How MTV Music Week Helped Tackle The Stigma Around Mental Health

How MTV Music Week Helped Tackle The Stigma Around Mental Health

Mental health as a whole has rightfully taken front of stage in recent years. With an increased focus on mental wellbeing alongside physical health, we’re beginning to see a social change in attitude towards mental health and we’re starting to remove the stigma that goes with mental health issues.

The music industry has a reputation for being “volatile and competitive”. A recent survey found that around 80% of musicians suffer with stress, anxiety and depression. Whilst the music industry offers many brilliant opportunities and once in a lifetime experiences, there’s often been a struggle to balance the positives and negatives within the industry, with musicians finding they’re subject to massive highs as well as deep lows.

However, there’s also an increasingly powerful movement to help support those having a less positive experience or struggling with mental health issues in the business. MTV hosted the event – A State of Mind – during their celebration of the music industry, MTV Music Week 2019 in Plymouth. The event focussed on the increasing pressure to succeed and stand out in the music industry, with artists offering their insights into managing the highs and lows of the business.

This event featured panelists who are striving to create a more balanced experience in the industry, including Danny Angove – Red Light Management & One on One, Joe Hastings – Head of Health & Welfare, Help Musicians UK and Pete Falloon – singer-songwriter, and co-founder of Sound Mind Sessions.

Sound Mind Sessions are a new live acoustic music and mental health project that Pete Falloon and Pik Rawlings formed in 2018. The sessions aim to provide beautiful original music in stunning Devon venues, raise awareness of mental health issues in the music industry and raise funds to support places for musicians on mental health first aid courses.

Pete’s goal for Sound Mind Sessions is to “help develop a more resilient and supportive Devon music community and to fund future events and roll out the model across Devon.” They’re doing this by opening by the conversation around mental health in the South West.

Pete explained the logistics of running the platform, “As well as funding the Mental Health First Aid course places mentioned above, we provide flyers and cards on Music Minds Matter and the Help Musicians helpline at our shows. We regularly repost and share mental wellbeing related materials on our social media channels, and have great links with local press, radio and news websites who share our stories and news. Most of our support team who work with us in putting on Sound Mind Sessions shows are also trained Mental Health First Aiders, and able to provide support to those attending our concerts and more widely.”

The music industry is an incredible one, but not without its challenges. These challenges can make or break aspiring artists or those looking for another route into the business. Pete has witnessed these challenges first-hand and how they can affect mental health.

“Anxiety and depression are not uncommon, and often related to the nature of the job. Performing can be an emotional rollercoaster: great when it’s working well, terrible when it’s not, and sometimes the big ‘high’ that comes from a great gig can end in a big ‘low’, too.”

These emotions can stretch far beyond how it feels to perform, as there can be far greater challenges out of individuals’ control that can affect mental health and leave people in the industry needing greater levels of support. Pete says, “Job security is a very real challenge and puts financial pressures on musicians, and the working hours can be exhausting and difficult for relationships and family life. While social media and the rapidly connected, online world provide great opportunities for sharing music and promotion, there are also issues associated with that, and many musicians struggle to get recognized.”  

We spoke to Pete further about how speaking at an event like MTV Music Week opens up the topic to a larger audience for discussion. He believes “it’s critically important that big music institutions like MTV promote the importance of mental health and wellbeing. What we are trying to do with  Sound Mind Sessions is very much grassroots, at the level of performers, and new and emerging acts. But the music business is led by the big institutions and music companies, and most musicians would be aspiring to improve, grow and develop towards wider exposure, airplay, contracts, sales, streams, live opportunities and so on. So we need a top-down recognition of mental health issues at a high level, and an understanding of the pressures and challenges that musicians face, as well as the support needed.”

Pete was clear that these events can really make a difference when it comes to helping people in the industry with their mental health. “Absolutely yes! It’s widely recognized that simply talking about mental health is a major step towards supporting those who suffer mental health issues. Talking brings it out in the open, and makes it feel safer for others to talk about their issues too. We’ve found that songwriters performing at Sound Mind Sessions are often happy to talk about their life experiences and what’s behind their songs as part of their performances. In turn, this has created a safe environment where members of the audience have begun to discuss challenges in their lives. The other side, of course, is simply awareness raising, which both Sound Mind Sessions and the MTV event are doing a great job of!”

