Feel Good Factor

A Party for the Mind

Mindfulness is trending. A whole generation is coming of age at a time when openness and a desire to nourish mental, as well as physical health, is part of daily life, and a conversation between friends in a way that it hasn’t previously.

And whilst electronic music – beloved by legions of young fans – has been associated with late nights, hedonism and excess for generations, the community is now answering a need to address and encourage mental wellbeing for fans, artists and the industry alike.

The news that Tim Berling, known to the world and well-loved by fans across the globe as Avicii, died by suicide in April 2018 brought to the surface a discussion that had been underway for some time – that the music community he had been a famous part of had a unique need to address mental health and wellbeing.

Putting musical differences aside, the underground DJ and producer Luciano posted about his own battle with anxiety, depression and addiction, describing in the wake of Berling’s passing “…such an enormous sadness to see the story of Tim, a young hard-working person and talented in his genre…. So many times, I felt so close to what happened to (him).”

While not everyone lives the life of an international touring DJ, such stories are driving the conversation within the electronic music world of the importance of looking after yourself and each other, whilst still enjoying the party and the music.

The subject was centre stage at this year’s International Music Summit in Ibiza, the coming together of the global electronic music world, which this year commenced with a series of wellness events with partner Remedy State. Industry thought-leader Pete Tong said, “In my 40 years of being around this world I can’t think of a single person who’s achieved success who hasn’t paid a personal price via health, relationships, divorce, broken homes, addiction, depression and anxiety,” and that “…this is a wake-up call to ALL those involved, to start looking around and see who might need help.”

Tangible action is being taken for fans too. The USA based Electric Daisy Carnival’s #OpenTalk project provides onsite support for festival goers. Organisations such as CALM and Chill Welfare are providing on-site support services at music events across the UK, not just for moments of acute crisis, but for young people who may be suffering in silence and simply need someone to talk to. There is even a whole festival and supporting album, called Getahead, that took place in London in this June based around the subject of wellbeing.

In a time where half of young adults between 16 and 24 said they had experienced stress or anxiety, compared to just over a third of all UK adults, the music scenes that young people inhabit, provide a potentially crucial environment for wellness and mental health to be acknowledged and encouraged.

But was does this mean for brands? Well, it doesn’t have to be all about the party. People seeking wellness often find solace in a community – and that is found in abundance in the electronic music scene, where fans come together over a shared love of music, and of each other. Celebrating and supporting mental wellbeing could, for brands operating in music, present a possible strand of activity that could increase their relevance with their audiences, and in a socially responsible way.

This would, without doubt, be considered a brave move and a tough sell to those who hold the purse strings. But with younger generations having grown up in a world where brands have become publishers and enablers, there is no reason why they should not also provide support for and champion, a real-world issue like mental health – doing so with understanding and empathy to deliver genuine, meaningful engagement with music fans.

Doing so, with integrity and understanding, can deliver genuine engagement with fans.

Brands can party with integrity.

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