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All Day outdoor music fest and heat

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gjbassist, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. My blues band is playing a benefit this coming Saturday with several other bands. Just found out last night that it's outdoors! We are in the middle of the hottest summer on record so far and this event was just put together recently. I can't believe whoever put this together made it an outdoor event. It's a fundraiser for a couple of very good causes but no one is going to show up due to the heat. I'm not concerned about our band as we are only playing an hour and I work out in the heat all day so I'm used to it. I'm just annoyed because I seriously doubt we will have any turnout or raise any money because most people don't want to sit outside when it is over 100 degrees and listen to music.
    The other annoying thing about this benefit is that there is no backline provided! They are only providing the PA so all eight bands must set up their own drums and amps. I'm sorry but if you are donating your time as a band the least the organizer can do is make it easier on the bands by providing a decent backline! Apparently, whoever put this thing together doesn't know what they are doing! End of rant!
  2. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm staring down a very similar scenario this coming Saturday, when the forecast here is calling for sunny and near 100, with humidity. But I'll go you one better in the fact that not only are we the headlining band, but we're providing our P.A. and lights for the entire event! So we'll start setting up about 2:30 in the afternoon and be there till our gig finishes around 1 AM. We played this venue last year and basically there is no shade for the stage area (though the crowd space is shaded) until late in the afternoon. So we will be setting up in the peak heat of the day and fully exposed.

    My biggest concerns in no particular order are #1, keeping all of us hydrated especially during set-up, #2 that our P.A. and/or backline won't overheat and #3 that we'll have any sort of turnout at all (really glad this is a guaranteed-pay gig). Oh did I mention that the night before this festival we're playing a 9-to-1 gig an hour and a half away at a bar with a notoriously difficult load-in?

    At least for this event the organizers were smart enough to only schedule 3 bands and not put the first one on till 5 in the afternoon... so I think if we can get set up quickly and then get our gear (and ourselves) under shade until the first band starts we'll be OK. We're basically getting double pay (to play, and for the P.A.), but no question we will be earning every penny of it.
  3. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    We do lots of outdoor fests....3 must haves....

  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Definitely gonna be bringing some white sheets to cover the gear during the down time.

    I picked up that tip here on TB... :D
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    It's always a good idea to know how and who the organizers are for any benefits or fundraisers.

    If they are making things difficult for the band I would write them a check but bail on performing.
  6. gigslut


    Dec 13, 2011
    St Louis, Mo
    How much changeover time between sets? I'd think 45 minutes minimum. With no backline and I presume only one stage, the audience is going to lose interest waiting in the heat.
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I really hope the OP's event is being set-up on grass... not asphalt or concrete.
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    And yet you and your bandmates committed to play - even before you knew whether the venue would be outdoors? And you either committed to play without having been told whether backline would be provided, or you committed in spite of the fact that you had already been informed that it would not be provided? :eyebrow:

    I hope the rant made you feel better. But in terms of actually managing the situation itself, that's where you dropped the ball. You seem to have made certain assumptions...that have now come back to bite you. :eyebrow:

  9. The band leader committed us to the gig because he is friends with members of another band who is also involved in the event. I agreed to do it because it is literally five minutes from my house and it's a good cause. He was told it was indoors and he made the assumption there was backline provided. The club owner changed it to an outdoor event because he is afraid there will not be enough room inside because it is a small club. IMO he should have left it inside because people are not going to stay long at an outdoor event with the temps we are having. I agree that the band leader should have provided us with more info. We actually talked about backing out once we found out the conditions but IMO that would not be a good idea and could give our band bad PR.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Agreed, backing out would be a bad move. You're all gonna have to buck up and play the hand you were dealt.

    At least you're only going to be out there for an hour, plus changeover time for the backline. Minimize your exposure by getting there as late as possible and leaving as soon as you're done. Under those conditions nobody will hold that against you.
  11. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    No way! I have never canceled a gig for any reason. If I agree to do something, I do it.

    Water, gatorade and fans.

