Seeking advice for outdoor gig

BostonTeleGuy

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I think those amps will be fine for this kind of gig. Id put the amps on chairs or boxes. I dont know what kind of tuner you have but test if you can see the display in full sun. Some of them are impossible to see
On a sunny day. Some really easy to sing tunes that people often like wagon wheel, Brown eyed Girl, yellow Submarine... good luck this will be fun.
 

Siegeld

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Bring some t-shirts to give away. Best if custom made with band's name and web address if you have it. (these are cheap if you have lead time and outsource to Asia) Tie each one up in a rubber band. Throw one or two into the crowd and watch how people go for them. Then after they have been opened and the recipient shows it off. Hold one up in the air to get attention and throw it in the pool. You might just end up with an impromotu wet-t shirt contest.
 

CVS54

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I have played at lot outdoors for usually about 30 people on average. I use a Fishman Loudbox Artist for my acoustic guitars and a JBL EON 1 for vocals. For electric guitar, I typically use a tube amp that is about 15 watts max (many times a Fender Blues Jr). If you are playing for 50 people, and they are all talking, my guess is that you can get by with your rig, but if you can get a seperate powered speaker for your vocals, I would do it. A couple of other "lessons learned". Try to make sure your equipment is out of the sun. I usually bring some white trash bags to put over my pedals / amps when I am not playing. I have been under tarps at the end of the day when sun angle is lower and they don't help as much with keeping the sun off of your gear. Tarps work better in midday sun when the sun is directly overhead. When you take breaks turn your eqipment off. I had a powered speaker stop dead in its tracks in the middle of a song because of overheating. Had to let it cool off for 5+ minutes before resuming. If it is hot out (and humid) , expect your hands to get clamy and sweaty. If you play any really fast licks, you may have to forget them at a hot gig. Consider bringing some hand wipes to keep your fingers clean. One time in the middle of a song, a fog bank rolled in the the temprature dropped 5-10 degrees in less than a minute, and all 6 strings went way out of tune. Had to stop the song dead in its tracks 😊. Other have mentioned tuners that you can actually see in bright daylight. A must! Not sure what you are doing for electrical outlets, but maybe bring a very long heavy duty extension chord, just in case. I always use a trip lite power conditioner as well. Bring sunscreen if there is any chance you will be in the sun in June, even if it is cool out.

With all that said, I really enjoy playing outdoors, if the weather cooperates. I think the quality of the sound is for the most part a lot better than what you hear inside at many small clubs. Enjoy your gig.
 

RCinMempho

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Maryville, TN
Less equipment that you are used to is the way to go.

Plus one on having drinks and towels within reach.

A stupid, short little fanfare to introduce your emcee is a nice touch. Maybe something similar when the winners come up to get their prize. The more fun you introduce the more likely you'll be doing this again. In that vein something like the Hokey Pokey or Chicken Dance would probably go big if you have an assortment of ages.
 

dspellman1

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Keep it simple. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunblock. 50 people at a pool party isn't a major gig.
Bikinis in our neck of the woods are essentially a bit of butt floss and three square inches of material. Don't stare.

You need to be at least as good as these guys, who did their first gig (2010) in a pizza parlor that kept the TVs on during the performance. They picked the name "Foxes and Fossils" (old guys and young girls) just before they went on. They were a big hit here and went on to famous gigs such as the back porch of Twisted Tacos.

 
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Zoot Zoot

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UK
GOLF UMBRELLAS - can be taped/tied into place to keep the weather off your amps/power leads.
BRIGHT & LOUD CLOTHES - at least you can look happy no matter what :)
 

BarnKat

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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.
Don't eat the chili dogs and soda, bring something decent for yourself and your buddy.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Do NOT give the audience percussion devices of any kind. Little 3 yr old kids start shaking those things off the beat, and it turns into a sh&t show.

What if we give them really simple, very quiet shakers that only they will be able to hear? 😜
If you're going to do these very often, get a little PA. My Bose compact sounds way better than any Fishman amp with acoustics direct into it.

If we (or I) do start doing this often I will get definitely buy something better.

I have no doubt that a Bose system or even a small mixer and powered FRFR speaker would be better, but that’s what we have ATM. I used to have a powered Mackie mixer and PA speakers with stands, that I wasn’t using.

I picked up the mini because it was too cheap to pass up on at a pawn shop, and my buddy had one and it’s quite decent for what it is.

I can run my electric through my pedalboard through my PA and it sounds really really good. Less to carry, sounds way better. Good luck!

I’m not sure if I am going to bring an electric amp or use the AIB with the Mini. I will probably bring an electric amp to make it easier for me to get a good sound while also reserving as much of the Mini’s watts for vocals.
As far as percussion for the audience, I definitely plan to save that kind of thing for children’s birthday parties, or senior living facility gigs only.

