned their journey to the stadium accordingly.

“We’re the first ones here and the last ones to leave. We’re here for the experience, and it’ll be one to brag about for a long time,” Castro said.

The below section is dedicated to inform cold stress and wind chill factors, implications and ways to keep warm and stay safe while working in cold weather conditions.

Cold Stress

According to OSHA.gov, cold stress happens when the skin temperature drops and causes the internal body temperature to plummet. Additionally, wind speed creates a wind chill effect causing heat to exert from the body.

Types of cold stress include trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Cold stress varies on location, for example, temperatures near freezing are categorized as cold stress in areas not use to cold weather.

Visit OSHA.gov for a detailed list of cold stress symptoms and treatment advice.

Wind Chill

Again, the actual air temperature combined with wind speed affects how cold you are. The definition of wind chill on OSHA.gov, is “the term used to describe heat loss from the human body.” One should use the National Weather Service (NWS) Wind Chill Calculator to determine the correct temperature your body feels.

What Employees Can Do

Dress Properly: The first thing you can do to keep warm is dress correctly. Wear at least three layers of loose clothing.

  • Inner: Stay dry by wearing wool, silk or synthetic
  • Middle: Stay insulated by wearing wool or synthetic
  • Outer: Prevent overheating by wearing an outer wind/rain protection layer

*Be sure to have extra clothing nearby in case clothes get wet.

Wearing a hat or hood keeps your entire body warmer than it would be without one. If necessary, wear a knit mask over your face and mouth. To combat water, use insulated gloves and waterproof boots.

Although your employer should already have done so prior to the job, familiarize yourself with cold stress symptoms, listed on OSHA.gov.

Since moisture and dampness increases loss of heat, stay dry in cold areas. Lastly, follow safe work practices, proper engineering controls and employer provided personal protective equipment (PPE).

Eat Right = Stay Warm: Some foods make your body temperature warmer than other foods! The Healthy Eating segment from SFGate provides food suggestions that may benefit you more than others.

Clearly, eating hot food is the way to go. Slow cook food such as roasts, soups and stews are perfect to save hands-on time spent cooking. Adding spice to your food increases body temperature as well.

Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates. Whole plant foods such as

  • Green vegetables
  • Whole grains (oatmeal, pasta, whole-grain bread), starch vegetables (potatoes, corn, pumpkin) and beans, lentils and peas.

Your body needs fat, especially during the winter. Not only does fat provide insulation, but the body utilizes fat in order to absorb vitamins A, E, K and D, SFGate reported. More specifically, a vitamin D (absorbed from sunlight) deficiency may damage your health as well as contribute to depression. Correct fats to eat include:

  • Fish
  • Nuts & nut butters (cashew butter, almond butter, etc.)
  • Olives
  • Avocado
  • Tofu
  • If you must eat red meat, stick to the correct service portion (three ounces) & only three times per week

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Just like you make sure to hydrate during the peak of summer, you must do the same in colder temperatures. Choosing hot tea kills three birds with one stone, meaning it’s a good source of hydration, will naturally warm your body and distributes antioxidants to provide muscle endurance.

In order to prevent cold stress, site supervisors and all employers in general should consider the following:

  • Train workers on recognizing environmental and workplace factors potentially leading to cold stress
  • Inform employees on symptoms, prevention such as proper clothing, and treatment
  • Monitor worker physical condition
  • Schedule several short breaks in warm/dry areas & schedule work during the warmest point in the day
  • Have employees work in pairs
  • Provide warm/sweet beverages (without alcohol), and radiant heaters

 

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HEARING ON TOUR

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HEARING ON TOUR

THURSDAY // JANUARY 4, 2018

All good things come to an end - including your hearing if you fail to take proper precautions. Why do we work in this industry? We love live music. Working in this industry allows you to hear live music closer than any concert-goer. The ultimate experience. 

Unfortunately, the sound-reinforcement workplace is not regulated, reported Sarah Jones of Live Design. More specifically, sound engineers are at serious risk as they feel pressured to create the loudest show possible.

