Food for thought? Music workers hope new cook book is recipe for fundraising success

SADDLEWORTH resident Julie Cotton is part of a Manchester team of live music workers fundraising for mental health first aid on tour.

The fundraiser is a cookbook from world tours called The Roadie Cookbook: Toured there, Ate that.

Julie moved to Greenfield from the city centre last year for a more rural setting and for better mental health when coming off tour.

“Although Covid-19 was devastating beyond anything we could have imagined, a positive to have come out of the situation was for the industry to have an unexpected opportunity to reset,” she explained.

Julie Cotton and Nick Gosling at Albert Hall, Manchester pic by Jody Hartley

“During the last 18 months, we’ve all had a chance to reflect and work together to create positive change by working towards a healthier and more sustainable future in touring.

“With thousands of people being used to a different routine now, the transition back to working on the road will bring about its own challenges yet delivering concerts and the experiences they bring to people is a vital part of good mental health.

“By undertaking the Mental Health First Aid course, many of us have been able to learn how to better support those around us.

“We want to extend that knowledge free of charge to our touring colleagues, funded through book sales.”

The Roadie Cookbook features 50 recipes and was borne out of an idea by production manager Nick Gosling during lockdown in April 2020.

It was curated with friends he met on the Manchester music scene working with Elbow; including production co-ordinator Julie.

Cook book cover

Collectively, the friends have worked on local events comprising Park Life, Kendal Calling, NBHD Weekender, New Order at MIF and Courteeners at Heaton Park.

Additionally, they have worked for artists including Doves, Johnny Marr, The Travelling Band & Everything Everything.

When Covid-19 hit, live music stopped overnight, and tour buses stood still. Home kitchens became the new catering hub for unemployed music workers.

As stories of memorable meals and secret ingredients in roadie comfort food took hold, so did the stark reality that isolation and mental ill-health was becoming commonplace within the forgotten touring business.

The team recognised first-hand how food can bring people together when touring the world and set out to help their peers re-engage in the much-missed mealtime connection of crew catering by sharing recipes over social media and Zoom to avoid loneliness.

The idea of an industry-led cookbook was formed and soon turned into a fundraising initiative tasked with generating enough sales to secure crisis prevention training for those travelling on the road.

Carefully crafted by backstage professionals, the book showcases a collection of 50 recipes, anecdotes and advice for staying healthy on tour.

Recipes include The Killer Sandwich (you’ll have to buy it to find out more), Stage Left Satay Bowls, Tour Bus Nachos, and an anonymous ‘Loose Cocktail.’

Contributors work in a variety of skilled roles; lighting designers, bus drivers, sound engineers, tour managers and video directors, to name a few.

For each copy sold, 100 percent of profits will go towards charities Music Support and Stagehand to help continue funding and delivering Mental Health First Aid training and, importantly, normalise taking the Mental Health First Aid course.”

The foreword has been written by Skunk Anansie drummer and Music Support co-founder, Mark Richardson, who shares his own experiences of the dark side of touring.

You can pre-order a paper copy of The Roadie Cookbook: Toured There, Ate That now from

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