WHO WE ARE
- a person employed by a touring band of musicians to set up and maintain equipment.
“he looked a bit like a roadie for a heavy metal band”
The magic of a live show does not come from the performance alone. Live music is an immersive experience. It takes scores of specialized technicians + crew to ensure the lighting, sound, visuals, wardrobe, rigging and the like are all functioning perfectly while setting up and tearing down with dizzying efficiency.
These crew members – roadies – are passionate about their work, to them it is as much of a craft as the performance on stage. However, the toll it takes on them and their families can be devastating. We have dedicated our careers to the live entertainment industry and now we are rededicating our lives to leaving it, and the family we formed along the way, better than we found it. We are all part of an eclectic group of people called roadies, and we work hard touring the world to bring joy and entertainment to the masses.
Co-founders Courtney and Paul Klimson have lived this life together for over 20 years. They have risen in the ranks of touring from van + trailer tours to theaters to arena + stadium headliners such as John Legend, The Roots, Justin Timberlake, and Drake. In between Legend and Timberlake, Paul auditioned at Saturday Night Live for a new, unknown show that would later become Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (and subsequently, The Tonight Show). The success never made it easier as the demands only increased for the two of them.
Despite how lonely it felt at times, Courtney and Paul only needed to look around at their road family to see that they weren’t alone in their struggles. There is an industry-wide need for physical, mental, and emotional support and those who need it most – the roadies – are most hesitant to ask for help. The calling was clear,
“ The Klimsons knew that they had to create a place by roadies, for roadies to ensure a safe space for this community. “
It was with these insights and resolve to improve life on tour that Courtney and Paul founded The Roadie Clinic (TRC) in July 2019. Just three months later, they closed on the historic commercial building that would become the flagship location for a physical home for TRC.
Roadies live according to a “day sheet,” which is an hour-by-hour breakdown of what is happening that day, how they are getting there, when they will eat, and when they will rest. When you factor this daily grind, often with very little sleep and self-care, plus the fact that these people are gone for months at a time, the formula for re-entry into home life can become nearly impossible to solve for some.
The most common issues amongst the touring community include – isolation, depression, anxiety, paranoia, broken marriages (and the co-parenting that follows), and addiction. At times our friends and family at home find it difficult to relate to our lifestyle, often saddling our work with harmful stigmas. Roadies are routinely discouraged from discussing the health and wellbeing of the families back home. Not only do we routinely miss major life events from weddings to funerals, keeping up with our own health isn’t an option, as benefits are non-existent in touring.
Roadies will be the first to tell you that community and support are a two way street. Everyone on crew has a vested interest in the success of those working around them as it directly affects their own success. Road crew are some of the most self-reliant people you will encounter. They are educated, business owners, self-insured, self-employed, with self-made retirement plans.
That two-way street holds true for The Roadie Clinic and our relationship with the town of Niles, MI. Niles is our adopted home and where we will create our haven for roadies in need. We owe much of our early success to the open, welcoming arms with which the community has embraced us. We have, and will continue to reciprocate that support by involving Niles in our plans and make ourselves available to the town to help create a thriving Arts District.
Healthy road life. Healthy home life.
The Roadie Clinic exists to empower + heal roadies and their families by providing services and resources tailored to the struggles of the touring lifestyle.
We are committed to providing a safe space for our community to heal off the road, to advocate for – and empower them to obtain – a healthy work environment while on the road. We intend to grow our network to have a global outreach while our three-story, multi-faceted space will offer therapy, education, advocacy, financial guidance, recovery resources and temporary housing when available. It is our goal that, through donations and partnerships, we will be able to offer our services at no cost to roadies.
we offer to roadies + their families
Industry Referral Network
A huge part of our mission (and our long term effectiveness) is discovering and researching all of the pre-existing US-based care organizations within the music industry with a focus on what they can offer our community. Whether we partner to address a pressing need or simply connect in order to be of service to each other in the future, we seek to build relationships with those who also seek to improve life for us day-to-day folks in entertainment. We haven’t had to turn anybody away to-date, and we aim to be advocates for anybody that needs care.
We have several resources for aid in mental health services, medical insurance, financial grants to help cover expenses in a hardship, financial literacy, recovery services as well as legal referrals. We constantly scrutinize our network and work diligently to fill in gaps when they become apparent.
In addition, we have built a Global Care Network consisting of groups like CrewCare in Australia, Music Support and Tonic Rider in the UK, Purple Voodoo in Canada and MusiCares, SIMS Foundation, Behind the Scenes, and many others around the United States. Entertainment being a worldwide industry, it is important that we are able to bring roadies in crisis to friendly faces regardless of where the gig is located. As leaders in care across the globe, we aim to support each other in these roles while also sharing success and failure stories as we all continue to grow our outreach in our individual organizations.
Roadies In Recovery
This recovery community was formed under TRC’s umbrella in October 2020. Starting with two virtual meetings: one US based and one UK based with each hosted on Zoom. Currently, we are proud to have grown this to three weekly meetings, reaching over 50 roadies each week, and the group has even expanded to include some crew from the film + television world. These 12-step-based meetings are for addicts of all varieties such as alcohol, drugs and even gambling. All roadies are welcome and treated with respect and dignity.
The Lofts - COMING SOON
We are making history as the first nonprofit in the music industry creating a physical location for roadies and their families to visit, stay and receive care. The space will center their unique lifestyle, operated by people who understand the difficulties of the touring lifestyle all too well.
TRC owns a commercial building at 205 E Main Street in the historic district of Niles, MI. Fitting that it was formerly the telegraph building for the town. The patch bay technology of the telegraph is still used today in pro audio, co-founder Paul Klimson’s expertise in the field.
To date, nothing like this has ever been built. Returning from a tour can be just as chaotic as the road. We have seen it all – roadies who have been locked out of their homes when they return and more still whose families disappear while they are gone. Not to mention those who have simply burned out and are struggling to maintain their mental health. These people need a place where they can be supported and understood without judgment. Providing this haven is central to our mission.
We are just as committed to the families of road crew as we are the roadies themselves. We aim to build out our support group offerings for partners and their children. This will include a Roadie Kids Camp where they can come and spend time with kids who have the same lifestyle.
Many of our specific services will be focused on bringing families to Niles, putting them up in the lofts at 205 E Main, and walking through life with them for a bit. We will educate them on services available in our industry and act as peer-support as they face the difficulties of the world. For the younger families/relationships, so often the best medicine is spending time with people who have come before them in this industry who can educate them on what it’s really like for partners on the road.
Wellness Kits + Care Packages
Wellness Kits + Care Packages: This program is currently in its beta-testing phase with two versions being reviewed. The first was created for Five Senses Reeling, a touring production company. FSR requested a crew sponsorship as they had just committed to providing a safe room in every venue for crew only. We built a package that includes yoga mats, hydration supplements, mood lighting, music, hydrating face + hand masks, stretching bands, flameless candles and many other self-care comforts.
At the same time, another touring company approached us as they set off for Iceland and will need to quarantine in a hotel room for 5 days upon arrival. They requested that we put together hotel quarantine kits. These quarantine kits have morphed into care packages, and we’ve been able to send them to Iceland, South Korea, Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama and Bonnaroo. Depending on the environment, these can include everything from outdoor safety elements (sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, ponchos) to indoor self-care (shower steamers, hand masks, eyes masks for sleeping) and snacks (nuts, protein cookies, chocolate, Liquid IV).
A member of our Industry Advisory Committee, Candice Rukes, has been working in the passport field for the last year while touring stopped. She has learned tricks and tools (and made connections to many state senators) to get people fast turnaround times on travel documents, including getting second passports for those of us who spend many months out of the country. She has been offering her services, valued at $400/customer, completely free of cost.
This program set up one of our biggest success stories: A tour bus caught on fire, and all of the personal possessions of the crew on this bus were lost. Rukes was able to get passports for the whole crew turned around in expedited time, easing some of the tension by making it that much easier for the crew to get back home.