Workshop: Mental health
Room 4 | 14:15 – 15:15 | Wednesday
Hosts: Andy Franks & Matt Thomas, Music Support (UK)
The mental health and personal wellbeing of artists and their teams are rarely brought into the open. From addiction to depression and more, the lifestyle that surrounds live music can be damaging, but with the pressures to keep the show on the road, these negative effects are infrequently discussed. Within the last year, several new initiatives have launched to help professionals, including musicsupport.org in the UK. Explaining how widespread these issues are; how to recognise and deal with them; and what help is available, this workshop shines light on this important, yet too often taboo, topic.
Chair's Biog | Andy Franks
Andy has worked in the music business for 37 years. He began as a musician before working for a professional PA company in Bristol in the UK and then began working with Depeche Mode in 1981 and for the ensuing 18 years. He has been tour managing for over 30 years for Depeche Mode, Madness, Coldplay, Robbie Williams, The Stones, Bush, James, The Stone Roses, and New Kids on the Block and more. For the past four years, Andy has also been running artist liaison at Hyde Park for BBST Festival, which has welcomed the likes of Black Sabbath, The Stones, Lionel Richie, The Libertines, Bon Jovi, The Who, Elvis Costello, Tom Jones, Neil Young, and Blur etc. Andy’s various accolades include Tour Manager of the Year (won four times) and two Arthur Awards for Plumber of the Year.
Chair's Biog | Matt Thomas
In 2007, Matt became an artist manager, with co-management of a re-formed Squeeze among others in his stable. The band’s well-documented difficulties helped to shape Matt’s interest in the complex dynamics within bands and in the topic of dispute resolution. This led him to train as a mediator at the London School of Mediation, and become an accredited mediator with the Society of Mediators and the Civil Mediation Council. Sober since 2006, Matt began to realign his career objectives with his lifestyle and left commercial artist management in order to focus on conflict resolution and crisis management, and in 2011 began work as a companion/mentor/chaperone for vulnerable artists on tour, and as a touring mediator, which he retired from in 2016 to focus on music support. Matt has toured the world in these capacities with artists of all genres, ages and levels of profile. Matt is also involved in the UK therapeutic community, is a founding partner of iCAAD (International Conferences on Addiction and Associated Disorders), which puts on conferences across the UK and Europe. Matt is a community mediator for the charity Mediation Dorset, and was previously heavily involved with RAPT – the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust.