Why Australia needs a gig initiative
When The Hey Mate Project and Gig Initiative came to fruition our mission was to make gigs feel good again. Too many times had we experienced or heard stories of people suffering anxiety and panic attacks at gigs. Stories of passing out in the middle of a set, being trampled on and dragged out by a friend that was half their size, feeling that overwhelming all consuming feeling but not telling anyone because your afraid to bring down their "vibe" or buying two tickets to a gig, finding a friend bailed so instead of attending alone you sell them on and miss out because the thought of going by yourself makes your physically sick. You feel it sneak up on you and slowly take over your body and occupy your mind until its all consuming or you might wake up one day and feel it, like its been sitting on the end of the bed waiting for you, however you experience anxiety you should be supported and encouraged to attend your favourite gigs.
Anxiety even impacted our Founder Aimee Davies - "I always knew the word "anxious" or "anxiety" it was mostly brought up when I become tense and irritable teenager but never knew the actual feeling. It wasn't until I was in my early 20's until I really got to know anxiety and what it was like to have a panic attack and one of the first places I experienced it was at a gig. It was so overwhelming the only thing to do was to walk out, get in a taxi and go home. I didn't tell anyone about it, I just thought that it was a one time thing and wouldn't happen again. I was very wrong and it got to the point where I stopped going to gigs."
The Hey Mate Gig Initiative works to support and stamp out the stigma and social isolation experienced with mental health and anxiety. We provide social and emotional support to improve the well being and overall experience of gig goers attending events. Working in conjunction with artists, venues, festivals, touring companies and more to build a more supportive, inclusive and considerate culture, experience and wider community.
What will the gig initiative look like?
The initiative provides a text and email support service gig goers can use to find out about on-site facilities before a show / festival, a gig buddy system for those attending alone to meet other gig goers, help desk with information on resources to help in the longer-term and a "couch to crash on" quiet space for those experiencing anxiety and panic attacks or just having a hard time to regather themselves with onsite counsellors and health professionals available to give support.
How do you know people are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks?
According to Beyond Blue "One quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition" that means that statistically out of the 42,500 people that attended the 2019 Splendour in The Grass there were 10,625 people susceptible experiencing an anxiety condition.
This means that for an average arena show the venue capacity can be between 4500 to 13500 with 1125 - 3375 people attending susceptible to experiencing an anxiety condition without any support.
The fact that there are similar initiatives in the UK and US shows that there is a need for such an initiative to provide support.
How can I get the Gig Initiative at my favourite Gig?
To get the gig initiative at your favourite gig or festival contact the event organiser and include the details of The Hey Mate Project and Gig Initiative.