Pete is one of three panelists speaking at the State of Mind event and he’s thrilled to be involved. “It’s a real honor to be asked to take part in something put on by such a music giant, and at the same time to be able to talk a bit more about something I  am really passionate about, and hopefully to be part of a growing solution and support network. On a personal level, many of my musical heroes played MTV Unplugged shows, so it’s just fantastic for me to be involved.”

We asked if more events like these were held at larger events and festivals, would this help those struggling with their mental health. Pete said,

“Totally yes – the more widely these kinds of events are held, the more mental health issues in music will be recognised and understood, and hopefully we will learn how to work towards a more resilient, understanding and supportive future!”

Running an event like this during MTV Music Week opened up the subject to a wider audience and helps to remove the stigma around mental health. In May many businesses and industries recognized Mental Health Awareness Month to help their employees know where to find support if they need it. However, if we’re ever going to break the stigma, mental health needs to be recognized throughout the year, and that level of understanding and support for those are struggling needs to be maintained.

Charlotte Allkins | Marketing Assistant

Charlotte is the Marketing Assistant for Helm, coming from a design background she loves creating all types of content. Discover more of her blogs, as well as, many others here!

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Organiser Spotlight – Breaking into the music industry with MTV

Organiser Spotlight – Breaking into the music industry with MTV

MTV Music Week is turning the traditional festival format on its head with various locations across the city of Plymouth. The 4-day festival will be celebrating not just the music itself but the industry around it, exploring how it impacts art, technology, social media and everything in between. Focusing on curated events aimed at those who are interested in breaking into the music industry, as well as an array of exciting live music events.

Throughout modern history, there have been a number of events that have been said to change the music industry or at least altered the course it was on. In recent years it would appear that “popular” music seemed to change daily, if not by the hour. There are so many avenues to obtain and produce music now it can become overwhelming. One of the most influential catalysts for producing a whole new overhaul of the music industry was the creation and launch of MTV.

Music became infinitely more accessible due to MTV’s creation. It became a part of people’s homes during the ’80s. Music was no longer solely about a band’s technical ability, but about their live performances and on-stage presence. To this day, performing for MTV is still a highly sought after experience because of the doors it can open for up and coming musicians, as well as those more established.

One of the incredible musicians performing at MTV Music Week for their MTV Push Live event is Hamzaa. A singer-songwriter hailing from East London, she is breathing life back into the resurging R&B scene. She brings a level of depth and honesty to her music that resonates with her audiences. Her ability to seamlessly weave her smooth vocals with catchy guitar riffs makes her a hidden gem in the music industry.

She describes the importance and excitement of being able to perform at MTV Music Week, “I am excited to be part of it because I grew up watching MTV, that’s where I was finding new songs. I am glad to be a part of something that was really important to me when discovering music. “  

A huge part of what makes the MTV event in Plymouth so unique is its lasting legacy and influence it has on its audience. It has always offered the chance to explore and discover new sounds and genres that may have otherwise been missed. It expanded the creative boundaries and embraced and propelled technological advances. And for 2019, MTV Music Week is aiming to do just that in a tangible way with the people of Plymouth and the South West as a whole.

Since MTV’s conception, it has set the standard for pop culture and year on year expanded on what defines pop culture. It has championed both established artists and those coming through the ranks. Hamzaa goes on to explain how it feels to be backed by such a huge brand like MTV, “This is big!!! It’s a big thing to me. Some of the greatest artists in the world have been championed and have come up through MTV. This is a real privilege for me.”  

Sharing those same emotions is Young T. & Bugsey, who will be performing at the Yo! MTV Raps event, at the legendary Plymouth venue, The Hub. They stated, “It’s so sick. We used to watch MTV growing up as kids, so to be certified by them now is great.”  Expressing what it means to be performing during MTV Music Week, they said, “We are so gassed to be a part of MTV Music Week! We are super, super happy (shout out MTV!). MTV have been supporting us for a while now, and so it’s really nice to be doing this event. “

MTV Music Week epitomizes what MTV is: it’s bringing the music industry to the people in the most accessible way possible. It’s daytime events run by MTV Breaks, focus on giving young people access to expert advice by industry insiders. Encouraging its attendees to dream big, whilst aiming to give them the knowledge, tools, and experiences to make those dreams become a reality.  Whilst its evening events focus on celebrating those who have come through the ranks of MTV and introducing them to the South West audience.

