Seeking advice for outdoor gig

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
3,920
Location
Somewhere
Hi all, I was asked recently if a buddy of mine and I would be willing to play an outdoor “meet and greet” gig for our neighborhood homeowner’s association in early June. The event will run from 4 till 6 and they are serving chili dogs and sodas, and there is going to be a raffle as well.



We’ve been putting together a duo act with my buddy on acoustic and lead vocals, and myself on electric and backing vocals. We both have Fishman Loudbox Minis (60 watts) that we use for guitar and vocals. At the moment I’m planning to use my California Sound Amp in box run into my Fishman just to have less to bring, and to keep things simple, but I could, (and might) bring an electric amp to allow for more volume and a bit better guitar tone.



It’s not going to be a huge event (they’re expecting 50 people max) so we won’t need stadium filling volume, but it WILL be outside.



The organizer did say that they were going to have a raffle, but didn’t mention a PA and I get the impression it’s a fairly low budget affair.



She has offered us a tarp covering to protect against the southern Texas June sun, as well as any possible rain.



Any tips for a successful show would be appreciated, since neither of us have done any outdoor shows. It’s a neighborhood pool party, so we’ll be careful to keep things PG-13.



Any tips, ideas, warnings, or even stories about your past outdoor gigs are welcome. Also any suggestions for easy to learn and play but popular songs would be great as well. We’re old guys, but wouldn’t mind trying to play a few things that younger folks might enjoy, as long as they aren’t too difficult. We aren’t pros. We have both performed for others in past, but just a couple of private parties for friends. We usually just headline my family room, and we are doing this on a volunteer basis.



Share your outdoor gig tips, issues, successes, failures or just funny gig stories. I don’t even care if they are helpful tips, though than would be nice. I always get something useful from people posts, even if it’s just what NOT to do, so please share!



Thanks in advance.
 

schmee

Telefied
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Posts
20,144
Location
northwest
Remember a long extension cord.
Use the Mini's.
You may want them up on a stand or chair if using them for vocals too. It's not the best vocal arrangement, due to potential feedback with the amp behind you and the microphone on and if the amp is low down it doesn't project well. Also a potential issue with acoustic guitar feeding back/resonating..... walking a fine line volume wise.
Sound disappears readily outdoors compared with in a room. You will never be too loud with mini's outdoors.
It will work though, just may take some setup time.
 

Gnometowner

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 1, 2022
Posts
269
Age
69
Location
Stillwater Oklahoma
Amps at least 3ft off the deck
I make set list in 3 song genre rotation for an event with a mixed demographic
Learn something funny or catchy lyrics people can sing along with. One of the funniest we ever did was "Silvia's Mother" by Dr. Hook, the crowd singing "and the operator said to deposit 40 cent more, for the next 3 minutes"
And "Smoke that cigarette" always a fun song for a crowd like that, Jr Browns "Wanted by the police and my wife thinks you are dead" is another fun song
 

Peegoo

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Posts
12,884
Location
Beast of Bourbon
Play with your backs to a wall, garage door, etc. A single 15A circuit will be plenty of power.

It's a "wallpaper gig" (social event--not a music show) so volume level can be really low. Folks that want to enjoy the music can gather around. Those that don't will be able to hear themselves talk.

Bring a backup for everything if you can.

Bring a box of large trash bags and a roll of duct tape to quickly cover your gear (speakers, etc.) in the event of rain.

Before you start, give the organizer a chance to come up to the mic and welcome everyone.

Have fun!
 

Ron R

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Posts
5,195
Age
56
Location
Raleigh, NC
Definitely need the tarp/tent/shelter. Agreed on the long extension cord, but if you have it, I would also recommend a power conditioner as well.
As for volume, sounds like you guys don't use a PA per se, so I would be more concerned with making sure tthe volume is well balanced between the 2 of you than having more volume individually.
 

stormsedge

Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Posts
6,663
Location
E. Tennessee, USA
outdoor gig tips

I think what you have outlined should work well for the size of affair described. I regularly played single and duo acoustic, no amplification, for groups of 20-40 with no issues. I like to let my guitar acclimate an hour or so in the case outside before anything serious.

I always wear a polywicking t shirt under either a t-shirt or a regular shirt in the heat to keep the sweat somewhat contained. It will not overheat you.

Bugs around here an issue in the summer time...maybe not in S.TX, but in any event, I've used the Repel Lemon-Eucalyptus (non-deet) stuff for years with no ill effect to my guitars (although the aromatic scent is an acquired taste, and may cause adoring fans to only seek autographs).
 