    You can do it! The people who show up will appreciate it too. They know what you are doing and how miserable it is.

    Good luck!
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Of course this also means the females in attendance will likely be wearing as little as legally possible.

    Which, depending on the females in question, could either be a really bad or really good thing.


    My band had a ridiculously good run of luck with our outdoor gigs last summer. We played outside 9 times from June through August and on only one of those gigs was the high temperature more than about 85 the day of the show and usually cooler by the time we went on in the evening. And no rain on any of them either. This year, obviously quite a different story with two gigs on 100-degree days already. It's just the nature of the biz.
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Fair enough. You would know best.

    I just think it's peculiar that whenever a concert promoter or venue owner changes the terms of an already-settled agreement - often at the last minute, and in ways that greatly inconvenience the performer(s) - that it's almost always the performers who feel obligated to suffer through it nevertheless, instead of the promoter/owner feeling obligated to honor the original terms of the deal. In practically any other endeavor, this kind of thing would be considered a clear and obvious breach of contract, thereby automatically letting you off the hook - no questions asked - and "PR" considerations would never even enter into it.

    "Good faith" goes both ways... :meh:

  14. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I'm not talking about canceling a gig. I am talking about reviewing the opportunity, then deciding whether to acept it or not.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    What I'm wondering is where the communication got dropped about the event moving outside? Did the event planner withhold that information from the bands, fearing they'd back out? Or did the OP's BL get the info about the change and then sit on it? I can definitely relate to the OP's frustration... the BL has skin in the game cause of his friendship with the other band, but the rest of the band is basically being dragged along for the ride on this and from what I'm assuming, for little or no pay on top of it all.

    BTW I agree with the OP that the event should have stayed inside. The event organizer wanted it outside to have room for more people but in fact the decision to force people outside may well cause lower attendance than if they had stuck to the original plan ... even if the room was small (assuming it's air conditioned). And the gig would not have required as much P.A. as it will take to carry an outdoor job.

    If this event is going to be held on a paved parking lot under full afternoon sun, it will truly be a miserable experience for everyone in attendance. I've been in Missouri in 100-degree heat and it is unbearable. Hopefully there will be some cloud cover at least.

    Oh yeah, and to the OP - eat a banana before the gig and another one afterward, along with drinking copious amounts of water. Bananas are high in potassium which will help ward off cramping that can happen very easily when one is exerting themselves in extreme heat.
  16. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Everyone will be inside drinking while the band is boiling their nads off outside on the pavement.:eek: And all for free.:D
  17. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Inside or outside would not make much of a difference to me.

    When it comes to fundraisers or benefits I'm concerned with how the event is organized, how they treat the band, access to the stage,set up and tear down time, things like that
    The last benefit I did, they gave band members gift cards and food and beverage.

    For all of you guys that are new to this the last thing you want to be involved with is a poorly planned event with no crowd and be treated like third class citizens.
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Definitely true.

    Anything more complex than a club gig or casual with a jazz combo, I make sure that I nail down a number of particulars. I want to know the exact schedule, where I park, how I'm going to get in and out, if there is cover from sun / rain (mandatory), and a safe place for my gear.

    When I get there, I'm patient and respectful with people. Anybody with a walkie-talkie in 90+ degree heat is probably working pretty hard under real stress. Spread the thank-you's around.

    In these situations, there's virtually no reward for having complex, heavy gear, or your best bass.

    At an outdoor festival in Madison, I was very glad that I threw a huge tarp in my car before leaving my house.

    As an aside, I once played under the sun with no cover. Luckily I had a long speaker cable, so I threw my amp head under the bandstand, and controlled it with the volume control on my bass.
  19. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Once we did a nice back-yard gig, had a tent, but the sun was shining pretty good, drummer set the bass drum down outside the tent for a few seconds and the wrap stared warping like crazy… thought maybe it was ruined, stuck it under the tent and it came back just fine.

    Just a warning if the drummer’s kit is wrapped and you’ve never encountered that.

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