- READ MORE: Here are the 30 UK music venues still in real danger of closing forever – and what you can do to help
Two auctions launched yesterday (November 27): the#ILoveLive prize draw, the proceeds of which go to the Stagehand charity that provides hardship funding for live events industry workers; and a one-off auction for the Music Venue Trust. The latter sale sees the prog rock scene’s current gatekeeper, Steven Wilson, auction a £10,000 box set that includes a Grammy nomination certificate, an unreleased song, and other special items.
The#ILoveLive prize draw has a wealth of signed signature guitars from Nile Rogers, Liam Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Elbow, and Nick Cave, while a lucky fan could get their hands on one of FKA Twigs‘ stage masks.
Elsewhere, Ellie Goulding, Robbie Williams and Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine are giving away handwritten lyrics. Craig David is supplying a signed mixing desk and The Chemical Brothers are providing a signed synth. A ticket for the draw costs £5, and the aim is to raise £1m before Christmas.
Music manager/promoter David Stopps, who is heading up the Stagehand draw, told The Guardian: “When I heard about the 10th suicide attempt among road crew I thought, I’ve got to do something.”
One of Stopps’ clients, Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, donated the guitar he played at Live Aid after Stopps was moved by tales such as that of a “former stage manager who woke up in tears after realising she had £10 in her bank account”. Stagehand included the worker in an initial round of £500 payments: “It wasn’t much but it showed that someone cared.”
Chic’s Nile Rodgers has chipped in a specially commissioned Fender replica of his famous “hitmaker” Stratocaster guitar, which he played on several Chic tracks and more recently Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky‘.
The legendary musician said: “A Chic show would not be possible without our incredible crew who have been deeply affected by the pandemic, as have all the crews. They’ve had such a tough time this year with no work at all.”
Furlough schemes and grants have been supplied by the UK government to help industry workers during the pandemic, however, many freelance sound engineers, lighting technicians and tour managers have fallen through the cracks to receive aid. A Stagehand survey revealed that 35 per cent are surviving on savings or debt and 20 per cent have been left with no government support, including universal credit.
More than £27,000 has been raised to help struggling employees by The Survival Tour, a 15-day cycle ride by music professionals to fundraise for #WeMakeEvents. That initiative is one of a few others trying to help bolster the industry beyond auctions.
The Survival Tour‘s organiser Steve Reynolds, who works at Loud Sound, told NME: “We wanted to do something more to support people in technical production industry who are in dire straits… where support is not getting to”.
Meanwhile, the Music Venues Trust auction, which features Wilson’s one off £10,000 box set, comes in response to the government’s limited Culture Recovery rescue package. As many as 290,000 grassroots spaces have shared £41m from the fund, but more than 600 have missed out.
“We have a traffic-light system, with 30 in red facing serious dangers, including iconic venues such as the Lexington in London and the Lantern in Halifax,” Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust CEO added to The Guardian. “Another 300 are on the amber list and others have simply disappeared from our radar – we think because they’re no longer music venues.”
The Stagehand auction is live until 6pm on December 17. Its supplementary Prints for Music sale runs until 21 December.