FINANCIAL STRUGGLES: Tom Stanier at work
FINANCIAL STRUGGLES: Tom Stanier at work

WHILE the future of entertainment industry freelancers around the country hangs in the balance, people have rallied round to ensure a sound engineer can return to work when it is safe to do so.
Tour manager Tom Stanier’s future in the industry seemed at an end when the van he uses to move his sound equipment around was severely damaged in a crash along the A688 earlier this month.
But a crowdfunding appeal almost doubled its £1,500 target to cover his insurance excess and loan repayments.
Mr Stanier, who cut his sound engineering teeth at The Witham in Barnard Castle before going freelance, has previously spoken about the difficulties faced by people in the entertainment industry during the lockdown.
The Government has yet to lift restrictions which would allow theatres and other venues to viably re-open.
The collision happened while Mr Stanier was returning home after visiting his family in Woodland.
He said: “The immediate aftermath was a bit of a blur now, but I was mainly concerned with making sure the other driver was okay and then attempting to clear the accident scene as our vehicles were blocking the carriageway. Our vehicles were so stuck together that I notified the police that the collision had blocked the carriageway, and they arrived within the few minutes I was on the phone.” He had bought his six-seater Ford Transit double cab in December last year as a tour vehicle.
There was an outpouring of support when news of the crash became known and a crowdfunding appeal was launched.
Mr Stanier said: “I’m utterly gobsmacked that in less than 24 hours of the appeal being launched, I had received close to double the original target.
“I’ve had messages of support alongside donations from America, Germany, Ireland and Sweden among others, many of which have come from the very generous hands of fans and fiends of the bands and artists which I tour with. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of warmth, kindness and generosity of those I know, and many I have never met.”
By Friday last week the appeal had raised £2,987.
Mr Stanier said: “Having had close to zero work since March, much of these donations will allow me to fund my ongoing business costs which I’ve been unable to pay without work, and will keep me working in the industry I love until this pandemic is over.”
During lockdown, Mr Stanier has been involved in virtual gigs, which he has described as an “interesting experience”, and he has more coming up, including a live stream to Australia’s Sydney Folk Festival.
As for future work prospects Mr Stanier said: “I think it’s awfully unlikely that financially viable tour work will start before the first quarter of 2021.”