Opinion: Festival Roadies Need to Return to Work

An awful lot of people keep crossing their fingers in hopes that their favorite festivals take place this year. We miss the music. We miss the magical moments that create a lifetime of memories. But those moments do not just happen. They are carefully crafted by one important group of people — the roadies.

Music producer Bobby Owsinski writes in Forbes that roadies are the “real backbone of the live music industry.”

The road crew are the people who make the talent look good. They are the producers, the sound engineers, the lighting technicians, the camera operators, jib operators, production assistants, stage designers, writers, the electrical crew, the pyrotechnic guys, caterers, wardrobe, construction, and a whole lot more. Your $400 ticket to events like Ultra or EDC Vegas helps these folks feed their families.

Right now, a lot of roadies are not getting paid. A lot of crew is sitting at home wondering when they will get back to work. They are, as Tomorrowland acknowledged last year, “in the eye of the storm.”

Government bailouts are not enough for the crew

Governments across the world passed bills to bailout the struggling live music industry. Last December, the American lawmakers authorized “$15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.” A week ago, Belgian officials announced that 60 million Euros would be made available for festival organizers.

Still, that is not enough.

Organizations like Roadiecare are providing gift cards to the crew so they can buy food to survive. Roadiecare founder Sandy Espinoza has raised nearly $19,000 to help.

But that is still not enough.

The roadies need to work. Without them, there would be no show.

Flemish Minister of Tourism Zuhal Demir put it best.

“Anything that can proceed safely must be able to proceed safely.”

It is time for the crew to get back to work.