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HOW TO RESPOND TO FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS

  (screenshot via   YouTube )

(screenshot via YouTube)

HOW TO RESPOND TO FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS

WEDNESDAY // APRIL 18, 2018

Through all the Coachella Festival madness, you may not have heard about the Coachella fire that sparked about six miles from the Empire Polo Fields shortly after Beyonce’s performance Saturday evening.

“Dry vegetation helped fuel the fire, which was first reported around 4:30 a.m. Sunday near the 46600 block of Tyler Street,” KSEQ reported.

Firefighters contained the Tyler Fire by 2:45 p.m. on Sunday after 15 acres of land had burned and caused downed power lines. Thankfully nobody was injured and no damage to any structures occurred.

 

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, humans have caused the fire and the investigation is still ongoing.

Coachella Music Festival had luck on their side with the fire having zero impact on the major outdoor event and its festival goers’ safety.   

This does, however, bring an important topic front and center. How do we properly respond to fire-related incidents during an outdoor event, not just Coachella?

In an event where a fire were to occur on stage during load-in, setup, or load-out, does your crew know what proper actions to take and when?    

The Event Safety Alliance discussed this topic in the past based on the knowledge of fire experts, where we outlined below.

Do we fight the fire or evacuate? The fire experts told the ESA most cases are best to evacuate, since seemingly manageable fires may quickly grow too large to contain without the experts and proper equipment.

Two rule of thumbs:

  1. If the fire is bigger than you, get out as quickly as possible while collecting as many people with you and urging others to avoid the area. Make sure somebody called 911.

  2. If the fire is smaller than you, alert everyone to evacuate and find the nearest fire extinguisher. If you prevail, follow the first step above.

The ESA outlines some considerations in attempting to extinguish a fire, found on the ESA’s blog post, listed below:

  • Know the location of each fire extinguisher in your workspace and have been properly trained in its use. Likewise, ensure that the extinguisher is appropriate for the type of fire you are fighting

  • It is best to have a partner when fighting a fire. While one of you is operating the extinguisher, the other can remain focused on the “big picture” and stay in a position to determine if your efforts are diminishing the size of the fire. If the fire is not immediately getting smaller or you doubt whether you are having a significant effect, leave.

  • While fighting a small fire, always do so from a position between the fire and an accessible exit. Keep your back to the exit in case you must leave quickly. If in doubt, get out. If anything concerns you about your safety, exit immediately and help others do the same. Let properly equipped fire fighters extinguish the fire.

  • Do not attempt to move burning materials, especially towards occupied areas (such as the audience). While separating materials may seem like an effective way to prevent a fire from increasing in size, you risk injury and spreading the fire.

  • ALWAYS remove power (shut off electric) BEFORE fighting a fire involving electrical equipment. Electricity can be far more hazardous to those fighting the fire than the fire itself. If you are unable to remove power to electrical equipment, you should not attempt to extinguish the fire yourself. Wait until the equipment is de-energized to fight the fire.

  • The smoke from burning synthetic textiles (e.g., curtains, clothing, etc.)–and many other synthetic materials such as props, instruments, and furniture–can be highly toxic. (http://fashionbi.com/newspaper/the-health-risks-of-toxic-fibers-and-fabrics). Similarly, the extinguishing agent (powder) from dry chemical and dry powder extinguishers can produce a type of “smoke” that can be irritating and cause respiratory problems for those exposed to it. All people should be evacuated from any smoke-filled area, whether the smoke is from the fire or the fire extinguisher.

  • Assign someone to meet emergency responders at the street (or wherever they will arrive) and show them exactly how to access the fire area. Also, have someone available to them who knows the electrical system well. These two actions can take minutes off of how long it takes to extinguish a fire and are wildly helpful to emergency responders.

The ESA concludes by telling us the best protection against a fire is through prevention, but knowing what to do makes all the difference.

PROTECT YOUR GEAR FROM THEFT

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PROTECT YOUR GEAR FROM THEFT

THURSDAY // APRIL 12, 2018

On Friday, March 30, 2018, a thief stole the instruments of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band guitarist, Nils Lofgren, prior to his show in Dallas, Texas. Four guitars, harps, tools and other equipment were among the items stolen from the band’s van parked at the Holiday Inn Express, FOX4Dallas reported.

Lofgren felt devastated from losing many sentimental guitars brought with him on tours around the world over the time span of 50 years and 6,000 shows. Despite the loss, Lofgren reassured fans the great show would go on, as a professional musician would be expected to do.

That same night, the guitarist tweeted, “I’m devastated by this robbery. These are my first shows out after a very difficult year. Please consider a retweet. Alas, the show must go on. @KesslerTheater it won’t be the show I was planning on. However I do plan on taking the roof off.”

Lofgren was able to continue the show by borrowing and renting what he needed to make it happen.

Lofgren told FOX4Dallas the thief broke into the van, put the equipment into his trunk and drove off. Thanks to surveillance video, police recovered Lofgren’s guitars the following Monday, and an arrest was made.  

What if this happened to you? And more importantly, what if you didn’t have the resources to have the show go on?

Musicians, performers, venue employees, drivers, touring crew, tech crew, stagehands, and just about any other occupation in the live entertainment industry are subject to losing the precious gear that pay the bills - if they don’t take the right precautions.

How the perpetrator broke has yet to be announced. The investigation of the break-in is still underway, but here are some helpful tips you should consider, provided by gigging musician and deputy sheriff, Jerry Cress, on Disc Makers Blog.

First thing’s first: Document the Sale & Insure Your Gear

If you buy equipment from a private seller, you are urged to have the original owner / private seller, provide documentation of the sale, i.e. “On this date (date), I sold (equipment), serial #_, to (your name) for the amount of (price).”

Inspect your home and car insurance policies in detail. Spend the money to receive instrument insurance.

Keep a record of every single piece of equipment in your possession.

Lock your doors

It might seem like the obvious action, but in the smallest moment you are away from your car is when this type of thief succeeds. Running in the gas station to pay in cash? Lock your car. Forgot your wallet inside? Lock your car. Running down the hotel lobby for some ice? Lock your door! Thieves are constantly on the lookout for anybody who lets their guard down, even for a split second.

Reported recently in Simi Valley, California, is news about gas station “slider thefts” who essentially will slide up to a person’s car out of sight while he or she is getting gas and snatch belongings before quickly escaping the scene.

You can see footage of this happening below:

 

Imagine filling up the tank of your touring van holding thousands of dollars of gear, only to turn around to an empty backseat. So, moral of this lesson is to lock your doors at all time, even if you’re just getting gas.

Keep a clean car and cover your windows

Don’t leave your gear in a vehicle unless you absolutely have to. As soon as you’re able to unload your gear, do so. Leaving important gear in your car on display is comparable to window shopping for a thief. Don’t tempt them. Otherwise, it may be a great idea to invest in some curtains to hide the gear you have inside.

Stay out of the dark

Avoid parking your vehicle holding gear in a back, dark lot of your gig location or hotel. Park in an area with lights, and as close to your gig venue as you can possibly get. Check on your vehicle every so often.

Work as a team

This step may remind you of being in an airport, to never leave your bags unattended. The same goes for loading in and out. In an instant, your unattended equipment can be snatched while you’re loading something else in or out. Have someone in your crew watch the rest of your stuff if you’re preoccupied with something else, whatever that may be.

Rethink your rehearsal space

How does everyone know where the neighborhood band is? They can hear ‘em. That being known, everyone then is aware of the gear inside that house in that garage. The noise complaints and cops outside the house addressing those complaints sure don’t go unnoticed, especially to a thief curious as to what’s inside.

The article also addresses the issue with garage break-ins, and the ease most garage doors have with break-ins built for emergencies. The author suggests investing in good locks or deadbolts and to cover the windows. He further suggests not storing gear in the garage is the surefire way to prevent any of the above.

Invest in lights and alarm systems

Outside light sensors usually shoo a burglar away. Also invest in an alarm system that will notify you right away if there is a breach.

HOW TO PREVENT & COPE WITH ANXIETY AT YOUR FESTIVAL GIG

HOW TO PREVENT & COPE WITH ANXIETY AT YOUR FESTIVAL GIG

MONDAY // APRIL 9, 2018

It’s officially festival season. Whether you’re the musician, performer, venue employee, volunteer, security, driver, touring crew, camping operations, tech crew, stagehand, ticketing operations, etc...working at a days-long music festival can throw serious curve balls at your mental health.

Behind-the-scene areas can be just as chaotic as the elements posed to the general public. You’re constantly just trying to do your job, but sometimes the music festival environment can throw you off balance.

Factors include but are not limited to a lack of sleep, working overtime, sensory overload, dehydration, high-stress environment, skipping meals and much more.

More recently than before, an increasing number of countries are finally beginning to put mental health on the same level of importance as physical wellbeing. In an industry already mentally and physically demanding, paying attention to your own wellness often comes second, if not last.

In the days leading up to and during your festival gig, feelings of anxiety are highly common. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with approximately 40 million people affected, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Each individual is widely unique from the next, so each formula will differ in regards to what works and what does not.

That being said, here is our round-up of tips and tricks you may consider to prevent anxiety, to combat anxiety or what to do if you experience a full-blown panic attack during your festival gig.

Prevention: Prepare for the days ahead

You know you’ll be working at Coachella in a few days, so now is the time to prepare yourself both physically and mentally.

It’s kind of like preparing for a marathon minus actually being in the marathon. Physically prepare yourself by feeding your body the right nutrients it needs and getting enough sleep during the nights leading up to the festival.

Your friends and family may have the common misconception about you working behind the scenes of a music festival - meaning, you’ll receive lavish treatment alongside festival acts they dream to see in concert. Sorry to disappoint your loved ones, you remind them the only person there to take care of you is YOU. And besides, most of the festival acts have their own trailers or spaces separate from the backstage crew.

Long story short, you need to be responsible for keeping your physical health in check. Particular circumstances may call for you to stand for longer than normal periods of time, remain in crowded areas (yes, even backstage, especially before/during performances of bigger artists), spend lots of time away from air conditioned rooms or resort to a meal you wouldn’t normally opt for.

If you prepare with lots of sleep and nutritious meals, your body will react stronger to unforeseen situations at the festival. Lack of sleep contributes to both stress and anxiety, so going into the festival with your energy tank full is highly recommended.

Like we’ve said in previous blog posts, the more stressed you are, the less likely you are to sleep and having a bad night’s sleep prior to working at the festival will contribute further to that stress and cause anxiety.

And again, too much caffeine intake and/or smoking cigarettes to combat sleep deprivation and stress, respectively, are both recipes for anxiety.

If you’ve never been to the venue, try and familiarize yourself with it through maps, research or even a Google maps image of the outside. It may seem like the obvious thing to do, but double or triple checking may ease your nerves.

Also noting the locations to exits, entrances, emergency exits and medical tents is both helpful and comforting. Apply this same knowledge to both general public areas and backstage.

Prior to the festival, try to tell yourself and expect that you cannot control everything. Roll with the punches and do your best. If you are doing the absolute best job you can do in your control then you’ll have to settle for it - and be proud!

Feeling Anxious

Of course, there is a big difference between feeling anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder. Regardless, when facing these feelings, it may be safe to say the individual is experiencing behavioral anxiety, a response to frightening or stressful situations, Life Hacker reported.

There are many theories pertaining to the origin of anxiety and many forms of anxiety disorders. Whether you are one or the other, repetitive feelings of anxiety, strong or mild can have a negative impact on your state of mind during the big event.

Despite all attempts at prevention, you begin to tense up, have an overwhelming sense of awareness of all your surroundings and feel fearful and/or dreadful. This is the definition of anxiety.

But how do you know if you are experiencing a panic attack? Outlined by Anxiety BC, there are 4 Facts you should know about panic attacks:

  1. Panic attacks are simply the body’s fight/flight/freeze response even when there is no real danger present. A physical response may include an increased heart rate.
  2. Although scary and/or uncomfortable, panic attacks are harmless. They are compared to an alarm system within your body, but not designed to cause real harm.
  3. Panic attacks only last about 5-10 minutes, although they may feel as if they last an eternity.
  4. Many times, most people won’t be able to see you experiencing one. Those closest to you will, but for the most part they are internal experiences.

Outlined by the Anxiety And Depression Association of America (ADAA), here are some strategies you can use to decrease the intensity of a panic attack. Anxiety BC urges one to use these techniques NOT to stop a panic attack, but to help you ride it out until it’s over.

  • Take deep breaths; concentrate on inhaling and exhaling slowly through your nose. Not just in the event of a panic attack, but also throughout the day while feeling stressed.
    • Don’t use breathing to stop a panic attack, because it’ll only make it worse. Instead, use breathing techniques to lessen the intensity, Anxiety BC reported.
    • Slowly count to 10 or 20 if necessary

Taking a time out not be possible with your role at the festival, but in any moment you have a team member who can take your place for a small window of 5-10 minutes, getting some fresh air away from the chaos in a comfortable area works wonders.

  • In preparation to the festival, stowing some headphones in your pocket for this situation also helps remove yourself mentally from the chaotic scene
  • Learn some relaxation techniques such as meditation - meditation during a festival, yeah right. This is where headphones and a space to close your eyes for a brief moment can really help.
  • If possible, try some of these Muscle Relaxation techniques. This is more effective if you start practicing these in times not suffering from a panic attack. So in the event you experience one, this technique will be a piece of cake.  

Adopt Realistic Thinking

According to Anxiety BC, what occurs in the mind during a panic attack can be categorized as overestimating or catastrophizing.

  • Overestimating: Picturing the worst outcome (that most likely will not happen) is going to happen, such as having a heart attack due to your panic attack
    • Fight back: These thoughts are NOT facts. You are mistaking a possibility for a probability. Ask yourself how likely this outcome actually is.
  • Catastrophizing: Thinking the worst thing will happen and you won’t be able to deal with it, such as fainting from a panic attack and having others laugh and judge you  
    • Fight back: Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen when coping with the negative situation. Would it really make a difference in the duration of a year?  

These are just some of the tools one can use to combat a panic attack. Many more involve steps to take at home, away from the festival scene, that will overall help you when you are challenged with a panic attack on the job.

To read more in detail about panic attacks and management strategies you can take during the attack, before and after click here.

Finally, when the festival is all said and done, it is crucial to take at least one day off to regroup. Your hard work, long hours, lack of sleep and/or nutrition probably derailed from its normal, healthy path so it is important to give your body and mind the rest it needs and deserves.

Really try to put down the phone and refrain from checking every single email the day after the festival. Those follow-up emails and thank-yous can very well wait 24 hours.

When you do return to work, this could be the perfect time to open up to your team about how you’re feeling.

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, chances are your team members feel the same way and a support system is formed.

This could also be a time to speak with teammates and supervisors about what went well and what did not.

Evaluate the situations that caused the most stress by writing them down, discussing them and making a lasting change for future festivals and events.

In turn, encourage your team to open up by asking how they are really feeling and offering a helping hand. According to Conference & Incentive Travel that ranked events industry professionals No.5 on the most stressful jobs, a staggering 38% of individuals do not want to ask for help.

Reassuring your teammates they’re not alone could very well change this percentage and the stigma associated with mental health in our industry.  
 

THE FEMALE PROMOTER

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THE FEMALE PROMOTER

THURSDAY // MARCH 15, 2018

With the month of March dedicated to Women’s History, it seems only fitting to apply the same recognition and appreciation of women thriving in our live entertainment industry. Women have been working hard to represent in all sectors of the live entertainment industry.

Looking at a songwriters and producers study by USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Professor Stacy L. Smith titled, “Inclusion in the Recording Studio?” female artists only made up 22.4 percent of the content creators responsible for the 600 most popular songs from 2012 to 2017. Furthermore, 2017 was its lowest, coming to 16.8 percent of female representation on the charts.  

Observing female producers and songwriters over the same six year time frame and 600 songs, female writers only came out to 12.3 percent. The most shocking? Only 2 percent of the producers were female. That’s one female for every 49 male producers.

What conspires from this data? Two things: Recognizing these facts and making a lasting change. Smith noted, “this is another example of what we see across the ecosystem of entertainment: Women are pushed to the margins or excluded from the creative process,” reported USC News. What to change? Both female and male industry professionals must come together and “bring new voices and different perspectives,” Smith said.

Although there is currently a lack of research among female live music promoters, the several barriers young women face in the promoting sector is no secret to the industry. These barriers include not knowing who to talk to, the fear of risk-taking, how to get the best deal and/or how to make the connections they need, Music Venue Trust reported.  

On International Women’s Day, the UK’s Music Planet Live (MPL) and Music Venue Trust (MVT) announced a major partnership and initiative to uplift young, hopeful female promoters into the industry while revitalizing grassroots music venues. Coined with the name Fightback: Grassroots Promoter, this $140,000 intervention will support its action to recruit 100 young women to put on 100 shows at 100 venues.

“There’s not enough female promoters working in the grassroots music venues, and we’re going to change that,” Beverley Whitrick of MVT said.

MVT will provide a support package of which includes the following;

  • A Gig-In-A-Box: How to book, manage & promote a show
  • Support from local Grassroots Music Venue and music industry professional mentors
  • Your own local event; in turn, your show profits will directly benefit venues in hopes to stay open

While providing an awesome opportunity for women to excel in the promoting sector, Music Venue Trust continues its mission to preserve Grassroots Music Venues, responsible for much of the iconic artists who utilized these local, British venues as a platform to musical success over the past 40 years.

These venues made it possible for artists such as The Beatles, The Clash, Kate Bush, Dire Straits and Radiohead to get recognized, and ultimately given the opportunity to share their treasured music with the world, MVT states on its website. In fact, without these venues we may not ever find another Adele or Ed Sheeran, both amazing artists who give grassroots venues current and relevant value they truly stand for.

In order to revamp the grassroots scene, harnessing a hardworking, new generation of female promoters will strengthen the music community as a whole; Music venues, aspiring artists and new promoters will all thrive immensely. Founded in 2017, this is exactly what Music Planet Live aims to achieve. For this initiative, MPL aims to provide the opportunity for promoters by removing the financial risks, pay the artists and venues alike, Richard Taylor of MPL said.  

For more details regarding Fightback Grassroots Promoter, read the full announcement here: Exciting new initiative from Music Planet Live and Music Venue Trust

For more information on how to apply to Fightback Grassroots Promoter, visit www.musicplanetlive.com to create an account, then email Music Venue Trust at info@musicvenuetrust.com for more details.

 

2017 STRUCTURAL MISHAPS & TRAGEDIES - HIGHLIGHTS

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2017 STRUCTURAL MISHAPS & TRAGEDIES  - HIGHLIGHTS

MONDAY // MARCH 12, 2018

In just ten days, the Event Safety Alliance will host its Severe Weather Summit at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, and we thought we would share some of the structural mishaps and tragedies that occurred in 2017 alone.

We can learn from the structural mishaps and tragedies that have occurred worldwide by educating ourselves and others. According to the ESA, “recent history shows that severe weather can disrupt even the best-laid plans. When it does, the results can be physically and financially catastrophic.”   

Outlined by ESA, here are some highlights we chose to discuss off the full sheet. You may view their full list here.

Truss Stage Roof Collapse

  • Where: Atmosphere dance music festival in Esteio, Southern Brazil
  • When: December 12, 2017
  • What happened: High winds
  • Deaths: Brazilian DJ Kaleb Freitas was pronounced dead upon arrival at the local hospital, after suffering head injuries from debris following the collapse
  • Error: Severe weather warnings regarding the high winds were issued, yet the festival went on

Scaff Tower Collapse

  • Where: Festival Ceremonia in Toluca (outskirts of Mexico City)
  • When: April 1, 2017
  • What happened: High winds & small twisters; bad vertical joints
  • Deaths: None
  • No error: The severe weather conditions knocked over portable bathrooms as well as caused damage to scaffolds. Winds blew off the main stage screen, and festival organizers delayed the festival schedule to repair and assess; the festival cancelled for the evening and finally rescheduled for Sunday. Thanks to festival organizers no one was hurt and the immense support eased the disappointment of Saturday’s cancellation.  

Stage Roof Collapse

  • Where: Sugat Kabanhawan Festival in Cebu, Philippines
  • When: April 16, 2017
  • What happened: Heavy rains caused a stage collapse, where festival-goers were taking shelter from the rain
  • Deaths: 0; 10 injured (including 3 minors), one severely injured
  • Error: The scaffolding foundation grew weak from the flooded ground

Stage Fire

  • Where: Tomorrowland Unite Spain music festival in Barcelona
  • When: July 29, 2017
  • What happened: The speaker system caught fire, causing a huge explosion of fire on stage, fans reported.
  • Deaths: 0; none injured
  • Error: The pyrotechnic spectacle overheated the material used in constructing the stage

Dance Floor Collapse

  • Where: Panorama Festival in Randall’s Island, New York City
  • When: July 30, 2017
  • What happened: Fans backed away from an area where the floor appeared to collapse
  • Error: Isaiah Rashad’s set was very high capacity and even had a long line during the incident, the Brooklyn Vegan reported.

Aerial Mishap - Winch Failure

  • Where: Finn’s Beach Club in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
  • When: November 6, 2017
  • What happened: Sam Panda, 26, an aerial acrobat fell to the ground at 13 ft. high as she hung upside down in a metal hoop suspended from a rig on stage, after the metal cable came loose.
  • Deaths: None; Panda broke her neck as soon as she hit the stage
  • Error: Inspection; Her friend said Panda felt unsafe with the equipment & had an outside company inspect its security, reported Daily Mail.   

Stage Prop Totem Collapse

  • Where: Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City
  • When: October 1, 2017
  • What happened: Marilyn Manson “grabbed onto some metal bars between a pair of prop pistols; one of the pieces tipped over onto him, crushing bones in his right leg…” Rolling Stone reported.
  • Deaths: None; Manson broke his fibula in two places, and ended with 10 screws and a plate inserted into the bone
  • Error: Performer error

Dance Floor Collapse

  • Where: Butterfly Disco Pub in Tenerife, Canary Island
  • When: November 29, 2017
  • What happened: Attendees fell approximately ten feet into the basement after the floor gave way; it “literally broke in half and people plunged into the basement below,” Daily Mail. The collapse impacted part of the stage and floor areas.
  • Deaths: None; 22 injured including a 59-year old with a broken leg and 57-year old with head injuries
  • Errors: TBA

To learn more about the ESA’s Severe Weather Summit on March 22-23, visit https://eventsafetyalliance.org/severe-weather-summit/

"Strike A Chord" Discussion Spoke Volumes On Mental Wellness in the Entertainment Industry

  Those who participated in the panel include Talinda Bennington, Chester's wife; Anna Shinoda, Chester's band mate's wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring & Production for Linkin Park; Joey "Vendetta" Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada; & Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give an Hour

Those who participated in the panel include Talinda Bennington, Chester's wife; Anna Shinoda, Chester's band mate's wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring & Production for Linkin Park; Joey "Vendetta" Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada; & Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give an Hour

Strike A Chord Discussion Spoke Volumes On Mental Wellness in the Entertainment Industry

By: Dana Janssen, TourReady, Inc. 

WEDNESDAY // FEBRUARY 28, 2018

In July 2017, the music world tragically and abruptly lost the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington. Born out of tragedy, on January 31, 2018, the Strike A Chord Discussion at Live Nation Canada focused on mental wellness in the entertainment industry and specific actions to take better care of ourselves and each other.

While working in the entertainment industry is rewarding, the lifestyle itself creates challenges to our mental health. The constantly evolving industry creates a high-pressure, stressful environment where we tend to place our entire well being on the back burner as a matter of course.

High stress, lack of sleep, chronic jet lag, poor eating habits, and a lack of exercise are just a few of the challenges touring professionals deal with on a daily basis. A 2017 American business traveler study from On Call International found that ⅓ of road warriors experience higher than normal stress levels, causing several issues including the growth or worsening of depression and anxiety.

In response to the growing number of individuals who are emotionally suffering, Live Nation CanadaBell Let's TalkWarner Music CanadaCanadian Event Safety and Event Safety Alliance (ESA) teamed up to spread mental health awareness and voice a new approach for people to easily find the help they deserve.

Those participating in the panel were those closest to Chester, including Talinda Bennington, Chester’s wife; Anna Shinoda, Author and Chester’s band mate’s wife; ESA Chairman Jim Digby, Director of Touring and Production for Linkin Park; and Joey “Vendetta” Scoleri, Head of Industry Relations of Live Nation Canada. Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and President of Give An Hour also joined the event. Give an Hour leads the Campaign to Change Direction and is now working closely with Talinda Bennington to reach those who are in need of mental health care and support. 

In addition to the organizations previously listed, attendees of the private event included The AFC, a company that provides emergency funding for Canada’s entertainment industry; OVER THE BRIDGE, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and addiction awareness and support resources; and TourReady, Inc., a partner of the ESA working to spread the Canadian initiatives on mental health awareness and actions in the United States.

The group disclosed personal experiences in order to discuss how to talk about mental health; recognize warning signs, changes in behaviors and triggers; seek support for ourselves; and how to help those surrounding us who are suffering emotionally and/or dealing with addiction.

Live entertainment individuals gathered before the panel hoping to make a lasting change across the industry in the aftermath of the loss of Chester. We hope to heal ourselves and those in need. The discussion on mental health has well begun reaching higher volumes and has sparked the world to listen more than ever before. People are finally talking.

Live Nation Canada furnished the discussion room with round tables, chairs, comfortable red couches and coffee tables. Each table displayed several handouts of a graphic picturing the Campaign to Change Direction’s Five Signs of someone who suffers from emotional pain and might need support.

Samantha Slattery, co-chair and executive director of Capital Presents opened the event alongside Janet Sellery, co-chair and health & safety consultant of Sellery Health + Safety.

Digging deep into sensitive topics, Sellery reminded the audience to excuse themselves if anyone is left feeling vulnerable, and offered an on-site psychotherapist for support. Digby advised the audience to take a deep breath before diving into the crucial discussion.

“We Let Our Guard Down”

There had been no overt signs prior to the loss of Chester, Digby said. The Linkin Park Family welcomed Digby in 2002, throughout the journey the family ideal continually evolved to it’s most recent place of nearly perfect. Chester’s sudden passing devastated the entire family who never saw this coming.

Not only did grief and shock overwhelm the LP family, but also their dedicated and loyal fans. The difficult lyrics, Digby said, spoke to fans in a uniquely genuine way. Fans coped with the loss of their hero heavily through social media, supporting one another through asking for help in their own lives.

The most important and alarming factor is that depression rarely has a face. There are very few “tells” and in some cases none. Though after the fact we can sometimes see indications – or “signs” of the pain or suffering that was hidden.

Some of Chester’s inner demons were known over the years and had played a crucial part of who he was. However, during the months preceding his loss it appeared as though he had things under control. “In fact,” Digby said, “this was the best, and most in control Chester we had ever seen."

The discussion presented a home video of a seemingly joyful Chester in good spirits playing The Jelly Bean Challenge with loved ones.  Digby challenged the audience to identify anything out of the ordinary in the video. No one could.

The video was shot only 36 hours before his passing.

“Our guard was down,” Digby said. “He was presenting himself as newly transformed and completely in control.”

Musicians are far too familiar with experiencing emotional ups and downs. With each performance comes the body’s own natural high. The artist connects with the audience, the audience adornment produces a chemical response including dopamine, adrenalin and cortisol, all of which need to be managed, Digby said.

Not only do artists experience these highs, but also crew members behind the scenes will and do as well in their excitement over the thrill of the job. OVER THE BRIDGE recognizes the wide range of industry professionals who may experience similar mental health challenges, including but not limited to, “musicians, booking agents, venue owners, event security, hospitality personnel, bus/truck drivers, and local crew and touring crew.”

The problem occurs when the show is over, the hotel door shuts and the lights turn off. What happens after experiencing such a huge high followed by the quietness of a hotel room or bus bunk? Sometimes to continue reveling in the euphoric rush, substance use or other addictive behaviors become normalized.

Despite the anecdotal reports of post-performance lows and substance use and addiction to combat these lows, there is a lack of research to back the important issues that have become very normalized amongst musicians.

Ace Piva of OVER THE BRIDGE and his research team designed a study that measures musician post-performance mood response and how those individuals manage, cope and celebrate those emotions. The team is currently sorting through the collected data of the study produced under the supervision of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“It is our duty to acknowledge it and make it ok to talk about it to try and help others help themselves or someone they care about,” Digby said. “That’s why we’re here.”

“What Did I Miss?”

Although Talinda and Chester were inseparable from the start, the two began as emotionally unhealthy in their own, separate ways. He had struggled with depression and addiction in the past, something Talinda had strived again and again to understand from her perspective - a totally unknown territory.