I’m actually thinking it might be a good idea to have our area sort of roped off, to keep people from encroaching on our space. Both for reasons of contagion, and just to keep idiots from thinking “Karaoke!” and slobbering all over our mics during a bathroom break!

This is just a one off volunteer gig. My neighbor is part of the home owners association in some capacity, and asked if we would play. I warned her that we are far from professionals, but she doesn’t seem to care! LOL!

She did mention wanting to do more of these “meet and greet” things in the future. She said they used to do them before the “thing that cannot be mentioned here”…

She gave me the impression she might want us to play a future similar event this fall, but we’ll see. We might hate it, and she hasn’t actually even heard us play yet! 😜
 

atoms

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Chicago
Gobble 4 chili dogs with extra cheese and chug 3 beers before you go up.
Life is just a non-stop learning experience. Perhaps it is a regional difference or something, but I always followed the n+1 rule for determining the chili dog to beer ratio (so, 3 chili dogs and 4 beers). Have I had it backwards all these years? I also reckon that i may be too old to change, so perhaps I don't want to know.
 

cholula69

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Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Posts
14
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Switzerland
I played a lot of outdoor shows before COVID for the school where I am teaching. Like others have said, keep stuff off the ground as much as possible. Be sure to hydrate and have a dry towel (or two) on hand. I sweat a lot and that saved me. I only used a booster and an eq to get my tone and that was about it. Yes, long extension cords.

We ran everything directly into a cheap board that comes out through a very inexpensive 2 speaker PA system and we got plenty of volume. We played very family-friendly, easy songs such as Weezer, some CCR, Neil Young type material. Very easy to learn and if you somehow manage to get off it's easy to get right back in.

It's all good fun.
 

noname_dragon

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North east coast
Before the big day, set up all your gear just like you plan to use it, and play thru your entire repertoire to work out any bugs in your gear and music.
Keep your tuners inline and check them every few songs.
Keep with mostly upbeat material and don't screw around between songs.
You don't need to be LOUD. Folks who want to be near you and listen will be there.
Conversely, don't be offended if you find that you are background music and are largely ignored.
Have fun and be prepared as best you can.
 

MuggleFingers

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Texas, USA
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.
If there is any way to get a small PA, you need one. Can you and your buddy set up and play through the minis? Yes. Do you want to do that even with such a small outdoor setting? No. At the very least, run the amps out to a couple of 15” 600-1200 powered speakers. You’ll 100% need more volume than the amps alone will provide.
Just my opinion.
It’ll be yours too, after you play this show without them. But, yes you can do it. You’ll only do it once. It’s hard enough to play in that setting, why make it harder.
 

Telebra

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Get to the gig early so you can deal with the inevitable issues that you couldn't foresee. Set up, do a quick sound check (Don't play all your songs trying to impress those two cute college girls). Freshen up, grab some grub if you're the kind that likes to eat before a gig. Don't get drunk until end of last set. All the musical stuff should be second nature, just play and have fun. Do NOT overthink it.



download.jpg
 

JustABluesGuy

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Sep 2, 2016
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Somewhere
If there is any way to get a small PA, you need one. Can you and your buddy set up and play through the minis? Yes. Do you want to do that even with such a small outdoor setting? No. At the very least, run the amps out to a couple of 15” 600-1200 powered speakers. You’ll 100% need more volume than the amps alone will provide.
Just my opinion.
It’ll be yours too, after you play this show without them. But, yes you can do it. You’ll only do it once. It’s hard enough to play in that setting, why make it harder.
Thanks, but it’s a charity event and we don’t have a PA. They are taking donations though.
 

Ronzo

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Rather that having the area roped off, I suggest that one of you be present in your designated area at all times. Don’t leave the area unattended.

IMO: Here are the things you need to be certain of, with plans in place:
- Weather, and how to protect yourselves and your equipment from it.
- AC power and distribution system. Bring cables, power strips/conditioners to cover every need.
- A reasonably sized compact PA system. I lean towards two 2-way PA powered speakers on stands and an inexpensive decent small mixer on a small folding table. I use a Behringer Xenyx 1202FX Mixer with Effects - under $100 new. Plus mics for each vocalist and extra mic cables and mixer-to-speaker cables.
- Amps and instruments as needed. If you and your partner have DI boxes (Behringer GDI21, Joyo American Sound, etc.) that you could run through the PA, it would be a good time to consider using them and keeping your amps in the car in reserve. If the DI boxes accept phantom power and your mixer provides it, it’ll reduce power cable clutter.

Without knowing what devices you have in your arsenal, I have no specific recommendations other than to keep your PA and setup as simple as possible.
 




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