Charlotte Allkins | Marketing Assistant

Charlotte is the Marketing Assistant for Helm, coming from a design background she loves creating all types of content. Discover more of her blogs, as well as, many others here!

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Organiser Spotlight – MTV Music Week’s Influence on the South West

Organiser Spotlight – MTV Music Week’s Influence on the South West

Devon is the home of two National Parks, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and eight Blue Flag beaches. It’s also host to dozens of festivals that showcase its unique culture, innovative industries, and beautiful environment. Every year, businesses, residents, and visitors come together to celebrate the local music, crafts, literature, and food and drink the region has to offer. There are so many annual and one-off events and festivals in Devon that you’re sure to find plenty to enjoy.

One of the highlights of Devon’s events scene is MTV Music Week. For 2019, MTV has built on the success of MTV Crashes Plymouth and will now be running a number of music-related events across the city over 4 days, celebrating all things music and offering insight into how it’s impacted art, technology, social media and everything in between.

By moving away from the traditional festival format and running a series of education-based events alongside the live music events, it opens up a part of the music industry that’s often not as accessible in the South West as it is in places like London.

One of the artists performing at MTV Music Week is Hamzaa, an incredible singer and songwriter from East London. Her music radiates soulfulness and honesty with an R&B edge. She has the ability to seamlessly weave her smooth vocals with catchy guitar riffs that bring depth and life to her music. Whilst you can clearly hear her musical influences, it’s how she’s combined these that’s created something truly unique.

Having never played in the South West before, she speaks of what it means for her to play her first show outside of London, “This would be my first time playing to a crowd outside my city, so I am excited to see how people will receive my music and feel the vibe. “  When she thinks of the South West, she says, “It reminds me of Cornwall/Devon. I go down there often to visit a friend of my mum and it’s really beautiful, the greenery… it’s just peace!”

MTV Music Week is not only about introducing the traditional London-based music industry to the audiences of the South West, but also introducing the often forgotten South West to the music industry and its artists.

Another artist playing at the legendary Plymouth venue, The Hub, is Young T.& BUGSEY. They’ll be performing alongside Ghetts, Ms Banks and Snoochie Shy at Yo! MTV Raps. This is a one-off special live event that aims to celebrate the unique style and sound of rap and hip-hop music that’s currently leading the way in the UK. The event will be filmed and aims to bring together the country’s finest to celebrate their collective talent.

When speaking with MTV, Young T.& BUGSEY described their enthusiasm about performing outside of music hubs such as London, Birmingham and Manchester, “… It’s more exciting as you don’t know what to expect from the crowd! “ When they think of the South West as a whole, they think of “the beach, the English style beach though, windy and obviously water! “

There’s a thriving and constantly evolving music scene in the South West. Many young musicians and artists make the diverse range of venues and locations their stomping ground during their early years. Whether that’s performing in The Hub in Plymouth, The Exeter Phoenix or Princess Pavillion down in Falmouth. These locations become a huge part of many artists’ influence and history, and the MTV event in Plymouth is synonymous with that development.

This is exactly why mixing up the format for this year’s event is key to bringing new blood to the music industry, whether it’s attending the speed networking event or meeting those involved with the social media side of the music industry. MTV Music Week is going far beyond a typical festival. It’s a festival offering opportunities and education alongside incredible music performances.

The South West has so much to contribute to the music industry, and MTV Music Week is a huge part of that. By creating a more diverse event in 2019 it’s creating numerous opportunities for the people of the South West, and Plymouth in particular, to get involved and be more than just a spectator to an event. It’s offering something different to potentially a whole new audience who can become active contributors and collaborators as event attendees.

For more information on the educational daytime events and evening events such as live music follow the links above!

Charlotte Allkins | Marketing Assistant

Charlotte is the Marketing Assistant for Helm, coming from a design background she loves creating all types of content. Discover more of her blogs, as well as, many others here!

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Organiser Spotlight – The Chestnut Appeal

Organiser Spotlight – The Chestnut Appeal

The Chestnut Appeal, based in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, has been at the forefront of raising awareness about prostate cancer, as well as other male cancers such as testicular and penile cancer, across the South West since 1999.

