New mental health charity for music industry receives BRIT Trust backing

The BRIT Trust, the charitable arm of the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) which distributes funds raised through the BRIT Awards, has announced its support for Music Support, a new charity which provides help for anyone in the music industry suffering from addiction, emotional or mental health issues.

Alongside a donation towards its day-to-day operations, The BRIT Trust funding is contributing to a Safe Tent initiative developed by Music Support in conjunction with Festival Republic and Live Nation in time for this Summer’s major festivals.

The Safe Tents will be staffed by Music Support volunteers and will act as places of refuge for people working at festivals who need a break from backstage pressures and demands in a stimulant-free environment. The initiative was successfully trialled at Download Festival (9-11 June 2017) and will be rolled out to other major festivals over the Summer, including Glastonbury (22-25 June 2017), Wireless (7-9 July 2017), Latitude (13-16 July 2017), V Festival (19-20-August 2017), Reading & Leeds (25-27 August 2017) and Electric Picnic (1-3 September 2017).

Music Support was founded by music industry veterans, Matt Thomas and Andy Franks, with Mark Richardson and Johan Sorensen. Set up in May 2016, the charity provides a 24/7 telephone helpline staffed by trained volunteers who have personal experience of issues within the industry and are able to signpost pathways to clinical help if needed.

Matt Thomas, Music Support Co-Founder and Chair of Trustees, said:

‘Like the rest of society and other creative sectors, issues relating to addiction and mental health are a concern for the music industry. Although awareness has improved, stresses and anxieties can be experienced by artists and employees alike and are particularly felt in the live sector where relentless touring and unsociable hours can take their toll. We recognise too that emerging talent may sometimes find it hard to adjust to the demands of newfound fame while more established musicians can find it a challenge to adapt to changes in their careers. It’s our hope that, in time, we can reach out to all parts of the music community – artists, crew and industry employees – where our support is needed and help make a difference.’

BRIT Trust Chairman, John Craig OBE, 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.’

Andy Franks, Tour Manager and Music Support Co-Founder and Trustee, said:

‘When you are at a festival, it is often hard to find a quiet place away from the mayhem or to escape offsite. 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.’

Festival Republic Managing Director, Melvin Benn, said:

‘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-pressure backstage environments at festivals are examples of those unnoticed needs. We take our hats off to the small group of people who have stood up to those pressures to provide Music Support. 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.’

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