An Industry Grounded Episode 1: Liam Clifford and how the live touring industry was caught off guard

The travel podcast Jetlag has returned for a second season, its first episodes in more than two years, to bring to light different stories from an industry at a standstill due to a global pandemic.

In this episode, co-hosts Andrew Smith and Larry Heath are joined by Liam Clifford, the CEO and Founder of Howl Around Entertainment Group – someone who normally spends his year on the road heading up the production work for international touring acts.

Based in LA, Liam has worked with acts like Post Malone, Charlie Puth, FKJ, Hailee Steinfeld, Elle King, Bishop Briggs, Sheppard & more.

Clifford talks about his busy 2019, travelling around the world, and how until early March, his 2020 was shaping up even bigger – and how the collapse of his industry caught him off guard.

“We were the first industry to go…. we thought that the touring industry was the one recession proof industry. We were always under the impression that we would never get shut down ever. That nothing could affect us. And then this happened.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that 9 billion dollars is likely to be wiped from the sector third year due to a lack of normal ticket sales. In Australia, $340 million was lost from the sector in the space of a little more than a month – and that was only counting the people who registered their losses at site called I Lost My Gig.

And that’s not from just musicians, but that includes production, crew, hospitality workers, tour managers, ticket sellers, booking agents & many more…

Looking ahead to a post-Covid economy, we ask what live music touring looks like moving forward. How long is it going to be until we can get back to seeing our favourite bands in live venues around the world? And what will a company like Howl Around do in the meantime?

For more about Howl Around Entertainment, visit their official website.

Both financial support and mental health resources for professionals in the music industry can be found in Australia through Support Act. In Canada, contact the Unison Benevolent Fund. In the UK, there’s Help Musicians for financial support and Music Minds Matter for 24/7 mental health support. In the US there are initiatives like MusiCares, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, and HAAM – which is specifically for Austin based musicians.

If you have the resources to do so, please lend your support to these organisations. And if you need the help, they’re there for you.

Photo of Howl Around Entertainment’s production work with acclaimed artist Bishop Briggs, provided by Howl Around Entertainment.