Covid, Roadies and Bridging the Skills Gap

March 20, 2021

Road crews for some of the biggest bands in music have found themselves homeless, using food banks and facing escalating mental health issues that they never imagined could be part of their hard-working life.

Things have changed across the live events industry. I have found that I’ve gone from “the girl who has all the answers” and the phone ringing off the hook to a deadly silence; no questions to be answered.

Skills and a Changing Events Industry

Roadies are having to face tough choices about their futures, and that could present a threat to the events industry as a whole. There will always be demand for live events, and for the crews that support them, but if too many of the industry’s experienced pros re-train for other jobs and move on, we could find ourselves facing a serious skills gap.

Other Uses for Roadies’ Skills

Roadies are highly experienced, skilled, knowledgeable, and professional technicians.  I recently read an article where, in Baltimore, USA, they successfully used roadies to plan and organise the vaccination roll out in their county.  I mention this because it demonstrates the average roadie’s skills, training and ability to coordinate live projects under pressure. These are as relevant to emergency preparedness as to live events.

I wonder why more governments are not utilising the roadies that are so desperate to get out there and do something to help get the world back moving. 

I was accepted for a job through the NHS in January. Now, as I still wait for a start date in the middle of March, it frustrates me when I’m so used to making things happen right now! You want a show today? Yes I can do it… It seems, as the world tries to vaccinate people, it could be much more seamless with road crews involved. 

Roadies: A Ready Resource

Over 20,000 live production crew in the UK have found themselves almost instantly out of work, so why not use their skills to help execute this mammoth task? Let’s face it: this is what we do daily. It would give us a purpose and, ironically, we who have little purpose during a national lockdown could be instrumental in getting the economy moving again faster.

A Threat to Livelihoods and Wellbeing

So many of us have felt let down by this government, and this past year we’ve felt the rug being pulled from under our feet, some with no meaningful support and some with nothing.  By the time that events open back up, thousands of skilled people will have had to deal with issues they never thought they would have to contemplate. 

I have found myself in a place of shock, without purpose or certainty.   I’ve started to peel back the layers and, by self-evaluating, recognise how I can improve and adapt to the changes we are going to be faced with.  Like many others in this industry, I never thought I would be out of work, wondering where the next mortgage payment is coming from. Many of us are now dealing with isolation and mental health issues, I hope through my experiences I can help others adjust to the changes that are ahead.