Not content with raising 1.17m for the nation's struggling musical roadcrew last year, Aylesbury Friars founder David Stopps has teamed up with music icons and industry leaders to raise even more cash for the deserving cause.
Last year's auction, which featured items by Mark Knopfler and Glastonbury Festival was a roaring success, with participants buying tickets for £5 to be in with a chance of getting their hands on money-can't-buy memorabilia.
And this time, artists including Foo Fighters (pictured), Iron Maiden, Mumford and Sons, Spice Girls, Queen, Genesis and The Levellers are taking part.
Foo Fighters are a band boasting two iconic drummers Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, and a drum head signed by the band is up for grabs.
Industry figureheads David Stopps, Ian McAndrew and Tom Schroeder, alongside Andrew Lenthall and Mike Lowe from Stagehand, began the #ILoveLive Prize Draw campaign to help raise funds for all the music stage and road crew in the live music events industry that have been affected by the pandemic.
David Stopps said, “When I heard about the tenth suicide among stage crew in late August, I knew I had to do something. Stage crew are not only suffering great financial hardship but most are also experiencing mental ill health. Money raised from these prize draws will actually save lives and help to safeguard their future.”
Stagehand is the only UK charity that specifically helps music stage and road crew and is dedicated to providing hardship funding for live events industry workers. In September 2020 the Stagehand Covid 19 Crew Relief Fund was launched, with a target of raising £1m (including donations) by the end of 2020. This was achieved with the current total at £1.17m which has enabled Stagehand to issue over 900 grants to crew, with many more to follow in 2021.
And this is why it matters, one lighting designer said, "I feel as if live events/touring crew have been completely forgotten about.
"Whilst the arts as a whole has struggled, I have seen a lot more financial support for theatre and television professionals.
"Thankfully the US Live Nation fund generously offered me a grant ($1000), but it was just a scratch on the income I have lost for the past 6 months and the expensive cost of living in London.
"I have not just been under financial strain, but mentally I have seen a change in myself. It’s been really difficult to stay positive and motivated; I wake up each morning and struggle to find a sense of purpose.
"Not knowing when I will be able to return to the work and lifestyle I have worked hard towards and been used to for so long, has left me feeling anxious and quite frankly depressed. The end is still not in sight, and we will be the very last to go back to work. We need supporting, urgently."
And a band crew member added, "I have been in the entertainment industry in one form or another since the 1980s. I have a family who look to me to provide for them, and as there is nothing allowed to happen where I might get any employment, we are in a disastrous predicament.
"Sadly it's not a case of we MIGHT run out of money and have no way to pay the bills, we HAVE run out of money and have no way to pay the bills.
"Credit cards exhausted, savings depleted, assets liquidated. I've never in my life had to sell my car to make sure the electricity stays on for my son to be able to do his home schooling.
"Mentally, financially and socially, my family have been left destitute."
The #ILoveLive prize draw campaign, in partnership with the Crowdfunder platform, gives music fans the chance to give something back to the people who make life-affirming live events happen and to win money-can’t-buy prizes from their favourite artists.
This is not an auction. It’s a series of prize draws where each artist has their own prize draw. With an auction, only a few fans with the deepest pockets get involved, whereas with a prize draw the whole fanbase can participate. Fans from all over the world can enter for £5 via the artist’s #ILoveLive Crowdfunder page. If a fan enters multiple times, they stand a better chance of winning.
To find out more about what is on offer, and to buy your tickets go here.
Pic by Samon Rajabnik