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Playing outside in freezing weather

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Baird6869, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Hey folks!

    I have an outdoor gig tonight right near a lake (about 100 feet away) and it will likely be very windy and in the high 40s or low 50s (about 10C).

    What do you do and wear when you have gigs like this.

    Not wanting to sould like a wuss, but I am expecting my hands to be a bit on the cold side.

  2. I probably wouldn't do an outdoor gig like that if it's that cold...so I can't offer a lot of advice. I'd probably make sure to wear a hat, and some kind of thick sweater or longsleeve jacket that is still comfortable to play in. As for your hands, you'll probably just want to have some lotion or vaseline on hand so they don't chap up too much.
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    You can play wearing a motorcycle glove (thin and tight leather), even on your fretting hand. (It does change the feel somewhat, but not nearly as badly as numb fingers.) Bring a spare and a woman's hair dryer (one of the hand-held ones, natch) and you can periodically change gloves between songs, warming the new ones before you put them on by blowing air into them with the hair dryer.

    By the way, avoiding finger numbness has a lot to do with keeping your core temperature up, not just keeping your hands covered. Wear a hat and warm clothes, and move around a lot.

    Space heaters w/ fans might also be tempting, but these suck up power; so it's wise to have the sound tech make sure there's enough juice to go around before switching those on.
  4. +167856746 To what was already said, I would make sure to not wear a jacket/coat with buttons or a zipper-some can damage the finish on the back of your bass.
  5. Tenma4


    Jan 26, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    Definitely keep the core temperature up. Wear layers. I suggest a hat or cap too. You can always take it off if you get too warm.

    A few months ago my band played a show outdoors that reached a high of 40 with strong steady winds (blowing mic stands over), and an unsheltered stage. I did the above. I was comfy except my chilled ears and fingers. My fingers didn't mind until a while after the show. The ahem...cool part was I could pull off stuff with my plucking fingers that was normally not possible for me. It's amazing what you can play when you can't feel a thing!

    I'd play a show like that again. In fact, I think I prefer them to unsheltered shows in the blazing summer sun.
  6. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    Along the lines of core temperature, get your blood pumping. Do a little jog in place. Blood circulation is key.
  7. anesthetist


    Nov 25, 2006
    10 C?....shorts!

    you should be used to cold weather living in toronto shouldn't you?

    just kidding!

    +1 to all of whats been suggested above, i don't think you'll need gloves during the gig, but it could be a good thing before the gig. just keep warm before the gig and take of excess clothing just before you walk on and you should be ok, 10 celsius is not that cold though.
  8. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    +1 on everything.

    I`ve had some "cold" gigs and tried different solutions:
    - Warming up (jogging, running, jumping, etc).
    - Wear thick gloves before playing
    - Drink a bit (just a bit) of alcohol to warm up my blood
    - All of the above combined

    Your hands take the worst part, since you`ll naturally wear clothes according to the situation, but hands tend to warm up slower.

    Just my 3 cents (inflation and tax included)
  9. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Here in Texas we don't get freezing cold gigs in August...the club owners are to cheap to turn the air conditioning down that far. :D

    Right now it's 32C, which is unusually cool. Last week it spiked at 40C. I didn't wear gloves.
  10. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    I really wish I had that problem. Down here in Georgia...I need to worry more about staying hydrated than staying warm!

    But I have played in cold weather before (our rehearsal spot is pretty open to the elements, and believe it or not, it does get cold here in the winter). I'd recommend trying to play in fingerless gloves....and keeping your hands warm before you play.
  11. Keep your hands as warm as you can. Wear finger-less gloves or just rub them together a lot.
  12. Suck it up Buttercup! ;) You're giving us Canucks a bad name.
    Seriously though I've played a lot of cold outdoor gigs and the best thing is to layer your clothes. I like to top it of with a hoodie(sp?). They're usually tight around the wrists so they won't interfere with playing.

    If you have lights leave them on. If the winds not bad they can throw a fair amount of heat. You might put one close to each band member if possible. A 500 watt light can get pretty toasty. You can warm your hands up on them as well.

    I don't wear anything on my hands. Once I start playing the fingers seem to warm up in a couple of songs.

    My main worry when playing in cold weather is keeping the axes in tune.
  13. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    coffee or tea helps. warms you up, plus you can keep your hands warm between songs. just make sure you have loo breaks. :)
    wear what you want (i prefer layers, you never know how your body is goin to warm up during a set) but +10000000 on the hat. must wear hat.
  14. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    He's from Canada so probably won't understand "hat".

    Wear a tuque.

  15. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    The gig turned out to be great. A few beers before playing, some warm lights right over my head on stage and lots of jumping around really helped warm me up.

    I started out wearing a sweatshirt over a longsleeve t-shirt but the sweatshirt was off after 2 songs.

    The temp ended up being about 8C (mid 40's) but there wasn't much wind.

    It was funny to see my drummer drinking hot chocolate though.:rollno:
  16. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Use a little propane camping heater at the base of your mic stand. you can warm up your hands between songs. They throw some decent heat.
  17. ahkiatt


    Sep 30, 2006
    Surgical gloves. There's still feeling. And it keeps your hand warm enough.
  18. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I'd have played that gig in shorts and a wife-beater...I can't stand heat, I much prefer cold. :)
  19. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    My record is about -5-10 deg C. That was kinda hard. It was a gig with a roxette project and we did "the look" that has a bassline of only 16ths notes throughout the song. I've got pretty slow fingers so it's difficult for me to play in ambient temperature as well. The key is to keep the fingers warm at all times at least a half an hour in beforehand. On this particular gig, which I managed to play somewhat fine despite the temperature, I wore a glove on my left hand and on the right hand another one that I had cut up to be able to pluck with my fingertips as usually.

    We didn't use any big PAR lamps on this as it was a daytime gig (and we didn't think about this either), but I could see they could be very useful in keeping your hands warm. Also some kind of infrared heaters could be helpful.
  20. war_n_peace


    Aug 9, 2006
    Also make sure you let your bass adjust to the temperature
    in the case.

    If you go from warm to real cold it can affect the instrument.
    (finish cracks,etc.)

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