They believe it is essential to get more men talking about their health and being more open to taking action when they feel something might be wrong. These cancers can be quite treatable when caught soon enough, but, there can be a lack of support around men’s health that can mean these cancers can have devastating effects.

We spoke to David Squires from The Chestnut Appeal to tell us all about his fundraising events and how Helm Tickets has helped grow them.

Can you tell us about your events and how you came to run them?

Back in 2011, we wondered about holding a swim in aid of the charity. Open Water swimming was just taking off and the creation of ‘groups’ on Facebook had started to attract lots of interest.After a meeting with the safety team, who were then housed on an industrial estate in deepest Cornwall, we set about launching the 2011 Burgh Island Swim.I’m not sure how the word spread, but it did and before we knew it we had people signing up from across the UK. And so, on 4th September 2011, 125 swimmers took to the waters off the South Devon coast and completed the 1 mile swim around Burgh Island.The money raised through that swim back in 2011 topped the £25,000 mark. Needless to say, we haven’t looked back since and now run a series of swims across the summer from Burgh Island to St Michael’s Mount.

Can you tell us about your events and how you came to run them?

The summer of 2018 will be long remembered for the heatwave, but it also brought some unseasonable weather which caused both the St Michael’s Mount swim and the Burgh Island swim to be rescheduled.We keep an eye on the weather and sea conditions in the run-up to a swim and keep in constant touch with our safety team if things are looking like we might have to postpone.As an event organiser, it’s really important to remember you can’t control the weather. It can be a headache having to postpone an event but you really do have to think ‘safety first’.It’s something to bear in mind when you set the date for the event that you have a reserve date. Ideally, you would want to have this date set beforehand so if you do have to postpone then you have a new date to offer the participants.And we also offer the participants an option of if they can’t make the new date that they transfer to a different swim or even transfer to the following year.

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What strategies does the charity have for ensuring repeat attendance and simultaneously reaching new audiences?

As for attracting a new audience, we haven’t really got a strategy but rely on word of mouth. There was a cluster of people signing up for the first swim in 2011 who came from Buckinghamshire. How and why we never found out, but to this day we still get swimmers and new swimmers from Bucks.

How were you managing your tickets before you began using Helm?

It was just a case of asking people to send in a cheque for registration. It was only 7 years ago but it was very different. Everything back then was pretty much done via letter and the post.

What made you switch to Helm Tickets? And, How has Helm changed the way you manage your events?

When Jon approached us with the idea of online ticketing in 2015 we jumped at the chance and year on year it has made the whole process smoother to manage and easier for the participant. Even back in 2015 people were resistant to registering online and we were still taking paper registrations., Now in 2018 it’s 100% online registrations.

What are your top tips for organising charity fundraising events?

Do something you enjoy. I’ve been swimming all my life. Jumping into the water where and when possible. So organising a swim makes great sense.Don’t over-elaborate. Keep it simple. If it’s a swim, make sure that it’s safe – it’s fun and it’s a challenge. A football tournament –  it’s about the Football. you don’t need bouncy castles and face painting!

Thanks to David speaking to us and choosing Helm Tickets! Check out his upcoming events over at The Chestnut Appeal website If you’d like to be featured in Organiser Spotlight or you’d like more information about Helm Tickets, get in touch and check out our other blogs in the meantime!

Charity Event, Organiser Spotlight, The Chestnut Appeal

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Organiser Spotlight: Steve Mcmillan of SMC Events

Organiser Spotlight: Steve Mcmillan of SMC Events

Organiser Spotlight: Steve Mcmillan of SMC Events

Update: Since chatting to Steve, his first event using Helm Tickets (Decades of Dance with Rozalla & K-Klass) has sold out! Great news for Steve & for those who were lucky enough to get tickets – enjoy the show in March!

S teve Mcmillan is an events organiser based in Ellesmere Port, who organises a variety of events around the area. After migrating over to Helm Tickets, we caught up with Steve to give him the opportunity to chat about his experience in event management and using Helm.

Can you tell us about your event and how you came to run it?

My events started a couple of years ago as intimate, local live music gigs.  It was essentially me providing a platform for the local bands who were either too young, or not really hitting the criteria of being “pub friendly” and wanting a platform to perform on.  We ran a couple of “battle of the bands” style events and really pushed original music in our town.  We of course chose the ‘so bad it’s good’ setting of a very run down function room for our first few events!