SRHmusic

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Posts
1,711
Location
North Carolina, USA
That will be fun. Great thing to do. Some suggestions (and some repeats from others).
#1 keep an eye on the weather radar if there's any chance of rain at all.
#2 bring twice the number of outdoor extension cords and tees/splitters or power strips you think you need. And spare cables, a spare stand, mic, picks, strings, etc. Check your gear thoroughly the night before.
#3 bring a hat, and double check/ insist on a canopy or roof if you're out in the open.
#4 bring small face/hand towels, and water
#5 a few days or more before the gig, set up and check your full system/rig as you plan to use it, and have a friend along to listen and help. You can easily get feedback with any speakers behind you and the acoustic guitar and mics. Ideally the main speakers are beside and further in front facing out. You need to make sure you can hear yourself, though, and may need to rely on 'spill' from the main speakers to hear yourself. (This step is important since it sounds like you've not tried this out before. )
#6 try to have a friend at the gig willing to walk around, listen and suggest or even make adjustments when you are playing.
#7 be aware that guitar cases are not waterproof, and water will seep around the edges of the lids and pool inside. (Ask me how I know.) Have a good rain plan: quickly shut the power off, and get the guitars in cases then inside or in a car ASAP. And keep an eye on the weather radar!

(Our band had many outdoor gigs in the last two years. I love them when the weather is good!)
 

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
3,920
Location
Somewhere
Do either of you have any powered speakers? When my grandson comes over, he uses my acoustasonic jr dsp and we hook up my JBL Eon's using the line out. It sounds pretty good for guitar and mike.....
No powered speakers unfortunately.
 

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
3,920
Location
Somewhere
Keep everything off the ground as much as possible. Water has a tendency to move if there's heavy rain. Take more AC extension cables than you think you need. And most importantly, be weather aware, like Keith Richards said, "When you play an outdoor gig, God is in the band".
Thanks! They have an alternative date in case of rain, but rain often sneaks up around here as warm moist air moves in from the gulf.
 

bettyseldest

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 13, 2011
Posts
3,380
Location
UK
This is the smallest outdoor gig I've done as a band. It was part of the Queens 60th Jubilee festival ten years ago. We played four gigs that weekend, all outdoors. Before us they had solo acts and dancers etc. We were the only band on the bill. The pub told us that their electrical supply had an earth leakage trip. I didn't doubt them, but still installed my own just before my gear to be on the safe side. You will need shelter. We ran the bass into a 50w 1x10" combo. the drummer played with brushes or rods . Two guitars using Joyo American Sound and AC Tone as pre-amps, and three mikes through a small 8 channel mixer, then into a pair of Behringer B205Ds mounted on mike stands. We played for around an hour to an audience of between 30 and 80 depending on how heavy it rained. Once we had the sound sorted I put a bin bag over each of the speakers and taped it in place. You would be surprised how little difference the bag made to the sound level or tone. The mixer sat in an open bin bag, ready to pull the top over should the wind change or something catastrophic happen to the gazebo. We didn't use monitors of any kind, but the levels are relatively low and being confined in a small space could hear ourselves singing.

I have done outdoor duo party gigs with a guitar and microphone into each of the B205Ds. Your Fishman Minis will likely give you the same sort of result.

1649783821929.png


1649784644551.png
 

Mikecito

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Posts
205
Age
52
Location
Bellingham WA
Finger ease or something similar to keep your strings slippery. Humidity and outside temps can make your strings feel very sticky and hard to play. I like to use my fishman artist for just vocals and a separate small amp for the electric guitar when I have these types of gigs. Easier to get a better/fuller sound without a PA. Have fun!
 

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,056
Location
God's Country
Gobble 4 chili dogs with extra cheese and chug 3 beers before you go up.
And make sure you have a trash can within arm's length.
That way you can avoid vomiting into your soundhole. Ruins your tone.
And if you're singing, don't forget to spray your lips and tongue with RAID in case a bug flies in.

Seriously, I'd do like Peegoo said and bring some trash bags to cover any gear that might be damaged by rain.
With a smallish audience, you may be able to get away without a lot of amplification.
And wear a hat to protect your scalp from Mr. Sun (and Mr. Rain if he shows up).
Whatever you do, keep sunscreen and bug juice OFF your fingers and strings and guitar in general.

And do "The Perfect Country Song," by Steve Goodman (also David Allen Coe). Folks loves it.
 

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
3,920
Location
Somewhere
Hula hoops for the kids. A duo can be livened up if one of you can do a shaker or tambourine, too.

I wouldn’t mind picking up some inexpensive percussion instruments to get the audience involved as well.

We’re just getting our vocals together, so us trying to adding tamborine or anything else might just make us worse! I was surprised how hard playing lead guitar while also singing backing vocals can be.

I’m getting better, but it didn’t come nearly as naturally as I though it would.
 




Top