“We can seem so normal and so okay, and then not be okay - in an instant,” Talinda said. 

At the time of his passing, Chester had practiced sobriety for six months and was also enrolled in an outpatient treatment program.

Any relapse in the past resulted in utmost, indescribable shame within Chester.  In addition to overwhelming shame, Talinda recalled the ongoing pressure Chester experienced throughout his musical career. With each album success came the pressure to achieve an even higher success on the next album, while at the same time fighting hard for self-improvement.

His loved ones will remain unaware of Chester’s thought process during his final moments, but the only things to blame are disease, addiction and mental illness. What are some of the issues victims’ loved ones experience in the aftermath of a tragic loss such as Chester’s?

To answer this question, TourReady spoke to Van Dahlen, who, through Give an Hour, created a national network of volunteer mental health professionals who provide free and confidential mental health care to those in need including those who serve, veterans and their families.

The grief survived loved ones are left with, Van Dahlen told TourReady, is overwhelming and they wish to undo it.

“Survivors guilt,” she said, “is an actual phenomenon that we frequently see when someone dies by suicide, when there are traumas, natural disasters occur, or in the aftermath of an mass shooting.”

Both survivors and loved ones live with thoughts such as, “What did I miss?”; “Could I have prevented it?”;  “Recognized it?”; and, “Could I have seen it coming?”

The answer is that it is typically extremely difficult to prevent these traumas or tragedies.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time,” Van Dahlen continued, “the survivor couldn’t have changed [the outcome] or stopped it.”

Following the immediate aftermath, these feelings are normal and understandable. However, people will have to judge how well they can tolerate [those feelings], Van Dahlen said.

“When a survivor’s grief becomes unremitting and begins to preoccupy the individual throughout the day or late at night, people deserve proper care, support and attention to work through these feelings and reactions so that they can move on,” Van Dahlen said.

Instead of attempting to answer the why we must understand his passing as a recipe for a tragic final conclusion.

“Typically, there are multiple factors that contribute to someone’s death by suicide. In Chester’s case it may have been past traumas, the impact of addition and the loss of his close friend, Chris Cornell - how these all fit together, for Chester, we will likely never know,” Van Dahlen said.

Remaining stuck in the endlessly tangled search for answers will solely result in significant suffering within the individuals who are left behind.

Based on what we know from those closest to him, the years of untreated mental health and substance abuse led to his loss against the battle of mental health.

Thanks to the individuals who shared their experiences at Strike A Chord, the music industry continues to take a huge step forward to remove the stigma surrounding mental health, in hopes of changing the culture for future generations to come.

Changing the Culture

The stigma associated with mental health, mental illness and addiction contributes to the overwhelming emotional suffering within the individual.

Shinoda shared an entry on her personal blog the embarrassment she felt and costs associated with mental health that she, too, suffered with prior to finding what methods work best.

Shinoda discussed the issue of the mental health stigma that turns people away from seeking the attention they deserve. One simple way we can combat the stigma is to change the language we use in society when discussing mental health.

She introduced the phrase committed suicide alone heavily weighs blame on the victim for a tragic end of his or her emotional suffering. If instead, we begin to say died by suicide, we recognize a very real, fatal outcome for untreated mental illnesses.

We need to change the culture. It can feel embarrassing, and the time it takes to navigate affordable resources heightens the stigma, leaving a threat to mental wellbeing untreated. Moving beyond the stigma takes effort from everyone to look after one another in support.

Talinda said something that will resonate with me for the years to come: “When we ask ‘how are you,’ are we really asking, ‘how are you?’”

Think about the last time someone asked you this question, and what their response might have been. Did they ignore your answer? Did they look in the other direction? Did they walk away from you?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you know the abrupt exchange was not a positive one.

Again, we may seem so normal but we aren’t always okay.

Talinda teamed up with Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction to launch a new initiative in honor of Chester’s life, 320 Changes Direction.

Being able to speak openly about these struggles encourages those in need to seek the care they deserve. This is one of the two needs the Campaign to Change Direction and 320 Changes Direction initiative aims to satisfy.

By first changing the culture of mental health, Change Direction and Talinda seek to build a new approach for those suffering to easily find help they need and deserve. In this industry, checking in with each other - caring for each other’s mental wellbeing - is crucial.

When the Campaign to Change Direction launched on March 2, 2015, their 50 partners, and now 320 Changes Direction, have pledged to educate the world about the Five Signs of emotional suffering in order to launch a public health effort for everyone – to encourage all of us to care for our emotional well being. With one in five Americans dealing with a mental health challenge, it is no surprise First Lady Michelle Obama helped launch the campaign as their keynote speaker in Washington, D.C.

Van Dahlen compared knowing the signs of a heart attack equally as important as recognizing the signs of emotional suffering.

“We would never say ‘suck it up’ to cancer,” Van Dahlen continued, “so why would we [say that] to someone who is emotionally suffering?”

Changing this stigma also lies in the hands of parents who should encourage their children to think and talk about their emotional wellbeing.

“We teach them about issues such as drugs and sex but we don’t spend a whole lot of time helping them grow emotionally fit,” Van Dahlen said. She made the argument emotional wellbeing is a bedrock for success in life, healthy relationships, families and communities.

Putting time and energy into the prevention of emotional suffering is a great start to ensuring our children are emotionally healthy to begin with.

There is hope for new pathways, Van Dahlen continued, but there is no pill to fix a mental health challenge. Although there are pills to aid mental suffering, such as an aid in sleep after a post-traumatic event, one still needs to put in the work.

Seeking Self-Help

To understand the difference between an emotionally suffering individual and one who is not, each individual’s brain differs widely from the rest. Humans have yet to understand how each and every brain works in its entirety – but this is ok because there is a lot we do know about how our brains contribute to our feelings and our behaviors.

Along with the movement to drive culture change, the second goal of these amazing organizations aims to create a new approach to guarantee easy access in finding help whenever necessary.

The ability to help ourselves is what we do understand. Humans have the capability to heal and change behavior patterns, Van Dahlen said.

During the struggle of his own mental health journey, Scoleri compared the incessant rumination plagued over his brain to spiders searching for every negative thought imaginable.

To help himself, other habits Scoleri currently practices include meditation, exercise, avoiding caffeine/alcohol, eating clean, eliminating social media, turning one’s phone off two hours prior to bed, and much more he listed on a convenient handout at the discussion.

The problem is, Scoleri revealed, is no one provided his personal list of tips for him. He had to recognize his own need for help and work for it.

The panel then displayed a quote by Maya Angelou:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Mental health awareness training, Digby said, is a good idea. We have already seen both Canada and the UK jump ahead with government funding toward mental health first aid. And the Campaign to Change Direction launched the Five Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-being that we can all learn and practice on www.changedirection.org.

Bell Let’s Talk has created their own five ways to end the stigma around mental illness, described on the home page of their website.

More industry specific, the AFC, formerly known as the Actors Fund of Canada, is described as the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Each year, the organization distributes $500,000 in emergency financial aid to help all entertainment industry professionals suffering from injury, illness or other personal hardships.

In addition to OVER THE BRIDGE currently sorting data from the post-performance mood response study, they have collected local mental health programs and resources, entertainment support and national crisis support/distress lines on their website, www.overthebridge.org and http://www.ementalhealth.ca.

The mental health conversation in the American entertainment industry has recently jumped on board. When asking Van Dahlen about organizations leading the conversation, she credited Live Nation and Warner Music for seizing the opportunity to build a movement within the music industry to address needs of artists, industry professionals behind the scenes and fans.

The Recording Academy MusiCares brings awareness to music industry professionals suffering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and uses their platform to educate us on programs available across the nation.

Change Direction’s partnerships with Talinda through 320 Changes Direction, various artists and groups, Live Nation, the industry standards Digby continues to develop, and the supporting organizations at Strike A Chord are all faced with a huge opportunity to elevate this important issue.  

The resources are here. But it takes the individual to recognize and help him or herself as a first step in order to utilize the resources. And people in this world have the right to take care of themselves.

Shortly before Chester passed, a veteran had given him a dog tag Talinda wore around her neck bearing a message for all of us.

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit,” Talinda read. “I found this after he passed, at a time when I needed to hear it the most. So I want to pass that to you. Now you know - we’ve shared this wisdom with you, but it takes courage. And I wish that courage to every one of you to take care of yourselves.”


Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018 resulted in over 130,000 online interactions and raised $6,919,199 dedicated to mental health in Canada becoming a stigma-free country.

Learning Resources

To learn more about the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and pledge to share the Signs, visit The Campaign to Change Direction: www.changedirection.org

To learn more about mental health conditions visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions

To learn more about mental health organizations and statistics worldwide visit World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/mental_health/en/

Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Text SIGNS to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-487-4889

 

Watch the full stream video of Strike A Chord here.

 

WHY SPECIALIZED PIT SECURITY IS CRUCIAL

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WHY PIT SPECIALIZED PIT SECURITY IS CRUCIAL

MONDAY // FEBRUARY 26, 2018

If you have not seen the bizarre video from earlier this month of the over excited fan climbing onto Keisha Cole’s stage to only get physically thrown off by security - well, you should. Here it is below:

 
 

In the video, the man is seen hopping the barricade to join Cole on stage and appears to try and grab the microphone from her. It didn’t take long before security grabbed the man who didn’t seem to comply with the bouncer’s orders before throwing him off of the stage.

Although no injuries were reported, the fall looks quite painful. How did this man manage to get past security? How did he manage to climb the barricade and do so without anyone noticing in time?

The video seems to show pit security fail to react in time to the over zealous fan. Sometimes the consequences won’t stop these types of fans from committing this act. For one, an individual who commits this crime may get arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, punishable up to 93 days in jail and fined as much as $500, Thomas Hardesty, Director of Security & Traffic Management for Palace Sports Entertainment told Yahoo! Entertainment.

This man may have suffered minor injuries, but others are not so lucky. In fact, a fan actually died two weeks after a 2010 Ted Nugent show after the bass player kicked the adoring fan in the head after he snuck on stage, Yahoo! Entertainment reported.

The event security, but perhaps they weren’t specialized pit security personnel. GPS Security outlined five reasons why every event needs to establish specialized pit security for us to elaborate on in response to the recent event.   

1. Lifting People Properly: Especially after this man fell (after security failed to catch him), lifting individuals from a dense crowd requires proper training and care. With the potential for injury of both the lifter and the individual, specialized pit crews are necessary since they possess the sufficient skills to do so.

2. Performers Safety / Fan Safety: When a venue hires a specialized pit crew, the performer should not be subject to any threats from the crowd. Even if the performer decides to descend to the crowd for interaction, the specialized pit crew upholds the performer’s safety. Although the intentions of the over excited fan may not be malicious, an uncontrolled fan on stage opens many doors for a negative conclusion - which brings us to another point we decided is just as important: Fan Safety.

Just like the video, security aggressively shoved the fan onto the floor. What if the fan had fallen head first or trampled on following the fall? Having a surprise fan jump on stage isn’t the first thought on the performer’s mind during their gig. Just as we mentioned before, a fan had died because of the bass player’s reaction.  

3. Safety of Crew: When a crew is in place, they not only look out for the performers/fans, but also each other. In a case where one security personnel acts alone, he or she may not have the proper backup if a fan becomes too much for one person to handle alone. Lifting and escorting an individual should be done in groups of three, eliminating the difficulty and danger of the crew member and the individual. 

4. They See Everything: From the video, it is very difficult to tell where the security’s eyes are focused on at the time of the barricade hop. An experienced pit crew knows how to constantly scan the crowd for threats while interacting casually. In addition, some pit crews may have water to keep the pit fans hydrated.

5. Team Work = Key to Good Functioning: An experienced pit crew will have a plan of action for every circumstance. The article explains if one pit crew member notices an issue, he or she will know the proper way to inform the others and seamlessly handle the situation together.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL JOB

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COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL JOB

THURSDAY // FEBRUARY 15, 2018

The smallest form of miscommunication can result in a total disaster when it comes to the live entertainment industry. On the individual level, you may be the best, organized event professional who notices minuscule details, but if you lack effective communication with other individuals working on the same event, nobody will care about your skills when disaster strikes.

When we read about other event conundrums, never think, “that will never happen to me,” because many times the victim of these disasters will think, “I can't believe this happened to me!”

Pollstar recently published an article about the secret to having a smooth show day, pointing at effective communication from the venue executives over the phone as the key.

The article highlights phone communication eliminates details that may slip through the cracks over email. You can have hundreds of emails back and forth, but someone will most likely miss something.

“Venues need to be sure to communicate with tour managers to give them a heads-up about potential challenges to load-in, such as construction in the area,” the article says. Jerome Crooks, tour manager for Nine Inch Nails, Tool and LCD Soundsystem told Pollstar a venue forgot to tell him a marathon was going through the area, resulting in a two-hour delay to load-in.

Let’s look at the TomorrowWorld 2015 disaster in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, for example. The rain showers caused the rural venue to transform into a mud pit, making it impossible for cars to drive to and from the event.

The result? TomorrowWorld’s 120,000 young attendees were faced with 20-mile traffic jams, 5 mile-hikes, lack of food and water, and no shelter during the night, reported Vice.

The venue was totally unprepared for the weather conditions surrounding the event. Nothing was communicated between the festival organizers and venue about creating a back-up plan. People either paid hundreds of dollars to Uber’s surging prices or slept on the side of the road without food and water, the article reported.

With no real effective plan of action, the event actually cancelled its third day for attendees not camping on-site. Lack of planning, coordination and communication concluded the festival’s return accompanied by lawsuits.

What can we do to communicate better?

Event planners revealed their tips to etouches.com on how to prevent issues before and during the big day.

After Text/Email, Follow-Up With a Call: This day and age, most of the communication we participate in on a daily basis is done digitally, via text or email. Possessing important information on an email document or text is necessary and extremely helpful, but there is always the possibility ideas or crucial details get lost in translation. We know this already when it comes to everyday communication with the relationships we have outside of work. Follow-up with a phone call, especially if the email/text includes crucial detail or lengthy information.

In addition, the “you never got my text?” excuse doesn’t fly anymore and no one will believe you, even if you did try to send a text. A simple follow-up phone call does the trick and ensures confidence in the exchange of information.

Interacting/Following Up With Third-Party Vendors: Frequently checking in with both your team and the client is crucial. Waiting for mistakes to surface on their own is detrimental to the event. Checking up on the progress gives a chance to pinpoint any mistakes threatening to the event’s success. In addition, this interaction “builds rapport and creates lasting relationships,” the article said.