Steve of SMC Events with a minion

My background is/was as a mobile & bar DJ so in some aspects it was a completely new scene for me, however I’d been developing an understanding of the technical side of running the show so developing how the shows looked and sounded was an exciting prospect.  I soon realised that meant very little when it came to running a show to schedule and sorting logistics though!  Lesson learned!

As the competition finished, there was a demand for the events to carry on so it was up to me to try and reach out for new ideas, genres and thankfully, venues!

It has been a slow, steady progression in terms of getting the capacity consistently to where it needs to be – however in the last 18 months we’ve tripled average attendance, expanded to three festivals and attracted national artists to come to our (small!) town which seemed almost impossible previously.  Booking these acts without having prior experience of working with the names is seemingly impossible – agencies want to know that you can “look after” an artist and secure the right fee and deposit on time. Once you find the right agency who’ll give you that opportunity and prove to be trustworthy, this certainly gets a lot easier!

Your first old school event sold out in 24 hours.  What do you attribute to the success & how will you build on this?

We used to have our own night club in town which unfortunately ceased trading in 2012.  The club really excelled with club classics and there was an absolute gap in my local market for bringing that back in a realistic, accessible way.

We decided to book a night celebrating all things dance music from 1990-2000 and the response was unbelievable!  All online tickets flew out in 24 hours of their individual releases.  We’ve ensured we’ve given it that “club” feel by really putting in the ground work with transforming the venue to feel like the customer can “experience” it and not just attend it!

We’ve got two return old school themed events with guest DJ’s and live P.A’s for 2018 which we’re excited to show our town.  None of the DJ’s or P.A’s have been here before so it’s always nice to get that “exclusivity!”.

SMC Events flyer

“…in the last 18 months we’ve tripled average attendance, expanded to three festivals and attracted national artists to come to our (small!) town which seemed almost impossible previously.”

How were you managing your tickets before you began using Helm?

For my initial first year of shows, we didn’t have any ticketing!  Although we were fortunate to get the attendance on the day, this can cause pre-show stress as you just cannot anticipate attendance of an event like this!  I wouldn’t dream of running any event this way now as several factors such as security, general staffing and in some cases stock can be gauged on those advance ticket sales.

We then moved over to commissioned physical ticket sales – this is OK if there are a small amount of sellers with close contact, however chasing up floats, sales and leads proves an added stress!

We have also used a few well known ticket operators such as SeeTickets, Eventbrite and Skiddle.  I was looking for a new provider as the combination of lengthy forms, hidden fee’s and in some cases not being able to receive ticket funds until a week or so after the event wasn’t proving useful at all.  The lack of personal touch that these large providers come with is also a reason I was looking for a new option for 2018!

“Having access to funds before the event takes place is extremely useful for budgeting and getting those important deposits paid for the event.”

Band at SMC Events festival

What made you switch to Helm Tickets?

I was very politely approached – and appreciated the honest, un-robotic feel to the approach. During the initial communication I was happy with how swift the communication was and in my position that is just as important as the cost.  I have had all of my questions answered very efficiently and I have been assisted with website implementation which was not an option with my previous providers.


How has Helm changed the way you manage your events?

Having access to funds before the event takes place is extremely useful for budgeting and getting those important deposits paid for the event.  The Helm dashboard is superb and you can really trace how much extra traffic and sales are being brought in from your own promotional efforts.  The weekly/daily/monthly sales breakdown is very handy for noticing trends.

SMC Events main stage

What are your top tips for event management?

Strong relationships with venue managers, landlords, and where necessary your local authorities is a start.  I always think of a realistic, best case, and worst case scenario and then start my planning with costs from there.

Depending on the nature of the event we’re doing it’s always worth following the artists previous and upcoming events to garner what admission the public are (happy to be) paying and also how well attended these events have been!  I always try and keep a rapport with other promoters to ensure I’m not treading on anyone’s toes!  As a safe measure I’d always try and make sure the artist isn’t spreading themselves too thinly on our shoes or in the local vicinity to keep the “draw” as strong as it can be.

Thanks to Steve speaking to us and choosing Helm Tickets! Check out his upcoming events over at the SMC Events site.

If you’d like to be featured in Organiser Spotlight or you’d like more information about Helm Tickets, get in touch and check out our other blogs in the meantime!

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