“Just having Support Act in the industry feels like having something as close as we can get to a union or a sense of stability/fairness for our bonkers industry."
Support Act has recently launched its End Of Financial Year Appeal, and with the cost-of-living pressures, the impact of Covid-19 on touring markets and continuing mental health issues in the music industry, the organisation is asking for your help.
During this financial year, Support Act has provided Crisis Relief Grants to more than 900 artists, crew and music workers valued at over $2 million. That’s 13x the number of grants provided pre-Covid.
An artist who benefits from Support Act's support is TOWNS drummer Dan Steinert (who uses they/them pronouns).
“It can be incredibly hard sometimes keeping the headspace to stay in the arts due to the financial inconsistencies,” Steinert says, revealing that how much they get paid per show often differs from the costs involved to put on gigs.
Steinert explains, “Show fees aren’t going up in line with the rising cost of living and airfares.
“It can be so damn hard trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you’re often eating one meal a day, barely sleeping between shows and red-eye flights and you’re having to juggle so many roles at once to cut costs.
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“It’s really hard to maintain a good work/life balance when you’re working during the week and touring all weekend. Working for yourself feels like you don’t get days off often either. So, maintaining a good head space is really tricky, especially when your work is your entire life.
“The love of art, music and playing live is definitely what keeps me going. Working with so many amazing and inspiring people is what often fills my cup and getting to fulfil the dreams I’ve had since I was a kid is just a dang blessing!”
While playing music and shows is a blessing, Steinert also acknowledges the mental health impact of pursuing the arts – the very real, debilitating feeling of burnout.
“I feel like I can be pretty stubborn with myself when facing burnout and I push myself to keep going,” they admit. That’s where Support Act’s mental health workshops come in: “It gave me a sense of community, especially at the time when I was going through a lot of personal change,” Steinert adds.
“Coming off tours is exhausting and it’s not often I get to just take a moment to chill out with other musicians and creatives in my hometown of Adelaide.
“During one of the activities with Ash King (Support Act’s resident psychologist), she asked us to close our eyes and breathe deeply.
“As I sat there with my eyes closed, I was just thrust into this realisation that I haven't just sat with my thoughts calmly for what feels like years and years! Just being still and just taking a breath helped me to be more mindful and seek to go and get therapy!”
Some of Steinert’s friends have also benefitted from Support Act’s mental health workshops and psychologists; the drummer explains that Support Act’s impact on the music industry goes far further than just financial support.
“Just having Support Act in the industry feels like having something as close as we can get to a union or a sense of stability/fairness for our bonkers industry,” Steinert says. “They make it one step closer to having a fair playing field.
“Being supported will often start with your community,” they add, “If you're having fun with your friends and building a cool pocket full of fun in a lovely environment, people will start to notice and want to be involved and then things will just grow from there.
“The support we had for TOWNS just felt like a snowball. It started with community support, then getting a manager and a booking agent and then working with PR and growing our team.
"Everything kind of fell into place from there and we started playing more and more shows with bands that we loved and our community has just kept growing since.”
You can donate to Support Act’s End Of Financial Year Appeal here.