The crews responsible for bringing live music shows to life for Kiwi artists have been facing a crisis as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings in New Zealand. After months of uncertainty, their on-stage colleagues are now calling on music fans for help.
Rallying together from a range of genres, some of Aotearoa's most well-known and celebrated songwriters are appealing for support for their stage crews in a heartfelt video for the MusicHelps charity.
Lending their voices to the cause are Dave Dobbyn, Hollie Smith, Shapeshifter's Sam Trevithick, Melodownz, Villainy's Neill Fraser, Stellar*, Six60's Chris Mac, SWIDT's Daniel Latu, Julia Deans, JessB, P-Money as well as Jennie Skulander and Nail from Devilskin. The Beths and Tali also make an appearance.
The campaign asks Kiwis for text donations to the emergency appeal MusicHelps has established, with an aim to raise $2 million dollars to help industry professionals as the live entertainment scene continues to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
"These hard-working, ordinary New Zealanders and their dependents are still facing levels of distress and hardship never seen before," MusicHelps board chair Campbell Smith said.
Damian Alexander from LIKEMINDS, the agency behind the clip, told Newshub as a musician himself, he really empathizes with people in the industry and understands the effect the restrictions have had.
"Our crews and the people behind the scenes are just as important as the people on stage. They're loading out at 3am, up again at 6am driving trucks or whatever. They do it hard because they love what they do. You do feel for them."
Alexander, who acted as the video's creative director, plays in the Kiwi band Blindspott and was three shows into their tour when COVID-19 struck.
"I just wanted to help, I just wanted to apply my commercial skills to something that could help the industry because at the moment my band can't, but my professional life can."
Villany frontman Neill Fraser told Newshub it's been heartbreaking to see the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry.
"The industry doesn't operate without the people behind the scenes, so we knew it was important to get behind MusicHelps to help them get back on their feet so we can all continue to enjoy NZ music."
Six60 bassist Chris Mac said live music is one of his most favourite things in the world.
"It simply doesn’t happen without the people behind the scenes," he told Newshub.
Despite New Zealand's recent move to COVID-19 alert level 1, not all cancelled shows will be able to be rescheduled. The future of some local venues continues to hang in the balance, and many live music professionals will be forced to make do with significantly less work available.