Words by Natalie Blacklock
For as long as I can remember, I have always been an Australian Music girl at heart. There is something about the homegrown aspects of Australian music that speak to me (as I’m sure it does to a lot of us) on a much deeper level than anything an international act can produce. Yet, I do not have a definitive answer as to why this is … Is it because these artists sing of shared and sometimes uniquely ‘Aussie’ experiences of growing up, moving out, getting drunk and making bad decisions (here’s looking at you; DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats!) Is it because their songs talk about the familiar streets of our towns (Ball Park Music or The Go-Betweens anyone?) Or, is it about that feeling of ‘pride’, when you see a band from your hometown kicking goals and you just want to say you knew them before they were huge (Yes… I’m claiming you, Violent Soho and WAAX!) Whatever it is, it is probably fair to say that in 2019, the Australian music industry has a more diverse playlist than ever before. Whatever music is your vice for; it is a necessary part of our lives. So much so, that often, we look to musicians to get us through our tougher times, but who looks after them when the chips are down? In 2016, Entertainment Assist, in conjunction with the Victoria University College of Arts, published research into connection between Australian entertainment workers and Mental Health and found that, when compared with the general population, entertainment workers, experience; 5 times the rate of depression symptoms, 10 times the rate of moderate to severe anxiety symptoms and double the rate of suicide attempts. For an industry, that we are all a part of in some way, this is simply not good enough.
Over the years, far too many friends, colleagues and idols have been dealing with a multitude of Mental Health concerns (some more vocal than others), with little to no support, while still trying to maintain a life on the road. For many years, the lifestyle of musicians has been glamourised and romanticised to seem like life on the road is the quintessential ‘rock n’ roll’ dream but that lifestyle is not without its pitfalls. For the best part of the last 10 years, I have gone out of my way trying to learn more about Australian music and the local scene here in Brisbane with many a night spent lingering in dark rooms, starting at times awkward conversations with people I was standing in front of screaming along with only a few minutes earlier. Soon enough, one conversation turned into a high-five, a hug, a mid-set shout-out or post-gig beers and the friendships that I have built here are some of the most important that I have. However, the more I learnt about these musicians, the more apparent it became that the struggle they face when it comes to Mental Health is realer that any of us really acknowledge.
Enter Support Act – an industry based entity that could help provide human and financial services that would positively impact on the health and welfare of people working in the music industry – singers, songwriters, composers, musicians, roadies, techies, managers, staffers and countless others. In what has become Support Act’s annual fundraising drive, AusMusic T-Shirt Day has become the centrepiece of AusMusic Month every November. This year, November 15th is THE day to celebrate Aussie music and to raise vital funds for those in the music industry who are suffering from financial hardship, mental illness and other crises.
For us at Good Call Live we want to use our platform to give back and to support the artists, musicians and faces behind the scenes who we work with throughout the year. This AusMusic T-Shirt Day, we want to raise funds for Support Act and promote awareness around the issues those working in our industry are dealing with. We have kicked off a team fundraiser on the AusMusic T-Shirt Day page and we will be working with our team of reviewers and photographers to bring you a range of specialised content, to shine a light on Mental Health in the Australian Music industry.
So how will you celebrate AusMusic Month and AusMusic T-Shirt Day? What’s the story behind your AusMusic T-Shirt of choice? Hit us up on our socials and let us know! If you are able to, we would love for you to get behind our fundraising effort and stand with us to support our mates in the music industry.
Good Call Live’s Team Fundraising Page – HERE.