Following up with third-party vendors, such as a photographer, caterer, or DJ is crucial to ensure what you may have promised to the client as expected. Failure to communicate with these parties would fall on you no matter what the cause.

Write Efficient Emails: There is no excuse for the 20 typos in your email, we have spell check, people! In addition to spelling, the most important thing is to communicate all the details necessary in one email rather than a series of back and forth emails, resulting in a email chain that scrolls for days. You may be hiding Important information within the chain, impossible to find, resulting in wasted time and potential event disaster.

The takeaway? Keep all lines of communication open. Call frequently, write efficiently and interact with all parties more than once. Doing so will save your event, your reputation and your money.   

CREW MEMBERS TAKE MINNEAPOLIS: WORKING UNDER COLD CONDITIONS

 Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging & Productions bundles up in proper gear for the Minneapolis Weather Conditions at his crew's Super Bowl build. 

Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging & Productions bundles up in proper gear for the Minneapolis Weather Conditions at his crew's Super Bowl build. 

CREW MEMBERS TAKE MINNEAPOLIS: WORKING UNDER COLD CONDITIONS

WEDNESDAY // FEBRUARY 7, 2018

If you were lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl this year, then you got lucky the big game took place inside the climate-controlled U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Outside of the 70°F stadium temperature, surrounded the coldest outdoor Super Bowl temperatures in history. Temperatures for the big game reached just above 0°F, with wind chill making it feel minus 20°F, USA Today reported.

For the production crew, frigid, snowy weather creates a whole different playing field. It is vital for all site supervisors, employers and individual crew members to prepare accordingly for each and every job impacted by severe weather conditions.

On January 22, people located in the Plains and Midwest were advised to stay off of the roads during heavy snowfall and powerful, gusting winds. All travel was expected to be dangerous especially closer to the evening, ABC News reported.

The storm affected the outdoor crew working downtown, just blocks away from the Super Bowl stadium. We spoke to Site Supervisor Robert Castro of Gallagher Staging & Productions after dangerous weather conditions prompted him to shorten his crew’s normal work day. Castro detailed the extent of how the stormy weather has affected the custom truss structure build in Minneapolis thus far.

“It was super windy all day. Our guys are rigged in the air, so when the wind gusts reached 30 miles per hour we had to pull it down and tell the guys to go home,” Castro said.

These conditions are not typical for staging crew. During the build, temperatures dropped to 25°F, but the windchill factor caused the temperature to feel 14°F. That being said, supervisors must closely monitor the work environment at all times.

“We work in the rain unless it gets super bad. We work as long as we feel comfortable and safe, and when it takes a direction for the worse, we slow down and wait for it to pass,” Castro said.

The Construction Health & Safety Manual: Rigging reads, “Never carry out a hoisting or rigging operation when winds create hazards for workers, the general public, or property.”

More specifically, high gusts of wind may cause equipment to swing or even rotate out of control, creating danger to riggers and potentially overloading the hoisting equipment.

Another consideration was the surface of the truss riggers utilized in order to climb.

“The snowfall causes truss to become wet and eventually the wind gusts cause everything to freeze over and become slippery,” Castro said.

When it came to objects freezing over, truss and other equipment were not the only issues.

“Anything on the truck that cannot freeze needs to be insulated. We had liquids in our first aid kit freeze solid,” said Project Manager Joe Golden of Gallagher Staging.

During winter storms such as these, it is so important for supervisors to know safety precautions including dressing in proper gear. The crew geared up with the appropriate pants and layers including a jacket with a waterproof layer and layer to keep warm.

Shoes must be insulated and waterproof to stay decently warm, but Castro described his severe weather experience as a horribly cold one, due to steep snow reaching above their boots and ankles.

“You need lots of layers, especially wool and polypropylene lined socks. Your hands can’t work in waterproof gloves, so bring several pairs of dry gloves to change into once they get wet,” Golden suggested.

All geared up, Castro and his crew felt “like marshmallow men wobbling down the street” as they observed Minneapolis natives walking through downtown wearing jeans. Natives are use to the cold, but you have to consider the time spent inside to give their bodies’ a break to warm up.

Castro and his crew made sure to take breaks inside, but for the most part the crew diligently worked on the structure outdoors - much more time was spent outside than the on-foot passers.

Knowing what gear to wear is one thing, but for Castro the most important task is knowing when to call it quits before any accidents may occur.

Who is responsible for calling it off? It varies from job to job, Castro added, possibly the supervisor, the client or a safety guy on site. For this particular job, the stage hands worked inside the arena so they were not used to doing this type of work outside. Castro is the supervisor on site, so it was his job to pay close attention to weather conditions and how it may have affected the safety of his crew. 

As a supervisor, having a plan of action instilled prior to the build is so important, Castro said. This involves a bit of risk assessment, in the phase where a risk is in its “raw state” and the supervisor should visualize everything that he or she will carry out to manage the danger, the Event Safety Alliance wrote in the Guide to Risk Assessment 1.01.

The risk assessment process in its entirety, includes the following steps:

  • Identify hazards
  • Identify all parties who might be harmed
  • Evaluate risk
  • Record assessment
  • Monitor & Review

Not only is the event organizer responsible for monitoring the safety of his crew, but also the crew themselves.  

“The boots on the ground should also be able to speak up if they feel that conditions have become unsafe,” said Dan Broadhead of Gallagher Staging. This goes along the lines, if you see something, say something.  

Going into the build, Castro explained, was a little nerve wracking nonetheless because of the cold weather, wind and the location of the build. 

“Having trust in the engineering is everything,” Castro. The outdoor Super Bowl structure was very custom with the various custom angles within. When the team began building the structure, Castro felt very confident in both the engineering performance and crew on-site.

Along with feeling confident in the structure’s engineering, the crew relied on the Weather Nowcasting system to alert him, receive updates and help prepare ahead of time with future weather reports.

In addition, Golden told us the usefulness in Weather Ops from WDT for forecasting during this project.

“It’s been great as it’s going to get. [The weather] totally has the potential to make things go south, but we have an awesome crew here. Of course we all hate the cold and wind, but our crew is amazing and gets the job done correctly,” Castro added.

The big game was on Sunday, February 4, where the Philadelphia Eagles took the win over The New England Patriots. Although inside, fans bundled up during travel and planned their journey to the stadium accordingly.

“We’re the first ones here and the last ones to leave. We’re here for the experience, and it’ll be one to brag about for a long time,” Castro said.

The below section is dedicated to inform cold stress and wind chill factors, implications and ways to keep warm and stay safe while working in cold weather conditions.

Cold Stress

According to OSHA.gov, cold stress happens when the skin temperature drops and causes the internal body temperature to plummet. Additionally, wind speed creates a wind chill effect causing heat to exert from the body.

Types of cold stress include trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Cold stress varies on location, for example, temperatures near freezing are categorized as cold stress in areas not use to cold weather.

Visit OSHA.gov for a detailed list of cold stress symptoms and treatment advice.

Wind Chill

Again, the actual air temperature combined with wind speed affects how cold you are. The definition of wind chill on OSHA.gov, is “the term used to describe heat loss from the human body.” One should use the National Weather Service (NWS) Wind Chill Calculator to determine the correct temperature your body feels.

What Employees Can Do

Dress Properly: The first thing you can do to keep warm is dress correctly. Wear at least three layers of loose clothing.

  • Inner: Stay dry by wearing wool, silk or synthetic
  • Middle: Stay insulated by wearing wool or synthetic
  • Outer: Prevent overheating by wearing an outer wind/rain protection layer

*Be sure to have extra clothing nearby in case clothes get wet.

Wearing a hat or hood keeps your entire body warmer than it would be without one. If necessary, wear a knit mask over your face and mouth. To combat water, use insulated gloves and waterproof boots.

Although your employer should already have done so prior to the job, familiarize yourself with cold stress symptoms, listed on OSHA.gov.

Since moisture and dampness increases loss of heat, stay dry in cold areas. Lastly, follow safe work practices, proper engineering controls and employer provided personal protective equipment (PPE).

Eat Right = Stay Warm: Some foods make your body temperature warmer than other foods! The Healthy Eating segment from SFGate provides food suggestions that may benefit you more than others.

Clearly, eating hot food is the way to go. Slow cook food such as roasts, soups and stews are perfect to save hands-on time spent cooking. Adding spice to your food increases body temperature as well.

Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates. Whole plant foods such as

  • Green vegetables
  • Whole grains (oatmeal, pasta, whole-grain bread), starch vegetables (potatoes, corn, pumpkin) and beans, lentils and peas.

Your body needs fat, especially during the winter. Not only does fat provide insulation, but the body utilizes fat in order to absorb vitamins A, E, K and D, SFGate reported. More specifically, a vitamin D (absorbed from sunlight) deficiency may damage your health as well as contribute to depression. Correct fats to eat include:

  • Fish
  • Nuts & nut butters (cashew butter, almond butter, etc.)
  • Olives
  • Avocado
  • Tofu
  • If you must eat red meat, stick to the correct service portion (three ounces) & only three times per week

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Just like you make sure to hydrate during the peak of summer, you must do the same in colder temperatures. Choosing hot tea kills three birds with one stone, meaning it’s a good source of hydration, will naturally warm your body and distributes antioxidants to provide muscle endurance.

In order to prevent cold stress, site supervisors and all employers in general should consider the following:

  • Train workers on recognizing environmental and workplace factors potentially leading to cold stress
  • Inform employees on symptoms, prevention such as proper clothing, and treatment
  • Monitor worker physical condition
  • Schedule several short breaks in warm/dry areas & schedule work during the warmest point in the day
  • Have employees work in pairs
  • Provide warm/sweet beverages (without alcohol), and radiant heaters

 

TOURING INTERNATIONALLY WITH OVERDUE TAXES? NOT HAPPENING

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WEDNESDAY // JANUARY 24, 2018

TOURING INTERNATIONALLY WITH OVERDUE TAXES? NOT HAPPENING

Picture this: You’re mentally prepared to leave the country for The Killers South American tour in about a month and a half. You’ve taken care of things at home and more than excited for the adventure ahead. Then it hits you: You need to renew your passport. Passports take about eight weeks to renew, but you’ll just expedite it for reassurance, you think to yourself.

You then head down to your local post office for passport renewal.

Denied?! What do you mean denied?!

The new Notice 2018-01 includes new rules regarding tax debts ultimately preventing one from receiving or renewing a passport, reported Robert W. Wood on Forbes. Additionally, the State Department may choose to revoke your current passport after the IRS notifies your tax debt as “seriously delinquent.”

From this Forbes article, we’ve outlined the main things you’ll need to know and do step-by-step when faced with this nightmare - or simply want to avoid it.

Two VERY important things to know:

  • A “seriously delinquent” tax debt means you owe over $50,000, but be aware this is the total including penalties and interest - so $20,000 has this ability to accumulate to $50,000.
  • The sooner you respond to IRS notices prior to this phase, and continue protest / disputing, a tax debt does NOT finalize - so stop ignoring those notices!

By law, the IRS is required to notify the State Department when things get to this point. In fact, the law was enacted three years ago but have now decided to put regulations into play.

I got myself into this mess. What now?  

  1. If possible, pay the taxes in full right away
  2. Enter into an installment agreement with the IRS
    • Paying your tax debt overtime will eliminate the IRS label “seriously delinquent” as long as payments are made on time
  3. Offer a compromise
    • You are entitled to a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing before Appeals if the IRS sends you a notice. Click here for more details.

So it feels like life completely sucks at this point, but you don’t have to find a new job or make any drastic life changes - yet. You have to act quick, because the State Department gives you only 90 days to fix the issue before denying the passport application.

But I need my passport within these 90 days!

You then must contact the IRS yourself and resolve the issue 45 days within your application date.

The IRS made a mistake! I already fixed my tax debt! / My tax debt is NOT seriously delinquent!  

If your case falls under either of these scenarios, your next step is to file a civil action in court. Although you cannot physically go and challenge the certification or IRS decision at the IRS Appeals, you may contact the IRS Notice CP508C phone number to request certification reversal.

This has not happened to me, but the thought of it haunts me enough. How do I prevent this from happening to me?

You should have received plenty of notices from the IRS before reaching the “seriously delinquent” stage. Remember, the more you respond and continue a dispute, your tax debt will not finalize. If you receive an IRS Notice of Proposed Deficiency / Examination Report:

  1. Prepare a protest BEFORE the deadline
  2. You’ll be prompted to visit the IRS Appeals Office, where you’ll then have an opportunity to resolve the issue once and for all
  3. If you cannot resolve the issue (or fail to protest altogether), the IRS will send you a Notice of Deficiency
  4. Finally, you’ll have 90 days to file in the U.S. Tax Court. Click here for tips on how to respond to an IRS Notice.

TourReady Interviews Former Las Vegas SWAT for Insight Into Possible SWAT Building at Shooting Site

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TOURREADY INTERVIEWS FORMER LAS VEGAS SWAT FOR INSIGHT INTO POSSIBLE SWAT BUILDING AT SHOOTING SITE

THURSDAY // JANUARY 18, 2018

Keeping guests safe has increasingly become a frequent topic of discussion amongst law enforcement and all event industry employees.

Last week, MGM Resorts International released a statement regarding a discussion had with the Las Vegas Metro Police about establishing a Metro SWAT team center on the site of the Las Vegas Shooting on October 1, 2017.

The initial news came from activist Laura Loomer on her website, Medium, and soon after reported by other local news sources.

The Village site sits across from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, where 58 people lost their lives and over 500 were wounded after an active shooter opened fire from the 32nd floor. The tragedy is recorded as the worst shooting in modern U.S. history.  

The site would not be used as a SWAT training area, MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong told The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The statement reads:

“MGM has had preliminary discussions with Metro regarding the possibility of using a portion of The Village site for the purposes of creating a facility for the Metro SWAT team. The discussions are in the conceptual stages and no final decisions have been made as to the future use of the entirety of the property. However, consistent with our history of working collaboratively with law enforcement, utilizing a portion of The Village site for law enforcement is one option we are exploring with Metro.”  - MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong

Although Las Vegas Metro Police Sgt. Jeff Clark described the meeting as exploratory, the important discussion of safety and security at live events rose once again - as it always should.

Would implementing another SWAT facility benefit the city’s safety and security? If so, how much?

TourReady asked international security expert and former North Las Vegas SWAT point man, Dave Acosta, for his expertise surrounding the recent discussion.    

