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Bands urged to do more to support road crews

The Australian Road Crew Association call on bands and promoters to support backstage teams as figures show depression and suicide rates among roadies is on the rise

The Australian Road Crew Association have called on promoters and bands to do more to support their roadies.

New figures show that two-thirds of roadies have moderate to severe depression, while the suicide rate is double the national average in Australia.

This has prompted the association to call on promoters and bands to add five cents to the price of every ticket to help support road crews.

Retired roadie Michael Eastick suffered a heart attack at the age of 24 while he was touring with Men At Work in the 80s.

He tells ABC: “I was working 18-20 hour days getting ready for their world tour and one night found myself in hospital with a heart attack at 24 years old.

“If you’re living on bad food, cheap drinks and bad drugs, it’s going to have an impact on what you are mentally after a while.”

Australian Road Crew Association spokesperson Ian ‘Piggy’ Peel says the group have had 128 deaths in their ranks – and 27 of them have been suicides.

He adds: “Every road crew on the planet has probably contemplated suicide at some point or been depressed. Jump on. It’s five cents a ticket – it’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.”

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General manager of mental health charity Entertainment Assist Susan Cooper reports that the rate of suicidal thoughts among road crew members is now nine time higher than the Australian national average.

She reports: “You are not going to be working all the time. You are going to have times where there's no money and you're working shift work and you're not going to be sleeping.

"You're going to be away or perhaps touring and not in contact with friends and family."

As for the idea of adding a small financial addition to tickets, Eastick adds: “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened – it should be 10 cents a levy. Why aren’t you doing it? Why are you not supporting the people who have supported you over the years?”

The Australian Road Crew Association have a dedicated fund in place to help support road crew members.

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