The Roadie Cookbook: Toured There, Ate That is a new charity publication created by live music crew members with the mission of funding Mental Health First Aid training for every tour bus in the UK.
Borne out of an idea by Production Manager Nick Gosling (Nile Rodgers & Chic) in April 2020, the project was curated with friends Production Coordinator Julie Cotton (Massive Attack), Production Assistant Athena Caramitsos and Backline Tech Rich House (Elbow). The team set out to help their peers re-engage in the much-missed mealtime connection of crew catering by sharing recipes over social media and Zoom.
When the devastation of Covid-19 hit, live music stopped overnight, and tour buses stood still. While almost every venue in the world closed, home kitchens became the new catering hub for unemployed music workers. As stories of memorable meals and secret ingredients in roadie comfort food took hold, so did the stark reality that isolation and mental ill-health was becoming commonplace within the forgotten touring business. The team met through the Manchester music scene and recognised first-hand how food can bring people together when touring the world. The idea of an industry cookbook was formed and soon turned into a fundraising initiative tasked with generating enough sales to secure crisis prevention training for those travelling on the road.
Carefully crafted by backstage professionals, the book showcases a collection of 50 recipes, anecdotes and advice for staying healthy on tour. Recipes include The Killer Sandwich (you’ll have to buy it to find out more), Stage Left Satay Bowls, Tour Bus Nachos, and an anonymous ‘Loose Cocktail.’
Contributors have worked with artists and events ranging from Dolly Parton to Bryan Ferry, Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, Glastonbury, Linkin Park, Robbie Williams, Anastacia and Jay Z – the list goes on. They work in a variety of skilled roles; lighting designers, bus drivers, sound engineers, tour managers and video directors, to name a few. These are the people whose skills ensure the show goes on and, even when it can’t, still come together to get each other over the line.
For each copy sold, 100% of profits will go towards charities Music Support and Stagehand to help continue funding and delivering Mental Health First Aid training and, importantly, normalise taking the Mental Health First Aid course.
One in four people in the UK will experience ill mental health in their lifetime. When we consider those working in high-pressure environments such as touring and live entertainment, those figures jump to a shocking three in four. In many cases, the pandemic has accelerated episodes in those who had never previously experienced problems.
With the industry now acutely aware of its fragility, The Roadie Cookbook crew want to focus on helping each other in preparation for when tour buses hit the road again full time.
To help future-proof the wellbeing of the UK’s live music industry, you can pre-order a paper copy of The Roadie Cookbook: Toured There, Ate That now.