Financially, for me, 2021 was worse than 2020 when you take into account all the government programs that were available, SBA loans, advances, unemployment increases. Others had an opposite experience. What some of us saw was getting back on the road and doing what we do. Some have found other careers that seem more stable. Some of our brothers and sisters have passed on to the big gig in the sky. My situation was of all the gigs I chose, I chose the ones that canceled last second due to many circumstances, oddly, none of the reasons in my case were due to covid.
What have I learned from this year. Even though a lot of the stuff I was scheduled for canceled, there was a massive shortage of qualified monitor engineers industry wide. I've said many times, if only there were 10 of me, I could keep all 10 busy most of the time. From the calls I got with overlapping schedules, to calls I got to cover a week for someone with the rona, to calls from local venues who's staff took those touring jobs and left vacancies, there was a ton of work out there. At the same time, the list of people I can reference to take a gig I can not do is getting smaller and smaller. Not just doing monitors, but also FOH, guitar tech, drum tech, and pretty much every position on tour. There is a massive shortage of "roadies" these days. I could turn this into an ad and say, buy my book and get a gig, but there's always more to it than that. I have found personally a chance for advancement of my career and signed on for a gig that has dates starting in March of 2022 and into 2025 and beyond. While I am grateful for this opportunity, I have about 5 current clients who will be struggling to find a replacement, and I am struggling to find a recommendation. There is also the uncertainty that this new gig will be a good fit for me, I do truly believe it will be, but you never know what might happen until you get out there.
I'm honestly not sure what the solution is. There are the big networking sites like Bobnet, and that worked great until it got super political and people were let in with no experience, let alone actual touring experience, and created a very big but shallow pool. I'm debating starting a new resource that is more true networking how it was meant to be, friends recommending friends, and friends of friends, but not much beyond that. It's a huge industry, but a relatively small pool of people with the experience to do the work properly. Covid isn't going anywhere, there will always be a need for a last second fill in spot. With the amount of people who left the industry, there are openings everywhere. If someone wants to partner with me and shoot some ideas back and forth on how to go about this, I'm all ears. I may start local and try to organize a Nashville based network, and if that works expand as needed
Until next time...