The music industry has a new nonprofit program tackling the most critical needs of its artists, crews and vendors with the official launch of Tour Support, a program that provides mental health support for the touring community.
Industry organizations including Live Nation, Friends at Work and WME are behind the initial launch, and artists including John Legend, Steve Aoki, MARINA, Grace VanderWaal and Rick Springfield are lending their names to endorse Tour Support.
Tour Support is a new division of LightHopeLife, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit suicide prevention and awareness foundation, recognizing that the music world is experiencing a mental health crisis among touring professionals, most acutely evidenced by an alarming number of suicides in recent years.
While the global touring industry grossed more than $5 billion in each of the past two years, and the concert-going experience has taken on an important role in the lives of so many, virtually no one knows about the challenges faced by the people that create those unforgettable experiences to the world—the artists and the community of road crew, vendors and other support personnel. Many are in need of support services to help them deal with difficult feelings surrounding life on the road and the changes they face once they get home.
The urgency of this issue means the industry is now rallying to make Tour Support a potent and immediate force so that nobody in the touring world will need to feel isolated and unsupported.
The initial idea for Tour Support came from Steve Richards, an executive producer with Original Syndicate and former touring professional. Having lost more than 10 friends and colleagues to suicide in the last two years, Richards believed it was time for tangible solutions to provide tools for people while on the road so they have resources when the tour ends, before the challenges of returning home become overwhelming.
Richards partnered with management, entertainment, and social impact company, Friends At Work, whose founder and CEO, Ty Stiklorius, empathized immediately, “I was deeply struck by the recent deaths of Chris Cornell, guitarist Neal Casal and the dozens of touring staff we have tragically lost,” Stiklorius says. “This is a first step to provide resources, training and counseling opportunities to ultimately change the culture on the road.” The Friends at Work team was impressed with the training, passion and understanding of the Music Industry from LightHopeLife and partnered together to form the new organization.
Ahead of the launch, Live Nation Entertainment, answered the call to support the new program by making a donation to fund the first year of the program.
Vicky Cornell has come on board to partner with Tour Support personally and with the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
Artists, roadies and other touring personnel alike have been sharing their experiences and feelings about the mental health crises they’ve witnessed firsthand in the Tour Support video that can be viewed here.
Generous assistance has also come from partners WME and Speakable, who both recognize the relevance of Tour Support’s mission to their own businesses and the entertainment world at large.