Now is the time to start thinking about a permanent plan to take care of crew members, says pioneering booking agent Tom Ross.
The concert business is a multi-billion dollar industry that is now shut down. Estimates, which I believe are low, say the touring world employees at least 200,000 “gig” employees who are hired on a week-by-week or tour basis. All the music techs, loading crews, sound board engineers, lighting crews, production crews, wardrobe assistants, make up artists and other behind-the-curtain personnel are hugely needed to make the talent create that magical playground of the concert experience. Most of these people don't have lawyers, agents or, most importantly, unions (stagehands have IATSE, but many buildings are non-union). They have no safety net to fall back on during a crisis.
When COVID-19 has been tamed and when we start to rebuild the tours and the careers that will take the concert business to bigger heights and grosses, why not do it with a method that will offer financial benefits and health coverage for all those players in the support services, so that they have not only health and welfare benefits, but a future? So that if they contract some deadly disease, they are secure in knowing that the business they dedicated their lives to actually cares and has their back?