In fact, the live entertainment industry ranked number six on Health 24's "The 10 Worst Jobs for Your Ears" list, adjacent to careers in operating heavy machinery.

While working in the live music industry doesn’t allow for much personal time, personal safety and health should never be placed on the back burner. We’re not talking about the common cold - damaging your hearing aggregates and is permanent. Here are some warning signs and tips to prevent hearing loss before it’s far too late.

Identify the problem

Before attempting to diagnose yourself, it is vital to get a hearing test. After receiving the facts, you’ll know the foundation you stand on to further protect yourself accordingly.

Benj Kanters, an audio professional at Columbia College who continues to raise hearing loss awareness in the industry, told Jones the benefits of using products to monitor SPLs (sound pressure levels) by determining dangerous audio levels in live-time.

Specifically, Kanters refers to the Trend system, a hardware and software solution with the ability to measure, log and report SPLs, allowing the production team to adjust to safe volumes.

While professionals may suggest the Trend system, that measures SPLs over the duration of a show, it may not be the most practical method for sound engineers to adopt.

Mixing with plugs? No way!

Kanters explains the common issue sound engineers experience with the inability to hear detail while mixing with plugs. He suggests fixing the detail and immediately putting the plugs back in.

Michael Santucci, an audiologist with 30 years of experience in training live music industry workers in hearing loss prevention, suggested alternate mixing techniques to comply with hearing protection.

Unfortunately, while learning to mix dynamically with subtractive mixing takes practice, nothing depends on hearing loss prevention, but rather the engineer’s abilities and what the band wants, Santucci told Jones.

Common Misconceptions

Jones reveals the common misconception among industry professionals who believe P.A. systems emitting low distortion are completely safe. Santucci explains the FOH technology actually allows a cleaner sound and masks volumes detrimental to hearing.  

Another conundrum, Jones adds, is the in-ear monitor musicians use - but will turn up anyway. The purpose is defeated, and you will remain at risk.

Santucci’s research proves it: 95 percent turn on ear monitors matching the exactly same volume as floor monitors, Jones reports.

Things that alleviate hearing damage but won’t prevent or cure it?

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Muscle training

A Louder Awareness

Hearing loss is a growing epidemic. According to MusiCares  of the Recording Academy, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled between 2000 and 2015, and globally, the number is 44 percent.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 18 percent of adults 20-69 experience hearing loss in both ears from reportedly working 5 or more years in a noise-induced working environment.

Jones reports on the growing number of resources educating live music industry workers:

  • The Audio Engineering Society continues to spread awareness of noise-induced hearing loss in the industry, and has held multiple tutorials and workshops on the topic. Their 3rd annual AES International Conference will occur at Columbia College in Chicago on June 20-22, 2018. Click here for more information.
  • MusiCares offers hearing clinics with complimentary ear impressions and custom musician earplugs for all attendees. Their website offers a plethora of educational articles you can visit here.  

MEET THE CREW BEHIND THE 2016 GRAMMYS

MEET THE CREW BEHIND THE 2016 GRAMMYS

The Grammys celebrate the year’s best in music and the industry’s brightest stars. However, the 2016 Grammy Awards hit the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday evening and now the only thing people are talking about are the subtle audio glitches and no-shows. Though the majority of performances throughout the evening weren’t terribly exciting, a few performers actually had defining moments - Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga.

But with the technical problems overshadowing all else on social media, we wanted to highlight all of the hard work that goes into making The Grammys happen. It’s unfortunate that in this industry more congratulations aren’t communicated when everything goes perfectly, but you are called out when shit hits the fan.

TAYLOR SWIFT RAISES THE BAR ON HOW CREW SHOULD BE TREATED

TAYLOR SWIFT RAISES THE BAR ON HOW CREW SHOULD BE TREATED

It isn’t common to hear praise for the crew silently working in the background. The better the crew are at their jobs, the less anyone notices them.  But they aren’t invisible just because they always wear black and stick to the shadows backstage. That’s why we were ecstatic this morning to hear that Taylor Swift is taking her 125-person crew on a vacation to celebrate the end of her 1989 World Tour...