Live Nation Commits $10 Million To Crew Nation Relief Effort
By: Deborah Speer
Live Nation announced Tuesday (March 31) the commitment of $10 million to a newly created Crew Nation relief fund to benefit crew members hit especially hard by the ongoing shutdown of live shows by the coronavirus pandemic.
The company will commit $5 million upfront and match the next $5 million donated by artists, fans and employees dollar for dollar. Crew Nation is being administered by House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, a charitable 501c3 organization, and all donations are tax deductible. Merchandise is not tax-exempt, however, 100% of the net sales proceeds will go to Crew Nation, according to Nurit Smith, CEO of Music Forward Foundation.
The support is especially important as a large proportion of crews are working as freelancers or otherwise members of the gig economy.
“We knew very quickly, early on that we all wanted to mobilize, that there was a need and that there are gaps out there,” Smith tells Pollstar. “Some of the most vulnerable crew people are independent contractors that don’t have a safety net.”
“Live shows are not possible without the incredibly hardworking crew members behind the scenes each and every concert. We are extending a helping hand to those workers who need it the most by announcing the #CrewNation Fund,” Live Nation says on its website.
Crew Nation is designed to help the backstage staff that help bring concerts to life including tour managers, production managers, riggers, sound engineers, backline techs, lighting directors/designers, special effects teams, carpenters, and more.
Music Forward Foundation, founded in 1993, will be selecting recipients based on an objective determination of need; employees of Live Nation will not be eligible to receive funding.
“We want to ensure that not only is there a sense of health and wellness in the industry … but that we are serving the needs of the industry as well,” Smith says. We’re 27 years old, and still have the House of Blues ‘help ever, hurt never’ ethos of unity and diversity, all of those structures, even though we have grown far beyond House of Blues.”
Over the next week, Live Nation will be reaching out to crew members from tours across the globe whose income has already been affected due to the cancellation or rescheduling of a Live Nation event and applications for aid will be available withing the next week. Those who may be eligible should check theCrew Nation website.
Donations to the fund can be made here, while merchandise supporting the cause can be bought at the Crew Nation store. If you or someone you know is a crew member that has been directly affected by the concert shutdown and need help, more information can be found here.