Covid Case Studies: How Has the Pandemic Affected Individuals in the Industry?

Music Stage Crew

Following on from our previous post about how the backstage crew are the unsung heroes of the live event industry, we thought we’d look a little closer at some specific individuals within the industry to see how covid has affected their livelihoods and their lives. Rolling Stone wrote last November that the pandemic has been “devastating” for music crew workers. Samantha Hissong wrote that “these road warriors were planning on a huge year. Seven months into the pandemic, they’re struggling to get by, dealing with crippling mental health issues, and contemplating new careers.”

We wanted to see what things have been like for some of our backstage heroes for the last fourteen months. Have they had to seek other employment, or even retrain altogether? How have they managed financially and most importantly, are they planning to get back on the road now that lockdown restrictions are easing? So, here goes:

Name: Phill

  1. What is your job title/profession? Venue Owner (KK’s Steel Mill).
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 4.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? No.
  4. What are your specialist skills? N/A.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Skindred, Uriah Heep, KK’s Priest.
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Financial.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Adapt business – Live Stream & Music Video Recording.
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Yes.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? On my way home from the venue.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Positively, Busy Schedule, won’t re-open as KK’s Steel Mill until after full restrictions lifted, during this time the venue is on hire to Jon Smith Entertainment Services (JSES) LTD to provide socially distanced, live streamed shows (Better Than Live). 

Name: Dan

  1. What is your job title/profession? Video Technician.
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 6 years.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? No.
  4. What are your specialist skills? Camera Systems, Video Editing.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Prodigy, Bowling For Soup, Aries, Formula 1, Formula E, Euro Swim Championships, BoomTown, Glastonbury.
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Lost work, all work.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Joined JSES as a freelance camera operator, video technician, post-production editing and video graphics.
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Yes.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? Between jobs, in a pub with friends.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Glad to be back on the road.

Name: Chris

  1. What is your job title/profession? Sound Engineer
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 9.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? No.
  4. What are your specialist skills? Musical Background
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Drifters, Download, UK Metal Merger, Sister Sledge, Stereokicks, UB40, Alesha Dixon.
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Financial difficulty. Positive impact – fostered a child, making family memories.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Yes, joined JSES as a freelance sound engineer, explore more creative outlets.
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Yes.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? At home, between jobs.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes, as a local venue engineer, will not return to touring due to family commitments.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Be able to have a steady income again, to have a purpose again, to enjoy live events again.

Name: Tice

  1. What is your job title/profession? Booker/Programme Manager for KK’s Steel Mill.
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 25.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? No.
  4. What are your specialist skills? N/A.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Skindred, Uriah Heep, KK’s Priest.
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Cancelled/Rescheduled Shows, Industry uncertainty, financial impact.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Work from home.
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Yes – Furlough.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? My Office at KK’s Steel Mill.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Positive, Relief, glad to see bands and audiences back in the venue again.

Name: Matt

  1. What is your job title/profession? Lighting Engineer, Sound Engineer, Project Manager.
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 12.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? Yes.
  4. What are your specialist skills? Lighting Designer, Lighting Technician, FOH & Monitors Sound Engineer, Project Management.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Sound Engineer – Better Than Live In-House: Cats In Space, ChuggaBoom, Kaleidoscope Orchestra, Totally Tina, Wild Boys. LX/System Tech – Bowling For Soup, Matt Goss, Faith. Lighting Operator – Bootleg 80’s, Jive Talking, ELO Experience
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Life changing – changed careers, allowed time for mentoring.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Now works as a PC specialist, installing Network & AV systems into schools around the West Midlands. 
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Yes.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? A month into a new job with JSES LTD as their Project Manager, at this time we had 7 tours out on the road and we watched them all return one by one, first the USA tour, then a few days later the European tour, and finally within the week the UK tours had returned, however it wasn’t until a week later that Boris announced the UK Lockdown, leaving us and the industry in limbo. 
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Right now, No, my current situation sees me moving around the country every couple of years, however I’m open to the possibilities should the opportunity present itself in the future. 
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Having removed myself from the industry and found other work, it won’t affect me, however that being said having been in the industry for many years it will be nice to see it functioning again. Who knows, may even get a call or two from the corporate clients wanting to send me off somewhere sunny, but then again Brexit hit too as all this went down so who knows?! I guess that’s a story for another time.

Name: Jon

  1. What is your job title/profession? Lighting Designer.
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 10.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? No.
  4. What are your specialist skills? Designing, Programming & Operating Lighting and Stage Effects simultaneously.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Dragonforce, Bowling For Soup, GIGGS, Wizkid, Gareth Malone, Grayson Perry, AJ Live 2020, World Taekwondo Championships 2019
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Financial difficulty, personal resilience, re-evaluate life, trained as a HGV driver.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? trained as a HGV driver.
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Yes.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? Dragonforce USA Tour 2020.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? More work.

Name: Joyzi

  1. What is your job title/profession? Musician/Promoter/Roadie
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 15.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? No.
  4. What are your specialist skills? Drum Tech.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Dragonforce, Cradle of Filth, At the Gates, Breed77, Sinsaenum, I am Morbid.
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Had to sell belongings to get by.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Moved back to Portugal to ride out pandemic. Unemployed. 
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? No.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? Dragonforce USA Tour 2020.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Can’t wait to be back on the road. Already booked short/mid term tours. 

Name: Jon

  1. What is your job title/profession? Managing Director (JSES LTD)
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 4 years of operating JSES LTD.
  3. Did you receive formal education, e.g., University? N/A
  4. What are your specialist skills? Provide Equipment & Engineers for Lighting, Stage Effects, Sound, Staging, Rigging, Music Video Production & Streaming.
  5. What tours/shows have you worked on? Drake, TYGA, Firedance, AJ Live 2020, Bowling For Soup, Dragonforce, GIGGS, Mercury.
  6. How has COVID impacted your life? Lost 7 tours in the first week. Revenue down by 50% from the previous year. Sold equipment to get by.
  7. Have you had to find other work/adapt, and if so what/how? Adapted to supply music video production & live stream setups. Partnered with House of Tours to provide their production services.
  8. Did you receive Government funding/support? Furlough Scheme, Bounce Back Loan.
  9. What were you doing/where were you when COVID forced the world into Lockdown? 2x International Tours out, 3x UK National Tours out, 1x Local Venue out.
  10. Will you return to the events industry? Yes – N/A.
  11. How will the restarting of the events industry affect you? Resources will be thinly spread. Expecting a surge in demand. 

At House of Tours, we’re really passionate about the live events industry and we’re looking forward to seeing it back at full strength again once all the restrictions on social gatherings are lifted. We’re glad to know that so many talented behind the scenes personnel will be returning to the industry. With so many years of valuable experience, for the industry to lose your specialist skills would be so sad. You really are as much a part of the show as anyone on stage and we respect your skill and your dedication to the creative industry.

To see how House of Tours have adapted during the pandemic, click here. Or get in touch with us today to see how we can get your show back on the road in the near future.