Our first festival

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by nambassist, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. nambassist


    Oct 15, 2015
    My band has been booked at an outdoor festival. It'll be the first festival we'll play, it's the madisa festival in the namib desert. Yes were from Africa :D

    We are all really nervous about it cause none of us have done something like this before. Biggest gig we've done is a 3 band show. So before we show up and make a fool of ourselves any advice as to how things run? Like is sound check everyday for those bands playing or is it a day before the festival starts? Any feedback would be great
    McG, Mike N, knumbskull and 13 others like this.
  2. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    If the festival is organized well you should receive information by mail or email letting you know how the stage and entertainment is going to be run.

    Sometimes you will get a full sound check a couple of hours before you play. If there are lots of bands on the stage you may get only a "line check" just before you start playing.

    Find out if the festival organizer is providing a "back line". A "back line" is all the amplifiers and drums you need. The back line is used by all the bands at the festival to help speed up the transitions between acts. If so, you need to bring only your instruments, pedal boards, and cables.

    The festival organizer will usually provide all the PA equipment you need with a dedicated sound crew to help with your stage setup. Be nice to the sound crew. Politely ask for what you need (more vocals in the monitor, less guitar in the monitor, etc) but don't be a pest. Sometimes the show must go on even if you don't have a perfect mix.

    All festivals are different. I like to arrive early and be prepared for anything. The schedule could change at the last minute. Be prepared to wait patiently or be rushed on stage in a hurry.

    Bring water and snacks in case there are none provided. Try to relax and have fun. It's a big party!

    Forgive me if I state the obvious. Let us know if you have any specific questions. Is there a webpage for the festival?

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    McG, JRA, LBS-bass and 35 others like this.
  3. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Everything that Cliff said; just be patient, be humble, and be prepared. Not to be negative, but don’t expect everything to go right or be comfortable; if it does, then it’s a win. Never assume anything, and don’t get flustered if you encounter any attitude from anyone. Hopefully it will be a well organized event, but reach out to the organizers with any and all questions you may have ahead of time.
    McG, mikewalker, Bboopbennie and 5 others like this.
  4. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Since you’re in the south, is your music like high life, or is it at all like tuareg/Tinariwen? I’ve seen from their videos that there is a thriving desert festival scene that they are involved in up in Mali and surrounds.
    mikewalker and BassCliff like this.
  5. Try to keep your setup simple. My experience is you will have so many minutes allotted for everything. Changeover, line check and performance. Keep an eye on the clock as well. If your given 45 minutes, take 44:59. Don't sweat the small stuff, and have a ton of fun.
  6. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Since I not only play many festivals and I also run festivals, heed Bass Cliff's comments as well as the following:

    Be professional at all times to everyone
    Show up on time for set up and be ready to start your time slot on time
    Do not go over your time slot unless given permission by the event organizers
    Find out in advance how to get your vehicles into the festival grounds, where to unload, and where to park
    Be family oriented
    Most importantly - HAVE FUN!
    McG, DrMole, juancaminos and 7 others like this.
  7. nambassist


    Oct 15, 2015
    Wow thanks a lot Cliff.I've been to a festival before but not as a musician on stage so this was a good indication as to what to expect as an artist, cause when your going to a festival to party you have no idea what happens behind the scenes.

    They don't have a website only a Facebook page. It's the 1st year they are doing it but are putting in a lot of effort. The location is amazing though it'll be inbetween the rocks on 1 of the lodges.
    McG, DrMole, mikewalker and 2 others like this.
  8. JohnnyBottom

    JohnnyBottom Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    New Jersey
    Be prepared musically. Have a tight set prepared that fits the timeframe. Try to avoid down time between songs, since it taps into your play time and awkward dead air moments. When you are done , get your asses of the stage asap.
  9. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    There's already a lot of good advice in this thread, things I forgot and left out of my post. It's all good stuff, find out about the parking situation, be ready to go on stage when it's your time and set up quickly, don't go over your allotted time, get off the stage quickly, be polite to everyone, etc.

    If this is the first year then chances are there will be some rough edges, some organizational issues that you may have to deal with. Just roll with the punches and be grateful that you were invited to perform. People like happy, helpful attitudes. Just get it done and have some fun!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    McG, JRA, DrMole and 5 others like this.
  10. nambassist


    Oct 15, 2015
    You guys are awesome! Thanks for the info will meet with the band tomorrow to discuss everything and put minds at ease. Will definitely post a thread on how the festival went once it's happened. Thanks again guys
  11. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Wow! That looks like a fabulous place to play music and have fun! From the FB pages:

    Madisa Music Festival

    Madisa Music Festival is happening 22-25th May 2020.
    This Festival will be the 1st of its kind in our beautiful Namibia.
    Bands and Artists from all over Africa plus Craft Beer, Food & Drink Stalls, Camping and so much more.

