Despite a train strike reducing access to central London, the relaunch of live events charity Backup – formerly known as Behind the Scenes – went ahead at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden on the evening of Monday 13 March. Supporters, trustees, patrons and invited guests (including heads of rental houses and equipment manufacturing operations) gathered to hear about recent charitable acts the outfit has undertaken, and also to learn about events planned to raise further funds.
The name might be familiar to those who attended last September’s Pro Sound Awards: Backup, literally then only a few days officially registered and verified, was the charity the Awards team decided to showcase and support during the evening.
“Since then, thoughout the autumn, we’ve got the website together, the trustees that we want onboard, and the direction that we need as a British charity to help the UK live events industry,” says spokesperson Lee Dennison (pictured, right, with sound designer Bobby Aitken, left, and charity chairman John Simpson).
“Anyone who works in our industry [for five years or more] – predominantly freelancers – but if something happens to cause them to fall upon hard times, the charity is there to take a bit of pressure off them. So, we might cover their rent for a month, for instance.”
Dennison – whose day job is serving as head of audio at rental house White Light – cites a recent example of a rigger from Crewe who had an accident and wasn’t able to work for six months. Backup assisted in paying his car insurance so that, when the technician had recovered, he was able to travel to find work once more.
“What we don’t do is give money away to people,” insists Dennison. “We look to pay the insurance company or mortgage company. We have a grants committee of four trustees, we do due diligence on [all applicants] and we make the payments to the third party.”
Dennison highlighted the DiGiCo annual quiz night, which has raised funds for Backup/Behind the Scenes for several years. In 2016, 27 teams raised over £12,000.
Further karting and ‘golf day’ competitions are scheduled in the next few months.