“On one hand, absolutely. Having an additional facility where police are working in and out of the building provides a faster police response to that immediate area,” Acosta said.  

But in reducing the amount of potential mass shootings in the future?  

“SWAT does not respond to mass shootings, so it is not relevant to mass shooting prevention or an immediate response to an active shooter,” Acosta said.

In fact, the first two police officers had arrived to the 32nd floor approximately 12 minutes after the first shots were fired, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Past mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, Acosta added, had changed everything when armed first responders waited 45 minutes for the SWAT team to arrive - while students were dying.

“Nowadays police academies train recruits using SWAT tactics in every academy curriculum, such as knowing how to properly clear a building,” Acosta said.

Former East Coast detective and Strip security director Dough Poppa told The Las Vegas Review-Journal he found it unnecessary for SWAT to establish another building, since two locations exist on Christy Lane and another near the North Las Vegas Airport. 

Additionally, Poppa believes the MGM’s statement is solely a publicity stunt in order to make visitors feel safer. Poppa added the decision for MGM to announce it now would be bad timing since investigations are still ongoing.   

Stunt or not, the Las Vegas Metro Police have not confirmed any plans of constructing a new SWAT facility. On the travel industry side of things, people will naturally feel safer with additional police presence in the area.

“Bottom line is, the more police presence and law enforcement structures are visible, the better people will feel,” Acosta said.


 

IMPROVE YOUR TOURING HEALTH

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IMPROVE YOUR TOURING HEALTH

FRIDAY // JANUARY 12, 2018

If your friends and family don’t know by now, you’ve probably reassured them glitz and glamour does not exist in the touring world.

In fact, the short-lived Showtime drama, Roadies, surrounded this reality with its slogan, “The Unsung Heroes of Rock.” Whether you embrace this statement or not, the show would certainly not go on if it weren’t for the skills and rigorous labor of the touring crew.

William Pepple, tour manager and FOH engineer with 14 years of touring experience, told Esquire, when constantly traveling across time zones, “touring is hard on the body and soul. You eat questionable food and sleep weird, erratic hours.”

That being said, what are the effects of draining your body and soul into touring? Dr. Martin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the New York Times the lack of research there currently is on travel health.

This article aims to outline some of the implications touring crew members experience living a chaotic, nomadic lifestyle and things you can do to live a healthier lifestyle on the road. 

Jet Lag

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the circadian biological clock regulates sleep and awake stages each day. The circadian rhythm decreases and increases at various times throughout the day.

Meaning, the strongest point of sleep is usually between 2-4AM and between 1-3pm, but varies from person to person. If sleep deprived, the intensity of drowsiness increases.

Jet lag disrupts our circadian clock, since the shift in time and light forces our bodies to deviate and adjust from our normal pattern. When this happens, we have difficulty thinking and performing tasks.

According to Kwangwook Cho’s chronic jet lag study in Nature Neuroscience, people who cross time zones frequently will suffer from this phenomenon. More specifically, the frequent pattern of light and darkness throws our circadian rhythms off sync from the external time cue. Repetitive disturbances impair both psychological and physiological health and induce stress.

To summarize the gist of the lengthy study, repeated jet lag exposure affected a deficit in spatial learning, such as packing the trunk of a car or hiking with a compass or map.

In addition, the exposure can damage your memory as well. Previous studies, Cho noted, have outlined this damage to the temporal lobe structures may also cause amnesia. To read more about how she obtained these findings, click here.

In Jon Anderson’s 2015 jet lag study, he found when people experience jet lag, the body has to readjust its functions over a minimum of two to three days.

The amount of symptoms sound all too familiar to touring professionals: sleep disturbances, poor eating habits, lassitude, anxiety, irritability, depression, slow reaction and decision making, short-term memory deficit and a habit of accepting lower performance standards.

Poor Diet & Lack of Exercise

A December 2017 study by On Call International collected statistics from today’s business travelers:

  • 54% are less likely to exercise out of town compared to when they are home
  • 44% say they are more likely to eat unhealthy foods
  • 36% report experiencing higher levels of stress during work-related travel
  • 16% say they drink more on trips
  • 8% are more likely to smoke cigarettes

The study concludes an unhealthy diet combined with lack of exercise creates consequences for one’s well being and may lead to serious health problems down the road.

To expand on frequent travelers’ long-term health, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health’s 2015 study says people who travel 20 or more days out of the month have poorer health on various measures compared to those who do not. These include poor self-rated health, higher BMI and higher cholesterol.

Andrew G. Rundle, DrPH, a co-conductor of the study, said people in their 30s who travel frequently with poor eating and exercise habits will experience health issues in the next decade, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Past studies, reported the Harvard Business Review, noted travelers who frequently venture long distances will experience an acceleration in age and an increased likelihood of stroke, heart attack and deep vein thrombosis.

Lack of Sleep & Poor Mental Health

The On Call International study also found 36% report having trouble sleeping while on their work-related trips. Unfortunately, the more stress one experiences, the less likely they are to sleep, and having a bad night’s sleep increases their stress felt throughout the day.

This is an equation for disaster in the touring world, with a combination of long hours, late nights and event pressure.  

Dr. Rundle also found 24% of these employees scored four or more on the Generalized Anxiety Scale (GAD-7) and 15% scored four or more on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), meaning levels of mild or worse anxiety or depressive symptoms are all common for workers who frequently travel.

As a touring professional, there is already enough anxiety and pressure to get things done efficiently and correctly. Throw a hectic, chaotic touring travel schedule in the mix and the anxiety heightens.

The time away from home, family and loved ones creates an underlying feeling of sadness or maybe even guilt if you are away from the family you are ultimately supporting financially.  

THERE’S STILL HOPE

For those new to the touring world or thinking about diving in - this article is not meant to scare you!

If you regularly check in with your physical and psychological health, the hectic and chaotic touring world is a positive experience like no other and a story you’ll repeat to your kids and grandkids for the years to come.

Your Body is a Temple, So Feed It Like One!

Food & Flights: Before boarding a long haul flight, you may want to consider eating nothing at all in order to avoid jet lag. But if you absolutely must eat, your food choice can either make or break your flight experience.

First and foremost, AVOID greasy foods at all costs. The last thing you want to add to your travel and event stress are awful gastronomical issues before, during, or after your flight.

Beware of select healthier options such as onions, cauliflower, cabbage, beans and lentils - these veggies are high in sodium, make you thirsty and cause bloating, reported Smarter Travel. Avoid carbonated water and sodas, beverages responsible for bloating.

Stick to low-sodium snacks such as nuts or non-cruciferous veggies such as carrots or opt for fresh fruit. And always hydrate hydrate hydrate!

Food & Touring: While on tour, eating out may be your only option for some nights. After a long day of paying attention to every single detail besides your hunger, it may be tempting to inhale the cheeseburger and fries at the local diner before hitting the hay.

Instead, try to substitute steamed veggies for fries or ask for vinagrette dressings and other sauces on the side for salads and other entrees.

Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but only if it’s done right! CNN Travel outlines the dos and dont’s for your first meal of the day.

The Frosted Flakes cereal, chocolate donut, pastry or a Starbucks venti white chocolate latte will ruin your day. In fact, a venti white chocolate latte contains a whopping 18 teaspoons of sugar.

If you prefer not to crash on-site, choose foods high in protein such as eggs, low fat Greek yogurt, quinoa, skim milk and cereal low in sugar yet high in fiber.

Coffee and espresso are acceptable, but avoid returning for multiple cups a day. If you must ingest caffeine, try out a caffeine supplement in order to avoid the added cream and sugar.

Get More Sleep, Whenever/Wherever You Can

This sounds like a given, but a reminder to all that your body must recharge in order to feel and perform your best! When you’re working 40 plus hours a week, sleep is most likely the first thing on your mind. But, if you’re the one driving, planning a power nap in between is the safest thing you can do -- plus the extra energy will make your job easier.

Can’t find a place to sleep in peace? If you lost your ear plugs, it may sound silly, but a pair of comfortable, padded, noise cancellation headphones actually help. If the bulk doesn’t cut it for your slumber, there are even fabric headphones designed to use for sleeping comfortably as they resemble a headband. Check out options here.   

Don’t Forget Your Vitamins!

Mom always knew best, but she’s most likely not on tour with you to remind you. Vitamins support your health and body while traveling, as well as boost your energy.

Mashable sums up the best vitamins you should stuff in your bag on the go. If you are traveling to foreign countries, be sure to check their policies to avoid all implications with customs.

  • Multivitamins: These provide the most basic and necessary nutrients you may need to balance touring life. This doesn’t mean you can eat fast foods every day as long as you take your vitamin! The multivitamin will help fill the gaps in what your food intake for the day may be missing.
  • Vitamin B Supplements: Vitamin B boosts energy and your metabolism - both crucial to touring life.
  • Omega-3 Supplements: Many foods, let alone food stops on tour, include omega-3s that help lower risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center. Pick up a bottle of Omega-3 supplements such as Fish Oil, to make up for these lack of omega-3 enriched foods.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are another supplement that boost your immune system, along with your digestive system. While you may not be able to keep probiotic drinks cold during travel, you may want to consider a probiotic complex.
  • Vitamin C: You may find yourself in tight spaces on tour, whether you’re trapped on an airplane or a tour bus, the last thing you want is that guy’s whooping cough. Take vitamin C capsules or an immune health booster you can pour in your water bottle such as Emergen-C or Airborne.

Exercise!

If you’re staying at a hotel, visit the hotel gym sometime before your gig. No gym? No problem, use the floor! Doing squats, push ups, sit ups, and other mat exercises is a good way to keep your body moving.

If you have no idea what you’re doing, there are thousands of YouTube workout videos to stream on your phone to prop against the foot of the bed.

If all else fails - take a jog. Breathe in the fresh air and the uncharted territory around you.  

In this industry, you tend to place your wants and needs on the back burner. Reminder: your health comes first, no questions asked. The study by On Call International reports 1 in 10 work travelers forget to take their daily medications. Don’t put your health on the line for your career. Take your medications, get regular check-ups with your physician and visit the doctor when any alarming health concerns arise.

Manage Your Stress

Last but certainly one of the most important aspects of wellness on tour.

According to the above research, when you provide your body with sufficient nutrients, sleep and exercise, the less stress you are likely to experience.

However, this industry guarantees stress and pressure so you will still have to closely monitor your stress levels and nurture your mental health.

At last, the events industry has increasingly been focusing the conversation on mental health. Forbes ranked an event coordinator No.5 on its list of the 10 Most Stressful Jobs in 2017. It takes a special kind of person to want to work in this industry - whether you’re wearing 10 hats as an event coordinator or living a nomadic lifestyle as a crew member.

We get it - you work best under pressure. This doesn’t mean you should avoid the topic of your mental health and wellbeing.

In August 2017, Event Industry News released a podcast titled “Health & Wellbeing in the events industry: do we need help?” The podcast addresses implications event industry workers experience in the topics addressed above.

Additionally, the new site EventWell.org includes tons of resources entertainment professionals may take advantage of in order to keep mental health in check. Read more from our previous blog post on managing mental health in the events industry here.

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HEARING ON TOUR

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HEARING ON TOUR

THURSDAY // JANUARY 4, 2018

All good things come to an end - including your hearing if you fail to take proper precautions. Why do we work in this industry? We love live music. Working in this industry allows you to hear live music closer than any concert-goer. The ultimate experience. 

Unfortunately, the sound-reinforcement workplace is not regulated, reported Sarah Jones of Live Design. More specifically, sound engineers are at serious risk as they feel pressured to create the loudest show possible.

In fact, the live entertainment industry ranked number six on Health 24's "The 10 Worst Jobs for Your Ears" list, adjacent to careers in operating heavy machinery.

While working in the live music industry doesn’t allow for much personal time, personal safety and health should never be placed on the back burner. We’re not talking about the common cold - damaging your hearing aggregates and is permanent. Here are some warning signs and tips to prevent hearing loss before it’s far too late.

Identify the problem

Before attempting to diagnose yourself, it is vital to get a hearing test. After receiving the facts, you’ll know the foundation you stand on to further protect yourself accordingly.

Benj Kanters, an audio professional at Columbia College who continues to raise hearing loss awareness in the industry, told Jones the benefits of using products to monitor SPLs (sound pressure levels) by determining dangerous audio levels in live-time.

Specifically, Kanters refers to the Trend system, a hardware and software solution with the ability to measure, log and report SPLs, allowing the production team to adjust to safe volumes.

While professionals may suggest the Trend system, that measures SPLs over the duration of a show, it may not be the most practical method for sound engineers to adopt.

Mixing with plugs? No way!

Kanters explains the common issue sound engineers experience with the inability to hear detail while mixing with plugs. He suggests fixing the detail and immediately putting the plugs back in.

Michael Santucci, an audiologist with 30 years of experience in training live music industry workers in hearing loss prevention, suggested alternate mixing techniques to comply with hearing protection.

Unfortunately, while learning to mix dynamically with subtractive mixing takes practice, nothing depends on hearing loss prevention, but rather the engineer’s abilities and what the band wants, Santucci told Jones.

Common Misconceptions

Jones reveals the common misconception among industry professionals who believe P.A. systems emitting low distortion are completely safe. Santucci explains the FOH technology actually allows a cleaner sound and masks volumes detrimental to hearing.  

Another conundrum, Jones adds, is the in-ear monitor musicians use - but will turn up anyway. The purpose is defeated, and you will remain at risk.

Santucci’s research proves it: 95 percent turn on ear monitors matching the exactly same volume as floor monitors, Jones reports.

Things that alleviate hearing damage but won’t prevent or cure it?

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Muscle training

A Louder Awareness

Hearing loss is a growing epidemic. According to MusiCares  of the Recording Academy, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled between 2000 and 2015, and globally, the number is 44 percent.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 18 percent of adults 20-69 experience hearing loss in both ears from reportedly working 5 or more years in a noise-induced working environment.

Jones reports on the growing number of resources educating live music industry workers:

  • The Audio Engineering Society continues to spread awareness of noise-induced hearing loss in the industry, and has held multiple tutorials and workshops on the topic. Their 3rd annual AES International Conference will occur at Columbia College in Chicago on June 20-22, 2018. Click here for more information.
  • MusiCares offers hearing clinics with complimentary ear impressions and custom musician earplugs for all attendees. Their website offers a plethora of educational articles you can visit here.  

EVENTS INDUSTRY CHANGES: What Factors Will Impact 2018?

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EVENTS INDUSTRY CHANGES: What Factors Will Impact 2018?

