We’re proud to announce we’ve been commissioned by Tour Production Group (TPG) to deliver pioneering Addiction and Recovery Aware training.

Co-ordinated by the TPG, donations totalling nearly £20,000 have been provided by contributions from Backup Tech, Massive Attack, Hipgnosis Songs, We Need Crew, and Rock-it Cargo. A bursary scheme has also been specially created to enable 100 touring freelancers working in the technical and production side of the industry to take the course free of charge.

Live music has suffered immensely since March 2020, and support groups and vital online networks have become a part of daily life for out of work crews. Formed in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, TPG has hosted online weekly discussions about issues faced by the touring industry ever since.


As Music Support turns five, its collaboration with the TPG reinforces its desire to positively impact the health and wellbeing of live music and events workers.

TPG’s Mental Health and Personal Wellbeing facilitators are Tour Manager Suzi Green and Production Manager Nick Gosling. Green comments: “Engagement with our members showed that addiction is one of the biggest challenges touring crew and musicians face. After a number of TPG members completed Mental Health First Aid Training, we felt a separate short course in addiction and recovery awareness would be really beneficial.”

The course is ideal for anyone who has already completed the two-day Mental Health First Aid training yet is accessible to learners with no prior training or knowledge in mental health.

Gosling highlights: “Addiction in touring is often ignored, glossed over and covered up. We want to become better equipped to understand the warning signs, and ultimately to know how best to support our colleagues. A key aim of the TPG is instigating simple changes in our working methods so that we can better support welfare on the road. After five years of positive impact in our industry, Music Support is the obvious and trusted charity partner.”

The new course has been written by Music Support Senior Learning and Development Specialist, Norman Beecher.

Music Support’s Matt Thomas says: “Raising awareness about the mostly misunderstood condition of addiction and paths to recovery from it, have always been high on Music Support’s agenda, so the creation and launch of this course is a massive milestone. The fact that the course was requested and is being funded by the touring industry, shows that attitudes are finally beginning to change. Huge thanks to the funders in particular and to Music Support’s amazing staff for writing and delivering this potentially life-changing service.”

The four-hour course will give participants an introduction to the topic, allowing them to define what addiction and recovery is, understand factors that perpetuate the cycle of addiction, instil confidence in recognising the signs and symptoms, and will offer guidance about starting conversations aimed at kickstarting an individual’s recovery.

It explores societal attitudes and associated stigma. The informal session covers the basic neuroscience of addiction and how substances ‘hijack’ the brain, explaining how different drugs work and their link to withdrawal. Attendees will learn the difference between substance abuse, dependence and addiction, how to intervene, and treatment options.

Backup Tech’s John Simpson concludes: “The Trustees of Backup are pleased to financially support this initiative which will enable more communication and understanding of the stresses that freelancers suffer, particularly while touring.

“The more freelancers trained in recognising addiction, the more the touring community can address the need for the wellbeing of their colleagues.”

For more information and to apply for the bursary click here.