    For stalls and queries contact [email protected]

    For Bookings mail [email protected] or book online at
    Hit Music - http://www.hitmusic.co.za/events/madisa-festival-2020/
    Quicket - https://qkt.io/madisa

    Limited tickets available, more will be released later.
    Camp Sites & Tent options available.
    Limited VIP available

    Food & Drinks will be on sale. Some of Namibia's best breweries and distilleries.

    Madisa Camp is situated in a unique Namibian Wilderness where the sheer beauty of such a vast and amazing place allows you to reconsider and reconnect with life. The music and memories will make it an experience not to be missed.

    Line-Up :

    Matthew Mole
    Jasper Dan
    Jaryd Smith
    Jody Mayhew music
    Werner Bekker
    Up Your Sleeve
    Christian Heath
    The Xpierreience
    Indigo Girl
    Andrew Proome Music
    Mash'd Potatoes
    Priscilla "Dessert Namibian Queen"
    Club of Suns
    Flying Bantu
    Francois Olivier Music
    Project Mothball
    Tatum Holders Tunes
    Sagarias Tsam
    Savannah Collins Music
    Dynamite Mountains
    Midget Submarine

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    DrMole, mikewalker, corndog and 4 others like this.
  12. grinx


    Mar 24, 2003
    Raleighwood, NC
    find out where the bathrooms are
    bring a towel to wipe sweat off

    it'll be over before you know it. don't get TOO wasted before playing if you do that thing.
    DrMole and Low Down Brown like this.
  13. Last time I played a significant festival was pretty huge, "The End Of the World Festival" in Ontario, Canada back around 97 or 98.

    I personally was given zero information about setup or anything else - but I was just a member of the band, and the tour organizer for my group didn't help. But they SHOULD tell you stuff - make sure you're asking the right person, because it's possible your rep has been given lots of details but you don't get given any of it unless you ask (and even then sometimes it takes convincing).

    Good luck - those are some of the greatest memories of my life that I dwell on far too much as I get older with my day job and kids and constant exhaustion... I miss those days :)

    mikewalker likes this.
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    AS in all travel and gigs, the first thing to pack when you leave home is your sense of humor. At some point, you'll need it. If you take things too seriously, it wrecks the adventure. Have fun!
    McG, Sore Thumb, DrMole and 3 others like this.
  15. Congrats, looks like a great gig. I also like to get there way too early and hang out, get to know the sound man, watch another band do sound check, stuff like that. I relax knowing I am where I need to be, and enjoy hanging out. You never know who you might meet.
    McG likes this.
  16. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    The venue looks nice. Enjoy!
  17. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    Bring your own extension Electrical cords, just in case. Was on a stage one time, that in order to get electricity around to everything, had to borrow one that is normally for my pedal board. If you need it, it's there.

    Always watch the time, so you can play your final Kick A$$ song fully. And have the engineers running sound notify you when you have 5 min. left. We have had engineers cut our set, in order to get schedules back on track. So best to know when to do your final song. Cause you want to do the best for the audience.

    Have everything staged at the back or side of the stage, in order to get it set up in time. Keep it simple. Cases and covers off. Saves time setting up.

    Be nice to the next band and get things off the stage immediately. Put cases and etc. on off the stage. That way the next band can take less time. It helps to have a roadie or two to help.

    Don't be too picky about stage / monitor sound. Make do with simplicity. That can take time away also. So be expedient.

    And most of all, have fun and get the crowd into it. They make these kinds of things real fun.
  18. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    My advice: Very importantly, try to relax so you can be sure to enjoy the experience. Try to present an upbeat, positive attitude at all times to everyone you encounter at the festival; the stage manager, the tech crew (sound, lights, stage), the caterers, security, promoters representatives, publicity people, media folks, festival attendees... everyone.

    Because it's the first year of this festival, there are no precedents ("This is how we've dealt with that issue in the past....") and everyone will be be a little nervous, be improvising on their jobs a little bit, at least. What everyone will remember about you is that you were positive, cooperative, warm, helpful and projected a positive attitude when issues arose and you did it all with smiles on your faces. You were a joy to work with. And your band was good!

    Everyone on the gig; workers and other entertainers, will respect you for your professionalism and good cheer and look forward to seeing you again. People will say nice things about your band when the situation arises. And that will put your band on the list of acts that gets considered for next year's festival and the ones after that.

    Good luck!
    Sore Thumb, nambassist and mikewalker like this.
  19. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    sounds like a blast..play tight...~break a leg~