ECMA calls the music industry to Pledge To Pause, January 2024

(Halifax, NS) - The East Coast Music Association’s (EMCA) wellness program, Sound Minds is calling for the music industry to Pledge To Pause their consumption of alcohol from January 1 - 31, 2024.

Born out of stories and anecdotes from ECMA members, including artists and industry professionals, who have attended ECMA one-on-one wellness sessions and peer support groups, this month-long initiative invites participants to pause and reflect on the impact of alcohol in the industry and on individual careers.

“Artists often discuss drinking as just ‘part of the job.’ Presenters and audiences often expect them to bring the party to the concert or festival, and a good portion of gigs happen in a bar. Others tell accounts of needing to have a few drinks before and onstage to push through anxiety. And we can’t forget the all too familiar drink ticket,” says Errin Williams, ECMA’s wellness lead. “Pledge to Pause is in response to what I hear from our members all the time. We want to provide our members, and the industry at large, the opportunity to have this discussion in an open and supportive environment of their peers.”

Artist and ECMA peer supporter, Nicole Ariana, will be taking the pledge this January.

“I am so happy to see ECMA starting a conversation about the relationship between alcohol and the music industry with Pledge to Pause.” says Ariana. “For many years, the first thing I’d do when getting to a show or concert is order a stiff drink to help ease myself into a loud and lively setting. I believe most musicians are very sensitive people, and although we get up on stage and share songs and stories, appearing confident - like everyone, we all have our own personal struggles. Throwing alcohol into the mix attending industry events can be a lot of fun, but alcohol is also a depressant and addictive. When it becomes the status quo, that might not be the best thing for many of us. I look forward to using January as a time to discuss and reflect on the effects of alcohol in the music industry alongside ECMA and those who choose to Pledge to Pause.”

For artists and industry members who are already exploring a sober lifestyle, the invitation to pause still exists. It can be a time to reflect on other impacts in your life, or perhaps you would like to support those who are new to this initiative.

Sign up for Pledge To Pause: HERE

For more information on the program, email Errin Williams at: [email protected].

For members who will be attending Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW), November 2-5 in Yarmouth, feel free to visit the ECMA Wellness Hub. The ECMA Wellness Hub can be found at The Gilded Courtroom (403 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS) on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, as part of the Support4Culture Artist Lounge.

Pledge To Pause is not a call to lead a sober lifestyle forever but to understand how it has permeated the music industry as a whole. How the participant chooses to continue their relationship with alcohol after the pledge will remain a personal choice, but ECMA hopes each participant will move forward with a better understanding of its impacts.

About Sounds Minds

Sound Minds, the ECMA Wellness program, was started back in 2018 after a wellness check survey was conducted across the membership. It became abundantly clear that mental wellness support was required for the industry at large. Since that survey, several programs have emerged with great success. ECMA offers one-on-one counseling sessions, having conducted hundreds of sessions to date. In 2021, the Sound Minds Peer Support Program began, where trained peer supporters hold monthly meetings on a variety of topics impacting the industry, such as ADHD, gender and identity, sobriety, parenthood, and more. The Pledge to Pause in the newest initiative of this program.

For more details on Sound Minds, visit:

ECMA would like to acknowledge the support from the province of Nova Scotia.

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