TUESDAY // JANUARY 2, 2017

It’s safe to say occurrences in 2017 have shaped the changes we will begin to see more clearly in 2018. Our industry is incessantly evolving, but perhaps this year reshaped us more rapid than ever. While many of these events are tragic, the way we react and adapt is the only way our industry becomes stronger. Bizbash recently highlighted the major events industry changes we will see in 2018.   

 

Emergency Planning: The Vegas Shooting is the most recent tragedy and the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. The unthinkable happened at Route 91 Music Festival on October 1, 2017, and most of us still cannot wrap our minds around the evil actions carried out that Sunday evening. While security at the festival could not prevent the aerial gunshots from Mandalay Bay’s 32nd floor, an emergency action plan could have been put in place.

For event industry workers, this means communicating with the local police departments and security officials of the area. All event staff member should meet with these individuals and develop detailed plans in response to multiple scenarios to ensure guest safety, said Diana Cazares of Creative Circle, reported BizBash

Emergency planning could also include engraving vital pieces of information into attendees knowledge, such as knowing the exact location of each exit. The event could make this clear prior to the event on social channels, its website and the event app if made available. Also, having a pre recorded emergency message to blast throughout the event would clear confusion for all concert goers.

Security: Again, the Vegas shooting has hyped up event security and security in general to a new level. The Las Vegas strip established tons of security measures for New Year’s Eve including law enforcement officers, National Guard members, and even snipers. City officials had even doubled the amount of rapid response teams to prepare for any situation, reported NPR

Additionally, in New York City, New Year’s Eve called for the tightest security its had in years. Safety has been and should be event planners’ number one priority, but recent events have solidified this factor more than ever.

BizBash included data security as a priority for event planners to uphold by keeping up with the latest technology to protect confidential information. The Equifax credit disaster perfectly displays what can go wrong if security is not promoted at all levels.

Although your business may not be the size of Equifax, all businesses alike should take all measures possible to ensure their sensitive data is protected. The Daily Report of Law.com outlines five recommendations companies of all sizes should consider to protect themselves from an Equifax nightmare.

Technology: Technology is always expanding at a rapid pace in this day and age. In the events industry, we will continue to see an increase in both event marketing technology and technology in show production.  

For show production, designers continue to set the bar higher with 3D projection mapping, enhancing the show’s visuals to a whole new level. The Gorillaz have held concerts displaying animated characters of the band behind and above the group, reported BBC News. Technology will only continue to push the limits on creating an in-depth connection with the audience from any seat in the venue.  

Other areas such as AR and VR continue to grow, especially in the experiential marketing realm of live events. James Klein, Senior Vice President of Live Production for George P Johnson, believes VR holds the greatest potential as a business development tool, according to Live Design, since it isolates the person within a specific message curated by the company. With AR already pushing the limits, Klein explains, individuals walking throughout events with glasses on will become the standard.  

Connectivity: Shannon Cook of TourTech told BizBash about the benefits of improved WiFi and ease of ticketing/purchasing within the event. If there is connectivity, Cook explains, the experience is both a memorable and profitable one, inevitably pushing companies to invest more money than ever into a working network system.

Mondicon is actually releasing a new solution at The Consumer Electronics Conference (CES) in Las Vegas on January 9. We.Stream, a pocket-sized WiFi hotspot device, is meant to keep international travelers always connected, whether the individual is on business or simply wants to stay connected, reported Business Wire.

The affordable mobile data plans will be available in over 100 countries including the United States, China, Australia, Brazil and all of Europe, the company tweeted. This will be a huge advancement in technology, especially for individuals inside large-scale events and festivals faced with the common problem of connectivity overload by the masses.  

However, many artists are known for the disapproval of cell phone use at their concerts. In fact, the MISFITS implemented a strict no-cell phone rule at all reunion shows in LA and Las Vegas both at the end of December 2017, Blabbermouth reported.

The policy was even published on AXS and Ticketmaster for the events, reading “No cellphones, smart watches, cameras or recording devices will be permitted during The Original Misfits reunion shows. These exclusive one-off performances will be completely phone-free.”  

Event Location Due to Natural Disasters: We have seen many natural disasters during 2017 and they have ultimately affected the cancellation of many outdoor events. In colder parts of the U.S., many New Year’s Eve festivities were cancelled due to arctic temperatures. Event industry workers were forced to cancel Fort Worth’s Sundance Square festivities due to freezing rain and 20 mph winds, Fox reported.

Patricia Simitakos, owner of Trish Star Events, told Bizbash of the effect the California wildfires will have on outdoor events during springtime, meaning we will see fewer than normal.

The Event Safety Alliance actually holds their annual event, The Severe Weather Summit, in order to inform event professionals ways they can respond and prepare to dangerous weather conditions in wake of an event impacted by severe weather.

This year’s event takes place on March 22-23 at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Read more about this event here.

Economy: Leaving off on a positive note, the final factor we will see evolving in 2018 is the ever-changing economy. According to Richard O’Malley, President of the O’Malley Project, “Companies will spend again, people will celebrate bigger, will will be making events great again,” reported BizBash.

Tax cuts have started to prompt businesses to spend more as a result of the economic growth we have seen in 2017. With no sign of letting up, The R&D Market Pulse Index actually predicted this economic growth may carry over into 2019.


 

BEST TOURS OF 2017

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BEST TOURS OF 2017

WEDNESDAY // DECEMBER 20, 2017

With 2017 coming to an end, it's only natural to gear up for some of the most anticipated tours coming to our cities in 2018. Although some of us might want to close the door on 2017 and never look back, 2017 was a year for some of the best tours in the music industry.

From saying goodbye to Tom Petty to breaking our necks at a Metallica concert - here are a few notable tours of 2017 we won't ever forget. 

Tom Petty’s 40th Anniversary Tour

Tom Petty’s death sent shockwaves across the music industry after his cardiac arrest in October 2017. Considering his 40th Anniversary Tour ended just one week before his passing marks this as one of the most memorable tours of 2017 as we say goodbye to a music legend. Last December, Petty actually told Rolling Stone, “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one.”

Petty seemed overjoyed to be on stage, especially performing at his hometown show.  The band performed their 1985 hit “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” an all-time Heartbreakers song during the band’s career. The band’s members consisted of keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Ron Blair, guitarist Mike Campbell, and 24-year old addition drummer Steve Ferrone.

Lighting designer/director and set designer Stanley A. Green upped the ante with the show’s 160 winch balls or orbs, creating an immersive effect on stage, according to PLSN. Technical director Kevin Cassidy mentioned Tom Petty’s humorous desire to feel like he’s inside of a lava lamp.

Petty went bigger with his last tour with video screens, including a 60 foot wide LED screen filled with minimal I-Mag video content and London-based Treatment Visual Productions, all programmed by Green, PLSN reported. The huge backdrop combined with the color-changing orbs lit up the stage for his very last tour in history.

U2: The Joshua Tree Tour

U2 revived its 1987 The Joshua Tree album, the band’s fifth album, with a concept relying on nostalgia but also complete relevance in wake of the 2016 election. The album was written during the Reagan-Thatcher era of British and U.S. policies, including Thatcher trying to put down a miners’ strike, wrote Sarah Larson of The New Yorker. Roger Waters is another artist who had touched on social justice-themed tour earlier this year. U2 felt their 1987 album became more relevant than it would have 3-4 years ago, Bono told Rolling Stone.

And, the 50-show tour was a major hit, earning a whopping $316 million with more than 2.5 million tickets sold, Billboard reported. The tour included fan favorites “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “With or Without You.” Band manager Guy Oseary expressed his privilege in being a part of the epic tour, originally meant for the band to perform only one show, according to Billboard.

The band went big on production, with Anton Corbijin as the photographer and film director - the band’s creative source for 30 years, wrote PLSN. U2 revamped their performance with new technologies from PRG’s Spaceframe and a 4k broadcast camera system in its 87-inch stadium design.
 

Green Day

Green Day’s epic Revolution Radio Tour showed off their first album in four years. Revolution Radio released in 2016. The pop-punk trio came back stronger than ever with 12 albums underneath their belt, with the same energy the band had brought since the beginning.

Fan favorites took over the crowd, like “Holiday,” “Minority,” “Good Riddance,” and so much more, but the band played new hits “ Still Breathing,” and “Bang Bang.” Another highly political tour, Armstrong preached unity, adding rock ‘n roll can change the world in standing up to bullies, Billboard said.

The band went bigger on lighting rather than video assist, which was only present on the side screens for IMAG, PLSN wrote. Along with lighting, designed by Ethan Weber and directed by Tommy Horton, the band wanted to incorporate pyro into a few of their songs, provided by ffp Special Effects.

The band rethought drum risers and decided to incorporate 190 light bulbs into the step units, along with the circus-style Green Day marquee boasting 729 RGBW LED lamps, both fabricated by Gallagher Staging & Productions. View the full production crew here.  

Metallica

The heavy metal band pleased the crowd with their biggest tour yet -- and yes -- our necks still falling off from the headbangers. For the first time in 20 years, Metallica performed an American tour, and what they brought to the table definitely made up for it. Fan favorites “Seek and Destroy,” “Fade to Black,” “One”, and encored with thrashers “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “Enter Sandman.”

Lighting director and designer Rob Koenig worked with show director and set designer Dan Braun to come up with a lighting design easily compatible with an 175 foot emissive video surface - one of the largest video surfaces ever used on a tour, PLSN reported. Along with lights and video, the tour called for two large inflatable balls, lasers, explosions, sparkle cannons and a fire screen spewing 300-foot comets.

Metallica’s Mammoth WorldWired Tour is said to be their biggest production ever, according to Rolling Stone. Each show generates enough power that 1,800 homes use for one month’s duration. Details:

  • -3 days to set up
  • -48 trucks
  • -over 350,000 watts of audio
  • -83 laser fixtures on stage (640 hours to program)
  • -40,000 speakers

The Lumineers

The ever-so-humbling Lumineers exploded back in 2013 with the folky rock ‘n roll band’s hit song “Ho Hey,” and haven’t stopped growing since. The Colorado natives’ 2017 Cleopatra World Tour - and with a great response. The Lumineers ranked No.14 on Pollstar's first quarter of the year worldwide ticket sales at $234,184.

They’re up there with Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses and more. You can feel the band’s intimate performance from any seat in the venue as they connect with the audience through Wesley Schultz's vocals, piano, acoustic guitars and tambourine led hits.

The Cleopatra World Tour boasted an aesthetic Cathedral style design to match a growing audience, which means a growing space for performances. Lighting designers Sooner Routhier and Robert Long worked on creating various visuals to match the “stories” of the show - switching from acoustic songs to full-band performances, wrote PLSN.  

One of the best audience surprises had to be the B-Stage, where everyone in the back had a chance to literally touch the stage as if they were in the pit.

Guns N Roses

After some rocky band turmoil in 2016, Guns N Roses was back and better than ever to rock their 2017 18-month tour. In fact, their three shows in November 2017 all sold out seats at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

According to LA Weekly, the band opened with another version of “It’s So Easy” before beginning their 3.5 hour long set without leaving a single hit out. Guitarist Axl Rose stole the show and kept his vocals strong throughout. Memorable and emotional moments include the band giving tribute to Glen Campbell, Malcolm Young and Chris Cornell.

 

NYE PLANS: BEST LIVE CONCERTS 

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NYE PLANS: BEST LIVE CONCERTS

MONDAY // DECEMBER 18, 2017

Not watching the ball drop this year in Times Square or breaking the bank at the hottest overcrowded nightclub? Ring in 2018 with an unforgettable live concert experience. Here are a few of our picks of some of the best live concert destinations in the U.S. as we say goodbye to 2017.

Colorado

  • New Year’s Eve On the Rocks: Migos, Post Malone, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Dizzy Wright, King Green
  • Where: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, Morrison
  • Celebrate with some of today's hottest hip-hop sensations at the stunning natural, open-air rock structure amphitheater. Get your tickets here.  

 

Florida

  • Billy Joel
  • Where: BB&T Center Sunrise, FL
  • Not looking for a chaotic Florida rager this NYE? Check out the “Piano Man” music icon at the indoor FL Panthers arena to celebrate the end of 2017. Find tickets here.

 

Las Vegas

  • Foo Fighters
  • Where: Cosmopolitan
  • Ring in the new year with some Foo classics & their 2017 album, Concrete And Gold. Not only are the Foo Fighters rocking the Cosmo, but also Duran Duran, French Montana & Zac Brown Band set to perform on different stages. Find your Foo tickets here.

 

  • Bruno Mars
  • Where: Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort & Casino
  • Dance into 2018 in front of an impressive Bruno Mars performance in the midst of his 24K Magic World Tour. The pop-soul, 2011 best selling artist worldwide will surely make your NYE a night to remember. Find tickets here.

 

  • Maroon 5
  • Where: Mandalay Bay
  • With plenty of shows to catch in Vegas on NYE, Maroon 5 makes it to the top of our list. Check out Adam Levine & the band in Vegas. Find tickets here.

 

  • Britney Spears
  • Where: The Axis at Planet Hollywood
  • The multi-platinum superstar never disappoints & is sure to help you ring in the new year with an unforgettable night. Her Vegas performance is said to be one of the best productions the strip has had to offer in years. If you can’t find NYE tickets, Spears has four performance dates prior to the big night. Find tickets here.

 

Los Angeles

  • Dillon Francis
  • Where: The Shrine LA
  • EDM electro house artist Dillon Francis will be back at The Shrine for The Dillon Francis IDGAFOS NYE Experience. Find tickets here.

 

  • KROQ Presents Third Eye Blind, Emo Night Brooklyn, Pedro the Lion
  • Where: The Observatory Santa Ana
  • Close 2017 with a nostalgic performance by Third Eye Blind, Pedro the Lion, & Emo Night Brooklyn, the newly expanded Brooklyn, NY emo & punk-rock DJ duo including guest DJs, surprise performances & more. Find tickets here.

 

  • John Mayer & Dave Chappelle
  • Where: The Forum, Inglewood
  • Spend your evening watching long-time friends John Mayer & Dave Chappelle collaborate in their first show together titled “Controlled Danger”. If you’re scratching your head, recall when Chapelle featured Mayer on the Chappelle’s Show in 2004 with the guitar soundtrack bit about white people dancing from 2004, SPIN wrote. The show includes musical performances, stories, improv dancing, & much more. Find tickets here.

