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Mental Health: Next steps for live

Mental Health: Next steps for live

Chairs: Sarah Joy, ATC Live (UK) & Matt Hanner, ATC Live (UK) 

Panellists: Adam Ficek, Music & Mind / Babyshambles (UK) | Joe Hastings, Help Musicians (UK) | Sara Maria Kordek, Good Taste Production (PL) | Richard Mutimer, Paradigm Talent Agency (UK) 

The mental health session was hosted by agents Matt Hanner and Sarah Joy of ATC Live, who opened by talking about their late colleague, Chris Meredith, who took his own life last year.

Adam Ficek, the Babyshambles drummer-turned-psychotherapist, spoke on the unique challenges posed by live: “There are no other industries like the music industry. It’s open-access, and open all hours, and you’re expected to put in as much time as you can.”

“The industry we work in is very interesting,” added Polish promoter Sara Maria Kordek, offering the artist’s perspective. “Suddenly you’ve got an artist [who achieves fame] and has lots of privileges, so they can get away with things you wouldn’t be able to do in a ‘normal’ job – you wouldn’t be able to have a drink before you check your emails in an office. But they’re expected to be at 100% all the time, to deliver, so they’re celebrating nearly every day.”

This is something that filters down to crew and other industry professionals, suggested Kordek, who described how she made a point of finding something to do (other than drinking) for her team on a recent 50-show tour. “We found cool things to do in each city, or went to a movie,” she explained. “You shouldn’t be partying every evening.”

Things are changing for the better, said Rich Mutimer from Paradigm, who spearheads the agency’s wellbeing initiatives. “The younger generation coming in now are wondering why people aren’t looking after themselves,” he said, “and that gives everyone a kick up the bum.”