Alex Hardee of Coda warned about the 24/7 culture in the music industry today at the International Festival Forum in London. Hardee told Paul Crockford, who had managed Mark Knopfler; “It’s too late for me – I’m fucked. I’m a workaholic. It’s shit – it’s unhealthy and I can’t get out of it.”
“I’d like the generation that comes after me to look after themselves,” Hardee continued. “The music industry has got it completely wrong, and that [24/7 working culture] is why you see a lot of people fall over and break down. You need to have breaks, and people work better when they have breaks and they’re well rested.”
“THAT 24/7 WORKING CULTURE IS WHY YOU SEE A LOT OF PEOPLE FALL OVER AND BREAK DOWN”
The survey by Skiddle of more than 500 promoters, events organisers and venue owners found that 82% of industry professionals have suffered stress, 67% said they had anxiety and 40% said they had struggled with depression. Additionally, 10% said they had developed associated symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a “direct result of their work in music”.
“After running a festival for a couple of years, the workload this year ended up depressing me to a level that I had suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self harm,” says one, speaking under the condition of anonymity. “A couple of months later I had panic attacks when thinking about starting the process again, and decided to go on hiatus instead.”
Another says: “It’s the loneliness and isolation that scares me. Anxiety and stress are just part and parcel of the job. It’s sad but true.”
Asked what causes them the most stress working in promoting, 45% said “no regular income” and 43% the “lack of support”, with unsociable hours and the effect the job has on relationships also scoring highly.
Ben Sebborn, co-founder and director of Skiddle, comments: “The results of this survey do not make for an easy read, and it’s troubling to see that so many promoters are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. As well as organising a series of panel sessions to discuss the issues raised in the survey, we will also be working with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to ensure we are industry leaders in supporting promoters and offering them the assistance they need to work happily and effectively.”