 

Montana

  • Kid Rock
  • Where: Spirit Center, Kansas City
  • If you’re in Kansas City for NYE, don’t miss Kid Rock’s “The Greatest New Year’s Eve Bash on Earth!” Find tickets here.

 

Nashville

  • Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band, w/ special guest Huey Lewis & The News
  • Where: Bridgestone Arena
  • Don’t miss the “Margaritaville” musician perform in Music City this NYE. Find tickets here.

 

  • Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville
  • If you’re in Nashville this NYE, it’s worth looking into this lineup including Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Cheap Trick, Carly Pearce, Jon-NY P, Larkin Poe, & The Fisk Jubilee Singers. This event is FREE to the public, but you can find more details and event packages here.

 

New York

  • Phish
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • While most may be heading to Times Square to watch the ball drop, if you’d rather opt for a mellow night, check out Phish on NYE. The much anticipated four-night performance begins on Thursday, December 28 and rings in the new year. “The Triumphant Return To The Garden” will be the group’s 56th performance at this venue. Find tickets here.

 

  • Oliver Heldens
  • Where: Schimanski, Brooklyn
  • Don’t miss the Netherlands native DJ & producer this NYE at Shcimanski for a night of funk to ring in the new year. Find tickets here.

 

  • John Digweed, Tara Brooks
  • Where: Output Club, Brooklyn
  • If progressive house sounds like your NYE plans, look no further than 1970s English DJ prodigy John Digweed and 2013 Desert Hearts artist Tara Brooks. Find tickets here.

 

  • DIIV
  • Where: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn
  • Check out the American rock band in their hometown, Brooklyn, at Baby’s All Right. The night also features performances by Hoops, Clairo, & Chorizo. Find tickets here.

 

Oklahoma

  • Brooks and Dunn
  • Where: Choctaw Grand Theater, Durant
  • Get your country on with the Tennessee native 1990s honky-tonk / rock country duo for NYE. Find tickets here.

 

Palm Springs

  • Wavves
  • Where: Commune at Ace Hotel and Swim Club
  • If the desert interests you this NYE, venture to the Ace Hotel & Swim Club for a indie-rock vibes including a Christmas set that’ll get you right in the spirit - & at a decent price. The night also includes a set from the Love Language & Desert Daze DJ Gregg Foreman. Find tickets here.  

 

San Diego

  • OMFG! NYE 2018: Tiesto, NGHTMRE, Kayzo, Ghastly & more!
  • Day 2 of this extremely popular San Diego NYE event may be sold out on its website, but you can still snag tickets from third party websites such as StubHub. Find tickets here.

 

  • Rebelution
  • Where: Observatory North Park
  • Not trying to attend a rager? Jam out & chill out with Rebelution for some good vibes as we welcome 2018. Find tickets here.

 

San Bernardino

  • Countdown NYE
  • Where: NOS Events Center
  • Insomniac’s EDM party returns once again this NYE with a hefty lineup including Alison Wonderland, Diplo, DJ Mustard, Flux Pavilion, What So Not, Yellow Claw, Zeds Dead, Galantis & so much more. Scope the full lineup here.

 

San Francisco

  • Kaskade
  • Where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
  • Let loose with the dance music favorite in action at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium as we countdown the last minutes of 2017. Find tickets here.

 

  • Metric
  • Where: Mezzanine
  • If you’re in San Francisco for this year’s celebration, don’t miss an epic live performance by Canadian rock band Metric. Tier 1 is sold out, so hurry & get tickets for Tier 2. Find tickets here.







 

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: Fun Things To Do On & Off the LDI Show 2017 Floor

vegas stock.jpg

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: Fun Things to Do On & Off the LDI Show 2017 Floor

MONDAY // NOVEMBER 13, 2017

LDI Show 2017 is just days away, and although you may be scrambling to make those final touches and changes on your exhibitor booth, this year’s conference will hold plenty of events to blow off some steam.

As a LDI 2017 badge holder, you are granted free access to entertainment on and off the LDI Show floor. By presenting your badge to gain entry into the following events, this LDI weekend in Las Vegas will surely be one for the books.

1. LDI Booth Crawl and Scavenger Hunt

  • When: Friday, 11/17 @ 4:30 PM - 6 PM
  • Where: Several booths -
    • AV Stumpfl - Booth #1461
    • Da-Lite - Booth #2569
    • Live Design - Booth #3015

This free Booth Crawl, sponsored by AV Stumpfl, Da-Lite and Live Design, includes free drinks and a scavenger hunt with a chance to win an iPad and more! When you visit these sponsored booths, be sure to take a photo of their clue and post it on one of the following social media accounts of your choice: Twitter @livedesignmag ; Facebook: /LDIShow or  /livedesign; Instagram: LDITradeshow. Don’t forget to include hashtags #LDI2017 #boothcrawl and the sponsor hashtag displayed next to their booth.

2. LDI: Live Outside Festival

  • When: Friday, 11/17 & Saturday, 11/18 @ schedule below
  • Where: Multiple stages

Emerge Impact + Music Conference and Live Design Magazine present the following musical acts scheduled below:

Friday

  • 6PM - 6:40PM: Mike Xavier, named VEGAS SEVEN’s “Best New Rapper To Hit The Scene”
    • APEX 3224 Stage
  • 6:40PM - 7:20PM: Mercey Music; plays loud rock & roll with plenty of guitar solos
    • AG Productions Stage
  • 7:20PM - 8PM: Sabriel; neosoul singer/songwriter from Las Vegas
    • APEX 4240 Stage
  • 8PM - 9:30PM: DJ Reach
    • AG Productions Stage

Saturday

  • 6PM - 6:30PM: LDI: Live Outside Dance Party w/ DJ Reach
  • 6:30PM - 7:30PM: LDI2017 Awards Ceremony
    • APEX 4240 Stage
  • 7:30PM - 8:30PM: ER Productions GUINESS WORLD RECORDS attempt for Largest Laser Show w/ British DJ, Damian Gee
    • AG Productions Stage
  • 8:30PM - 9:30PM: LDI: Live Outside Dance Party w/ DJ Vice
    • AG Productions Stage

3. LDI After Dark

If you can’t picture a Vegas trip without visiting at least one club after the show, LDI makes it happen in a big way. Get your nightlife fix all weekend long and visit these clubs - be sure to present your LDI2017 badge for free entry!

  • Thursday, 11/16
    • Intrigue @ The Wynn
    • Tao @ The Venetian
  • Friday, 11/17
    • Intrigue @ The Wynn
    • Marquee @ The Cosmopolitan
    • Hakkasan @ MGM Grand (feat. DJ Steve Aoki)
  • Saturday, 11/18
    • XS at The Wynn
    • Omnia @ Cesars Palace (feat. DJ Irie)
  • Sunday 11/19  
    • Hakkasan @ MGM Grand (feat. DJ Steve Aoki)

For more details, please visit ldishow.com.

You may also download the LDI Mobile app to plan, organize and schedule your time before, during and after the show. You may search for exhibitors or sessions, browse by product category, view events by Date, Topic, or Speaker. You can even create your own schedule by adding events to your personalized schedule. 

THERE'S AN ACTIVE SHOOTER AT MY GIG: Crew Safety On the Job

  Police outside Le Bataclan.   (Source: bfmtv.com) . 

Police outside Le Bataclan. (Source: bfmtv.com)

 

There's An Active Shooter At My Gig: Crew Safety On the Job

WEDNESDAY // NOVEMBER 9, 2017

With headlines polluted with the deadliest shootings and massacres of our time, we are reminded to be vigilant - check our surroundings, keep our eyes open, look over our shoulders. But what if you’re attacked at your gig? When you’re in full-on work mode, the thought of someone with 100 percent intent to kill does not reside in your everyday state of mind.

Just like you are 100 percent trained and proficient in every aspect in event production, these killers are 100 percent trained and proficient working toward a goal to cause as many casualties as possible.

In wake of the Vegas shooting, Newsweek recently reported on the lack of knowledge among crew members have in how to respond to an active shooter during an event. Event workers and security experts told Newsweek that the amount of people who are not aware and lack guidance in wake of an emergency is a problem, and a plan must be made to solve the problem.

Of course every situation will be different, and there are no such guidelines that can apply to each and every one of them. But, there are things you should know to help you make decisions that can ultimately result in life or death. This information should be used at your own risk, and used to spread awareness across the board of crew workers and more.

The Route 91 Harvest festival shooting was the first of its kind, in both the killer’s method and in the highest number casualties. The training in regards to an active shooter does not exist for open space venues. An OSHA trainer told Pollstar that they will begin doing more active shooter training for these types of events.   

This kind of emergency calls for communication lines. Michael Rozin, president of security consulting company suggested to Newsweek that the main training that can be done here is to communicate to others where the safer place is through communication systems like a bullhorn or microphone system.

As far as protecting yourself as a crew member?

For the Vegas type of tragedy, most cannot find the origin of the gunfire. Does the Avoid/Deny/Defend strategy still apply to you? Marty Adock, the program manager of the grant-funded Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) told the Daily Mail that in wake of the Vegas shooting, your only options are to move further outside the venue, or put yourself behind vehicles or barriers.

In response to Le Bataclan Attack in Paris on November 13, 2015, Brendon Grimes, owner of TSC Productions in Florida and a former Combat Mission Load Master of two decades, told Jim on Light that heavier cases like cable trunks and stage decking is better to hide behind, or make yourself a smaller target. So, in terms of protecting yourself during a tragedy such as the Route 91 Vegas shooting, hiding behind objects such as these may be your best bet and only option.

As we know, crew members passed away at Le Bataclan Attack. The house lighting tech at FOH, Natalie Nardin, succumbed from her injuries after taking rounds of ammunition, as well as merchandiser Nick Alexander.

After the Orlando Shooting at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016, there was chatter among lighting designers taking part in aiding the crowd in hopes to signal alarms in an emergency, reported PBS. However, these kind of event-halting situations can cause panic among the crowd. Also, staying behind in a location furthest away from the exit, puts a technical crew member in danger, as we know from Nardin’s death at Bataclan.

Below is a photo of Le Bataclan's floor layout, with escape routes highlighted. 

  (Source:  Jim on Light )

(Source: Jim on Light)

 

Like spectators, crew members are also just as much at risk when an active shooter enters the building. While focusing completely on making sure attendees are receiving the best possible live show they can get, will you know how to protect yourself?

Patrick Dierson, a production designer and former militant with some OGA experience told Jim on Light that having situational awareness is key - know what’s going on around you, know your exits and surroundings in a large crowd. He explains that as one should not live in fear, “keeping your head on a swivel isn’t out of line.”

From the SEAL SURVIVAL GUIDE: A Navy SEAL's Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster, Former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, outlines situation awareness in five points:

  1. Try to guess what individuals around you are thinking or doing.
  2. Look for odd behavior or things that seem out of place.
  3. Determine where you'd go if you had to seek immediate cover from an explosion or gunshots.
  4. Find the two closest exits.
  5. Determine whether someone is following you or taking an unusual interest in you.

The question of being armed or unarmed during a gig comes into play. Dierson explains that carrying or not, the second gunfire sounds in any situation, you must take cover immediately and then assess what your exit options are. Becoming a “hero” by waving your gun and intervening the situation, even with extensive gun training, is positioning yourself as the killer’s next target. He instead urges those to cover and then exit as quickly as possible while safely helping others when possible.

Dierson explains covering and exiting in a leap frog analogy - that is, running from each largest and heaviest object to the next on your way toward the exit and into safety. He mentions hiding behind dimmer racks or the audio’s kit. In a venue situation, the concrete walls are best since they eventually lead to exits.

After the Manchester Attack, Tim Roberts, Event Safety Alliance (ESA) Board Member and Director of the Event Safety Shop, provided this document for touring crew regarding how to counter attacks: Counter Terrorism Advice for Concert Crew. The document may be a response to bombing, but the same type of situational awareness / get yourself out responses do apply.   

However, Dierson is against the idea of an armed crew. Having the crew trained in CPR, basic first aid, & advanced situational awareness should take priority over handling a gun onsite. To sum his words up, using your mind is the best thing you can do by staying focused, alert, and telling someone when you notice anything suspicious.

Of course, if crew had a gun and had proper gun training AND had time to catch the threat beforehand, there could be a chance in fighting back. WIth the killer’s intent to kill and your intent to give a killer live show, the chances of all those factors positively changing the outcome are slim to none.

Production designer Rick Reeves, a former Navy Security member during the Iraq Wars, told Jim on Light that your primary goal is to get out, and that failure to do so will result in losing your own life. Knowing your exits and keeping calm are two things that will save your life in light of an active shooter.

The only exception for using your gun, Reeves mentions, is if you can retrieve it without notice and the killer is within seven feet with his back facing your direction.

Grimes adds that with all second amendment cases put aside, anyone who wishes to carry a firearm needs to be fully trained a qualified to do so. But, again, getting down, covered, and out are the very first primary things crew needs to focus on. The steps summarized and, outlined below, are:

  1. Get down
  2. Get out as fast and as safely possible
  3. Dont panic
  4. Don’t play hero
  5. If you cannot get out, stay hidden until you can get out
  6. When you’re out call emergency
  7. If you cannot, hide until you have to fight for your life

Say your higher authority does allow you to carry concealed as per your permitted status allows, the four rules of firearm safety should already be engraved in your mind. These four rules are outlined on the NRA’s website as well: https://gunsafetyrules.nra.org/.

If you’re still thinking of being the hero, the consequences of attempting and failing are tremendous. You can kill an innocent bystander or even yourself. The point is, if you have other available options, getting yourself and others safely out is the number one thing you can do to save your life.

CAN YOUTUBE DO BETTER?

  (Source:  Jurgen Appelo  via   flickr )

(Source: Jurgen Appelo via  flickr)

YouTube Vs. The Music Industry - Can YouTube Do Better? 

WEDNESDAY // October 25, 2017

The ongoing battle between YouTube and the music industry is not anything new these days, but the last week of music industry news has definitely kept this conversation going.

Today, an artist-run advocacy organization for musicians titled Content Creators Coalition (c3), launched a digital ad campaign directed toward YouTube. The campaign is titled “YouTube Can Do Better” with the hashtag reading #updatetheDMCA.”

The hashtag calls on Congress to update the 1998 - yes you read that correctly - 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), basically pushing to break down the huge barrier artists are faced with between their content rights and Big Tech.

