Playing a huge outdoor show.....

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by aztomr, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. aztomr

    aztomr Guest

    Oct 5, 2010
    Here's my dilemna: my band has been bumped up from opening act to headliners for a benefit at the end of next month. We need to provide a PA, which we had been counting on the original headliners to provide. We are playing outdoors, to an expected croed of three to five thousand. Any recommendations for what we need, power wise for the show?:bassist:
  2. Contact a sound company!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I'm not talkin' about your baby sitter's-friend-of your 14th uncle down the family tree,either! I'm talkin' about a reputable,experienced outfit. That is unless your're straight up hell-bent on getting laughed out of town.

    Remember,you only get ONE CHANCE at first impressions!!
  3. edbass


    Nov 8, 2004
    For sure I'd get a pro, that's a big enough gig it would probably be a real good idea.
    Ryan Jenkins will point you in the right direction, he's a true pro, a super good guy, has anything and everything you might need and is in your 'hood.

    Arizona Concert Sound Solutions
  4. jumbodbassman


    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    ditto on the sound company. concentrate on your music not all the other BS
  5. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    most good outdoor festivals will provide the pa why isnt this provided?
  6. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA

    To the OP: I hope you're being well paid: hiring a pro sound company for a gig that size won't be inexpensive.

    Word of mouth is remarkable; I know of Ryan Jenkins from a pro audio forum, and he does have a sterling reputation as a sound pro.
  7. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    Sounds like you are in over your head to me. As mentioned above you are going to need alot of good PA gear. I'm guessing a minimum of 8 subs and 4 tops of PRO sound gear depending on what type of music. For rock/metal probably twice that.
  8. aztomr

    aztomr Guest

    Oct 5, 2010
    Absolutely in over our heads! Thanks for all the incredibly fast replies, I've already talked to the rest of the band, we're talking to pros tomorrow.:bassist:
  9. edbass


    Nov 8, 2004
    Good idea!

    It goes waaay beyond the impression you make as well. An event that will have maybe 5000 people will also likely get the attention of building inspectors, electrical inspectors, maybe even OSHA, etc - particulary since that horrible tragedy last August in Indiana has official type people in CYA mode.
    Folks who might well want to see permits, insurance binders, dB readings at certain distances, and so on.

    Real, seasoned pros are used to handling these things and know the "drill", but as Jazzdogg posts it won't be inexpensive. Ask lots of questions, cheaper probably isn't better.

    You won't have a chance to make a "first impression" if you get shut down before you play a note! ;)
  10. aztomr

    aztomr Guest

    Oct 5, 2010
    Thanks Ed. We're meeting with the organizers on Sunday and will discuss the need for them to provide sufficient PA, hopefully, they'll agree.:bassist:
  11. Here are a few other things to bring up:

    1. It's not just PA, it's power and lights and staging and security, all of which are mandatory for an event of this size
    2. With an event this large you really need a written contract between you (the band) and the organizers. There are too many liability issues at stake.
    3. Require the organizers to show you their proof of insurance for the event. Don't play an event of that size if the organizers have not obtained insurance for the event.
  12. boogie8008


    Nov 18, 2008
    Denver CO
    +1 to the liability issues. Usually gigs this big are handled by the promotor not the band. If they are trying to pass the PA off on you imagine what they could pass off if something goes wrong. edbass's comment was dead on, Sugarland just showed up to play, but they are still involved in litigation for their role in that tragedy. They have been cited for inadequate emergency plans, do you guys have an emergency plan? I dont mean to crap on your parade, a big gig like this can be a big deal, just dont let it get out of hand.
  13. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    We have played a couple of shows this size. The sound company doesn't just do the huge PA (usually some J arrays hanging off of the stage rigging, and a huge amount of sub cabinets, but they provide the entire stage, side fills, stage monitors, a huge generator to run it all off of, and so much more. This costs thousands a day, but it's the only way to do a bigger event like that.
    All of the non-equipment parts of the show are what will get you as well. Make sure you talk to the fire marshall. That position has really caused some headaches for us in the past, at both small and really large shows. Spaces are only permitted to have a certain number of people, stages have to be X amount of feet from the sides of buildings, and doorways need to be way more clear of debris than you could possibly expect. Money is sometimes the only way around it if you can't work out a particular problem. Things that make money, cost money, so be prepared.
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    +1 to all of the above and I don't have anything to add except contract for as many FOH watts and subs as you can possibly afford. Even if it means cutting back a little someplace else (monitors and/or lights). It takes a LOT of power and cabs to bring the thump outdoors to a crowd that size and nothing sounds crappier than a band on a big stage, outside, with P.A. that is clearly inadequate to get the sound over.

    And speaking of power... another reason to hire pro's. You'll probably be running off generators and a lot of folks on this forum can tell you horror stories about what a power spike can do to gear.

    Congrats on scoring the headliner spot and have fun on that huge stage!
  15. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    The generator that they brought in for our shows was a big Caterpillar unit running off of diesel. It was a large box mounted to a big trailer. I wouldn't want to know how much it cost to rent that beast. It ran from 7am until dark!
  16. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Or feed it... (diesel well over $4 a gallon U.S. in my neck of the woods).
  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    My thoughts as well. Something here is fishy. If I were in the OP's shoes, this would immediately raise my suspicions. :eyebrow:

    Also makes me wonder about the organizer's real motives behind bumping up the OP's band to headliner status (i.e. perhaps the original headliners weren't willing/able to go way out on a limb like this?).

    No slam against the OP's band, of course, as I've never even heard them play. Just a suggestion that all may not be as it appears on the surface here. As a band - and now the headliners as well - you already have enough on your plate without worrying about hiring a sound company, and all the various legal & logistical obligations that entails. Don't allow your zeal to play at the festival to override your better judgment. :eyebrow:

    Most respondents on this thread are showing you how to step up to the challenge. I'm questioning the premise...

  18. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Last year my band provided production for a multi-band bill, which we headlined. We brought all the P.A. and lights, set it all up and tore it all down. It was on a much much smaller scale (200-300 people), in a small-town city park. The stage was two flatbeds hooked together. That type of thing. But it was still a PITA.

    We got paid a hefty bonus over and above our band fee but considering we were on the grounds from 2:00 on a super-hot July afternoon till 2 the next morning -- plus playing a full-length show -- we earned every penny. I wouldn't even think of tackling the workload -- much less assuming the legal liabilities -- for an outdoor event on the scale the OP describes.
  19. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Following up with MysticMichael's post: My fear is that the OP is going to get left holding the bag. If there's a loss, it's yours. If there's a profit it goes to someone else. 5000 people? Call me cynical, but I bet not.

    Make introductions for the promoters and get out from in the middle of this as soon as possible.

  20. aztomr

    aztomr Guest

    Oct 5, 2010
    Thanks everyone, I won't meet the organizers until Sunday, I've been getting all our info second hand so far. It's a benefit show to (I think) raise money to help veterans. Initially we agreed to play because it was a good cause, it would be great exposure and we were going to get to open for a major act. I'm sketchy on details, but the big name was a PIA and pulled out earlier this week. When we meet the people setting all this up, I'm thinking we need to tell them that we will do what we can to help, but they will need to sort out the sound system themselves, perhaps they already are and I'm getting my second hand info wrong. I'll know more in a few days. Thanks again, you guys are greatly appreciated.:bassist: