Health and wellbeing Tour Manager and The Back Lounge Founder, Suzi Green, has commissioned a series of free resilience workshops for the touring industry.
The three free sessions will cover: Mindfulness for Touring with Craig Ali (Monday 21 June 6pm), Healthy Boundaries with Laura Ferguson (Wednesday 14 July), and Sleep & Jet Lag with Matt Kansy (Wednesday 4 August).
The workshops were made possible thanks to the UK’s Culture Recovery Fund and will help to equip the freelance touring community with basic resilience tools as the return of live events and concert touring draws ever closer.
Green, whose clients include Placebo, PJ Harvey, Katie Melua and Wolf Alice, is passionate about wellbeing on tour, having experienced her own debilitating episode of burnout.
“I thought my touring days were over. The industry simply didn’t work for me,” Green remarked.
Upon leaving her chosen career path, she became a certified Naturopathic Nutritionist and, in doing so, changed her lifestyle and focussed on healthy living – albeit away from her live music career.
“I left touring because I didn’t think there was a place for me within it,” added Green. “Where would adequate sleep and green smoothies fit into rock ‘n’ roll?”
Lured back to the road by an offer to tour manage PJ Harvey, a project that required an emphasis on staying healthy while travelling and a tour manager with understanding, Green discovered that the cliched rock ‘n’ roll environment was not, in fact, what every artist or touring party desired.
“Touring is a much nicer experience if you can trust who you’re out with,” she continued. “A Tour Manager should enable you to do your best shows and, in many cases, that means touring in a realistic way. Being a good Tour Manager means that you are able to support people on every level, yet when I started out, all anyone cared about was that I was getting the job done. I had to be effective in actually moving people from place to place, but the cost to wellbeing was never discussed.”
Green’s move into healthy touring wasn’t exactly the norm, yet as the touring world stood still and the pandemic took hold, the slowness allowed for an entire community of like minded road crew to meet in one place. Enter The Back Lounge, a weekly Zoom / online safe space where a growing number of non-judgemental, international production workers support and encourage each other’s growth.
“The Back Lounge grew out of the depths of despair during the height of Covid-19 and is now a permanent fixture,” explained Green. It became apparent just how many people felt the same as I did – depressed and in need of conversation where we could talk openly about the industry and how we function in it. Nobody was expecting it to be taken away overnight, or for these open conversations to truly grow.”
The Back Lounge now has a global following and has featured in The New York Times and on BBC Radio.
Green reflected: “I think the success of The Back Lounge has been its peer-led structure. The conversations aren’t being led by experts but by people who work backstage and in production who simply want to help each other out – through the good and the rough times.”
She continued: “Touring as an industry has to look after its people better than it has done before. If we all go back to work and nothing’s changed, we’ve missed a huge opportunity for positive growth. As an industry, we have to learn to compromise, and so while ‘the show must go on’, touring now has to come with options.”
Receiving Mental Health First Aid Training from Music Support has also helped Green develop her mission to bring wellbeing to the forefront on her tours.
“A big thing that came from the training is the importance of listening skills. The training has been invaluable in that it helps you step back and allow other people to tell you what they need,” she explained. “As a Tour Manager, that’s really important for the morale of a tour. What do people really want and can they tell you what they need support with?”
The training also inspired a Mental Health Charter within her work at the Tour Production Group (TPG), for which Green is a Co-Facilitator of its Mental Health & Personal Wellbeing working group. The aim of the TPG is to collectively enable better working practices across the industry.
Green concluded: “The future of touring is sustainability. Yet sustainable touring on a human level is healthy touring for your mind and for your body. Learning about resilience and doing so with the company of others will help to guide us through this next, post-Covid, chapter. ”
The first workshop will take place later this month with Craig Ali, a Wellbeing Consultant, Health Coach & Mindfulness Facilitator.
He said: “Everyone in the music industry is going back into an intense, fast paced environment after having so much time off. Whilst this is exciting for the industry, it will be a shock to the system and may create some tension and anxiety. In these environments it is important to have trained skills to help manage energy, regulate emotions and decompress at the end of the day.
“The ‘Mindfulness for Touring’ workshop will train people in some of the most effective ways to do this on the go. Breathing and posture techniques will be taught to train the participants on how to stay calm, not be in reactive mode, create space in the moment and wind down the nervous system to promote recovery.”
To book your free place on a course, all of which will take place over Zoom, please visit Eventbrite: