How to prepare for outdoor performances

Heather Roonan’s guest post originally appeared on The GigSalad blog.

Party planners have long preferred outdoor gigs. This is even truer now, as the pandemic continues limiting our social gatherings. You and your fans can still enjoy music and entertainment while staying safe by performing in the open air.

Outdoor gigs present a whole new set of considerations. To be successful, you must prepare well and keep in constant communication with your customers. We’ll discuss a few important things in this article.

Weather forecasts are available.

Mother Nature can be a tricky lady. You’ll need to pay attention. Check the weather forecast early and often, even up until the event day. Include a plan to deal with inclement weather as part of your Booking Agreement. This will outline what you can expect. You and your client should agree on the details, whether it is a different venue or rescheduling an event.

If possible, the stage or performance area should be covered. It is important to keep performers and equipment cool by covering the stage. Keep hydrated and take the breaks you agreed upon with your client. Also, keep extra equipment with you in case of unexpected problems.

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How to identify the power supply

Be sure to communicate your needs with your client if your performance requires power. Asking for power is as easy as running some extension cords. However, it would be best if you asked all the necessary questions so that the event organizer knows about any details they may have overlooked.

Is there a power supply with safety certification close to the performance zone?

Will the generator be far enough from the power source to not have an impact on its performance?

What restrictions apply to the installation of cables on the site?

Is a PA available? Or will the talent provide one?

Check your extra equipment.

Outdoor gigs require you to bring additional gear that is not normally needed. Our GigSalad musicians shared their tips on what to get for an outdoor gig.

Tarps. In the event that you are caught in a downpour, you can use this quick solution to save your equipment until you have a chance to move it somewhere dry.

Extension Cords. It’s good to always have extra long extension cords on hand, even if the client has said they will supply them.

A portable generator is an excellent backup plan.

Portable Fans. Summer heat does not always come with a cool breeze. It is best to have your own. Set up portable fans that blow directly on you and your gear to keep them cool.

Rug. A rug can be useful for musicians who have equipment like drum kits or other items that need to stay in one place.

A case of water. Staying well hydrated is essential for any gig, whether indoors or outdoors, but you will need more water if it’s hot. You should have this provided by your client, but you should bring a minimum of one case.

Sunscreen. You may forget about this one, but once you get burned, you’ll never forget it again. Sunblock is the best way to avoid the pain of a sunburn.

Spare clothes/hand towels. Sweating is a common part of gigs, but the heat from the sun can make it even worse. You can also bring a change of clothes or towels to clean yourself. Bonus tip: Do not perform in the clothes that you have set up!

Check city or area restrictions.

Be aware of local sound ordinances when performing or planning outdoor events. Many communities have specific times of day when sound should cease and decibel levels they should not exceed. It is important to confirm that the client has contacted their local community office for information and rules. You do not want to be in a situation where you are not paid for the full performance.

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