In the video shown below titled "Pennies vs. Dollars," a woman role-plays as YouTube and gives an artist a few bucks as compensation for his very successful song. Another man represents a lawyer who then mocks the artist and is seemingly impossible to receive any legal help from. You may visit the campaigns site for more videos here

This digital campaign sparks conversation to an issue already backed by factual data. Let’s look at the most recent data from the September 2016 Music Consumer Insight Report from IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), a company representing the interests of the recording industry worldwide.

According to this report, video streaming websites such as YouTube account for 55% of on-demand music streaming - with 46% coming from YouTube alone.

And if it couldn’t get any worse, 85% of these YouTube users (1.3 billion) listened to music for free in September alone. Compared to YouTube’s 1.3 billion, Spotify has around 140 million active users.

Being a very small victory for record labels, Post Malone’s Billboard Top No.1 track “Rockstar” took a swipe at YouTube’s free streaming by having the track loop the chorus for the 3:38 duration of the song, here.

Apparently many people still listen to this loop -- 61,374,100 loops to be exact. The video has a link embedded on the upper right hand corner reading “Listen to the Song Here”, directing viewers to various channels including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Google Play.

Many have questioned Malone’s validity, then, in “Rockstar” positioned as No.1 last month, since Billboard accounted all YouTube plays at that time. In response to the music industry’s pressure on Billboard giving equal weight to paid streams and free streams to determine their music charts, Billboard announced last week that this practice will end.

Apple Music’s Jimmy Lovine summed it up perfectly, stating, “How can the record industry let that go down? It is not in their interest to promote a free tier,” NBC reported last week.

Eliminating Malone's chart-hacking accusations and the charts altogether, Malone's record label went around publishing the song on YouTube in its entirety, forcing viewers to re-navigate to alternate sites for the original song. 

Obviously, unlike Malone, smaller artists need to utilize YouTube to grow, but not to the extent of the video streaming service withholding what the artist actually earned. 

Let’s look at YouTube’s defense. If you can recall, back in August 2017 YouTube Executive Lyor Cohen said on its blog, that YouTube pays a $3 CPM to artists, or $3 every 1,000 plays, assuming each of those plays has ads on them.

However, there have been many reports of these claims not ringing true.

For example, artist Nicki Jaine from the duo Revue Noir, told Digital Music News last week, that despite their 1,254,626 YouTube views, the artists only received $42.56. Another musician made a similar claim, revealing he received only $64.60 from 1,048,893 views.

According to YouTube’s ad revenue of 2017, the amount comes out to approximately $3.5 billion according to eMarketer. Where is this money going? The music industry is no stranger to The Value Gap. 

But let’s not forget the fine print of Cohen’s statement, right? Also in his post, Cohen mention’s that this $3 CPM figure only applies to views in the U.S. He claims “the numbers get diluted by lower contributions in developing markets.” But what about all the other developed nations?

Digital Music News, experienced with advertising payout data, explains that either way, U.S. based advertising “fetches a far higher premium online”

Either way, Cohen's uses absolutely no evidence to back his claims. In fact, the artist who "earned" $64.60, the artist only earned 1/50th of what Cohen claimed, Digital Music News calculated. 

These unanswered questions, ripped off artists and ballpark figures Cohen throws around undoubtedly raises eyebrows and takes a dig into both Cohen and YouTube’s transparency.

For now, organizations such as the IFPI and the Content Creators Coalition continue to fight for the challenges artists face against large video streaming services such as YouTube dominating the music industry. The release of these reports and now the Content Creators Coalition digital marketing campaign will hopefully keep the conversation going and growing. Whether or not Cohen's figures are true, something must be done to make this fair, with as much transparency as humanly possible. 

VENUES RIGHTS MATTER: Los Angeles Small Music Venue Roundup

VENUES RIGHTS MATTER: Los Angeles Small Music Venue Roundup

Monday // October 16, 2017

On the surface, we connect with the beat, the melody, the vocals. Surely there are more reasons individuals willingly gather in one place and break all personal space barriers in hopes of getting closer to the stage.

Recall the best concert experience that tops all the rest. Besides the music sounding top-notch, what else contributed to the unforgettable night?

Perhaps it was singing and dancing with best friends. Maybe it was an intimate connection with your significant other. The artist touched your hand, or you swore they held eye contact with you. Right. Or, maybe it’s the night you fell in love.

The gist of it is, live music connects humans in countless ways. But this can’t be done without a space. Venues are the museum to a work of art, the restaurant to a promising chef’s curated cuisine, the showroom to a designer’s new fashion line. Without them, it’s impossible to showcase the creative expression that ultimately makes our home unique.       

Not only do music venues hold a special place in the hearts of musicians, music lovers and venue owners themselves, but they stand as a historical pieces of treasure that reflect the city’s pop culture. The thought of our music venues being stripped from the local history is unfathomable to many.

Tomorrow on October 17, 2017 marks the UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) Venues Day at the Ministry of Sound in London. Unfortunately, London alone has lost 35 percent of its small venues between 2007 and 2015 due to tough licensing scrutiny, planning, rising rent cost and other grievances.

On the website, MVT’s stated goal of Venue’s Day is to raise awareness of venues’ rights, with this year focusing on the “synergy between artists and grassroots music venues.”  

Toronto has seen seven venues disappear only three months into 2017, according to The National Post. Similar to London, Canada’s live music industry created Music Canada Live to build awareness of the country's venues closing.

Besides property development, one point may be that millennial fans may not share the same passion for seeing small, one-act concerts. With the rapid growth of music festivals, attendees literally create lists upon lists of the acts they wish to see all in one weekend. These festivals are so popular, that according to the 2016 Nielsen’s Audience Insights Report on Music Festivals, 32 million people attend at least one music festival each year.

This audience also frequently uses Spotify or other streaming services to browse new artists rather than check out a band they’ve never heard about play in a small venue. Live music discovery for them often occurs at these music festivals, such as San Francisco’s indie Noise Pop festival.

When independent artists receive this opportunity, they get one chance to wow an already-present audience, potentially gain exposure and a fanbase. In turn, this makes it very hard for those smaller, independent venues to survive.

According to The Rolling Stone 2010 piece “Summer Festivals Force Bands to Skip Local Venues,” the Artist Exclusivity Clause in America dictates where festival acts can or cannot play in relation to the festival’s location.

For example, if Twenty One Pilots are set to perform at Coachella this year, the band can’t play anywhere near the Polo Fields during a 7-month time frame before the festival.

LA’s Spaceland and The Echo talent buyer Elizabeth Garo told The Rolling Stone that April is the toughest month to book bands since the artists are committed to playing at Coachella or are waiting to hear back from them.

So do we blame the millennials? Music festivals? Property developers? Streaming music services? Whatever the reason may be, large and small local venues alike need to stay on top of any threats, major or minor, that could impose on venue survival. You can read more about these steps in "How the Music Venue Business Needs to Change in 2017" on Event Brite.

One of them is building awareness, like MVT actively accomplishes in the UK. Here is a roundup of some of Los Angeles’ best small music venues, that we as citizens and a city, hold the responsibility of ensuring the survival of our live music culture.

We must remind individuals of their best concert ever, or unforgettable night they saw the Rolling Stones or Foo Fighters before making it big. So, we will do just that. Here is a roundup of LA’s small music venues we believe are worth mentioning:


The Smell

  • Capacity: 130
  • Ages: All ages
  • Location: 247 S Main St., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming events: The Red Pears/Jurassic Shark/Kicked Off The Streets/The Ok Shack (10/20), No Parents/FEELS/DUMB F**** (10/21)

With a capacity of 130, this tiny venue means a whole lot to its regular rock/punk fans with only one sole purpose in mind: the music. This venue holds true to DIY principles. It’s an all-ages, alcohol-free, and the cover charge is a mere $5. In June 2016, the owner received a demolition notice from the building’s landlord, the L&R Group of Companies, the LA Times reported last year. Young fans and artists actually gathered for a benefit where 36 bands performed to help save The Smell, bringing in $15,000, and after an online-benefit, raised a total of $24,000. The support the venue received a year ago just goes on to show how much the independent music scene means for up-and-coming artists. In fact, indie pop duo Matt & Kim played at The Smell when the duo first started out. In the Daily Bruin, Matt Johnson of the duo described his closeness with the city of Los Angeles and recalled The Smell having a warehouse vibe, not being nice, but a great venue nonetheless.

 

The Mint

  • Capacity: 165
  • Ages: Mostly 21+
  • Location: 6010 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: Banda Magda/Nasi Nassiri/Yolanda Johnson/WOLF CAT (10/20), The Withers/FOE/Modern Haze/Trade Heroes (10/21)

This local landmark was established in 1937 known to many breakout musicians including Stevie Wonder, Willie Dixon, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles and more. Its homey vibe includes Johnny Cash paintings, display cases of Hollywood history, and a ceiling covered with vinyl records. Other notable artists who have graced this stage before reaching fame include the Wallflowers, Ben Harper and Lady Antebellum. Aside from live music, The Mint offers tapas style food and a full bar.

 

Hotel Cafe

  • Capacity:165
  • Ages: 21+
  • Location: 1623 N Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: Loren North/Western Scene/The Teskey Brothers (10/17), King Leg/Njomza/Jillette Johnson/Dylan Gardner (10/18)

Hotel Cafe opened in 2000 as a space for young artists moving into the spotlight. Such acts include Katy Perry, Mumford & Suns, Sia, Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey, according to the LA Times. Sonicbids says Hotel Cafe is a singer-songwriter’s dream venue, and perhaps this is because widely known acts such as John Mayer and Chris Martin continue to play and share the stage with rising artists within an intimate space.

 

The Satellite

  • Capacity: 260
  • Ages: 21+
  • Location: 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: Babe Parade Love and a .38 Lanterns (10/16 FREE show), Benyaro/The Flusters/Bradford Hunter Wrap/Your Future Lovers (10/17)

If you’re looking to hear the next up-and-coming rock/indie band without breaking the bank, look no further. This hipster music venue sits in the heart of Silver Lake and features new rock bands every night of the week. Formerly known as Spaceland, this venue is the home to many famous artists who were just starting out, including the Foo Fighters, Foster the People, Local Natives, Silversun Pickups and Beck. Besides rock, the venue experiments with other creative live music sets, such as indie-electronic groups perfect for the dance floor. On Mondays, The Satellite offers no cover charge, so make sure to show up early to score a table for the night.

 

Echoplex

  • Capacity: 350
  • Ages: 18+
  • Location: 1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: The Babe Rainbow (10/17), Dub Club (10/18), Nick Hakim (10/19), Tei Shi (10/20), & Wolves In The Throne (10/21)

In 2006, Spaceland Presents began operating The Echoplex, home to Echo Park neighborhood. The Echoplex sits below The Echo, and  is only accessible through an alley and down a flight of stairs. Like The Satellite, this venue aims to give up-and-coming artists exposure. Both the Echo and Echoplex have launched independent artists in the spotlight such as The Airborne Toxic Event and War Paint. In addition, the Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day , Incubus, LCD Systems, Kendrick Lamar and several more notable artists have played here.      

 

Troubadour

  • Capacity: 500
  • Ages: All ages
  • Location: 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: Sarah Jarosz (10/17), Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (10/21)

This gem opened in 1957 as a folk club before a rock venue, and contains many defining moments in music history. Several iconic artists began at this intimate venue, including Elton John, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Love, Cheech and Chong, Buffalo Springfield, Billy Joel, The Byrds and more. A common word used to describe small venues is intimate. Pair that with the most excellent sound system and you'll get Troubadour. 

 

Whiskey a Go Go

  • Capacity: 500
  • Ages: All ages
  • Location: 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
  • Upcoming Events: Social Repose/Hotel Books/Funeral Portrait (10/16), Ultimate Jam Night (10/17), Tony Macalpine + Felix Martin/Incipience/Power Tribe (10/18)

Another notable rock club on the Sunset Strip opened in 1964 and has also launched world renowned artists into the limelight such as Johnny Rivers, the Doors, and more. According to LA Weekly, the venue nowadays books new bands as well as largely known artists from time to time. Although Whisky A Go Go may not boast its go-go dancing cages from older times, the venue consists of a dance floor, balcony, two full bars and most importantly, an impressive PA.

 

The Roxy Theatre

  • Capacity: 500
  • Ages: All ages
  • Location: 9009 West Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
  • Upcoming Events: My American Heart (10/19), Private Island (10/20), Shed Seven/Lil Xan (10/21)

The Roxy Theatre is another independently operated venue with Goldenvoice in charge of booking shows. In 1973, Lou Adler, Elmer Valentine and original partners David Geffen, Elliot Roberts and Peter Ashen opened the theatre in response to venue mistreatment of artists. In hopes to make artists feel comfortable, Starting out as venue showing mostly comedians, The Roxy has grown into both a place for aspiring and well-known artists alike. Notable artists who are connected to this venue include John Lennon, Alice Cooper, Neil Young, and the Ramone’s first California gig occurred here in 1976. A venue with history, high quality sound and intimacy, guests should arrive early to secure a good spot.     

 

El Rey Theatre

  • Capacity: 771
  • Ages: All ages
  • Location: 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: Aquilo (10/16), JR JR (10/19), YehMe2 (10/20), & Moses Sumney (10/21)

Another theatre operated by Goldenvoice, El Rey Theatre opened in 1936 as a movie house until it became a live music venue in 1994. According to its website, the El Rey is a registered Historic-Cultural Monument with its magnificent staircases, art deco lobby, facade, VIP balcony lounge and stage positioned in the grand ballroom.

The Fonda Theatre

  • Capacity: 1,200
  • Ages: All ages
  • Location: 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: Tash Sultana (10/20), Dinosaur Jr. (10/21), Mitski (10/22), Sheryl Crow (10/23), & Yeah Yeah Yeahs (10/25)

The Fonda was originally built as a 1920’s venue called Carter De Haven’s Music Box, and was known as The Henry Fonda Theatre and The Music Box. Reopened in 2012 and currently operated by Goldenvoice, this classic venue contains a theatrical performance room and a projection screen on the rooftop bar.

 

The Wiltern

  • Capacity: 1,850
  • Ages: 5+ ; 18+ for Insomniac events
  • Location: 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Upcoming Events: In This Moment (10/18), Snakehips (10/20), CRYSTAL CASTLES (10/21), & HIM (10/24)

Live Nation operates The Wiltern, designed in 1931 as the Warner Brothers Western Theater boasting its original, elegant design including murals stretching to its ceilings and intricate tile work, true to its time. On two separate occasions, locals rescued demolition notices in the late 1970s, and creating a first victory for the Los Angeles Conservancy in protecting architectural monuments.