Seeking advice for outdoor gig

JustABluesGuy

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My experience with HOA events is that attendance will be low unless some big issue is roiling the neighborhood. The attendance will peak early, the HOA president will say a few words, a few groups will cluster to visit, and people will eat their hot dogs and go home, take their kids to soccer practice, etc., unless the raffle prize is very big.

If a big issue is roiling the neighborhood--usually VRBOs and Airbnbs--then people will just be interested in that.

Just try to have fun playing and singing.
The plan is to have fun and get some experience playing out. We will definitely get some experience, hopefully we will have some fun.

It probably can’t end up too much worse than I already imagine it will be, hopefully it will go much better than I imagine!

Thanks for the tips!
 

JustABluesGuy

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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.

How many watts is the Artist? I was going to use an amp in a box into my Mini, but I think I’m going to bring an electric amp also. Maybe I could then split his signal, running his acoustic through both amps?

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.
If I had one I would definitely use 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.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Do a mini dry run in your yard or someone else’s. Have a feel for how quickly the sound dissipates .
Thanks! We’re working on that. I have a patio home so there’s more open space in my living room that between houses.

The neighbor who asked us to play has a back yard I have been told we can even do a test run at the location itself.
 

Slippery Jack

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Have the gotten an approximate headcount? Is this by invite based on location ? Open to the public. Any adverting to et any idea of how many bodies will show, outdoors, without a pa is greant knowledge to have. The band. Are you fairly well rehearsed? Or, is it going to be one of these types of things?



J/k, but a headcount in advance is very helpful, even out doors. And yeah, definitely do some space recon.

I never look at car crashes because you can't unsee things. Why the hell did I click on that link? Both hysterical and excruciating at the same time.
 

Refugee

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I never look at car crashes because you can't unsee things. Why the hell did I click on that link? Both hysterical and excruciating at the same time.

That has had 3.5 million hits. Total car crash, Trainwreck, whatever you can come up with to imply...

they should name the band, "Atom Smashers!"
 

Ronzo

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I never look at car crashes because you can't unsee things. Why the hell did I click on that link? Both hysterical and excruciating at the same time.
Are those guys even worse than that Norwegian band covering “The Final Countdown” at an outdoor festival?
 

JustABluesGuy

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Our community pool does something similar to this every once in a while. I think it's already been said, but I'd pick out a nice repertoire of nice easy-going tunes (or play your rockin' stuff in a more easy-going fashion) and keep things upbeat but mellow. It doesn't sound like you're intended to be the main attraction, but more of a feature to make the whole thing more enjoyable and interesting.

If you have any flexibility in where you set up go for the shadiest spot, even with a tarp.

I’ve already staked out our spot. It’s close to power, there is a wall behind us and a fence to one side. It has shade and they are going to supply a pop up shade cloth.

I’m going to have to work with my buddy on “toning it down” a bit. He does like to play rock star, so I will have to remind him that we aren’t the main event.
 

JustABluesGuy

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I never look at car crashes because you can't unsee things. Why the hell did I click on that link? Both hysterical and excruciating at the same time.

I’ve watch a lot of band fails (to learn from their mistakes) and this is one of the worst since they all seem old enough to either be better players, or to know better than to perform.

In their defense, maybe they had a terrible sound guy and couldn’t hear themselves.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Having a wall behind you is good advice. Keeps the sound moving in one direction. More focus.

We’re good there. I’ve also decided to bring a separate electric guitar amp to offload some of the work.

Now to figure out where to use the extra watts. I’m thinking I will probably split his acoustic guitar signal and send it to both Minis with each of us using one for vocals. That way the vocals will be hard panned and his acoustic will have a nice wide soundstage.

I will probably set my electric amp up in the middle.
 

JustABluesGuy

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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.

This is a home owners association meet and greet. We aren’t the main attraction, and it will be PG-13.

And 13 will probably be the average age of the kiddies in the pool, so unfortunately a wet T shirt contest probably isn’t in the cards. I DO like your optimism though! 😜
 

JustABluesGuy

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I'm not a fan of the tip jar for this situation. It's your neighbors having fun with you. How much money would you expect to get and will that make some kind of difference in your life? A couple times a year I host neighbors to the park for happy hour. I provide enough drink for everyone to have a couple, and others bring food & drink. Just think of this as you giving some fun to your friends.

edit: If you can think of a good cause which the neighbors might support put a jar for that.

I will ask the organizers if they want us to, but I have no plans to put one out at this event.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Instead of bringing an electric guitar amp... Run a electric amp sim pedal........ design to go into flat mixed sound boards and pa.....you did mention about traveling light...

There will be no PA as far as I know. They are going to be using bullhorn for raffle announcements and such.
 

JustABluesGuy

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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.

We are going to be background noise. It’s a fairly disorganized event. We won’t be MCing the event. They’re planning to use a bullhorn to announce the raffle winners, so they won’t have PA we can tap into, and they won’t be using our mics for their announcements.
 

Leonardocoate

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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.
I played in my brothers wedding ceremony. In the middle of my song the back legs of my chair started sinking into the ground. By the end of the song I was on my back. I didn't miss a beat
 

JustABluesGuy

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I played in my brothers wedding ceremony. In the middle of my song the back legs of my chair started sinking into the ground. By the end of the song I was on my back. I didn't miss a beat
I played in my brothers wedding ceremony. In the middle of my song the back legs of my chair started sinking into the ground. By the end of the song I was on my back. I didn't miss a beat

Too funny. We’re going to setup a makeshift stage of some kind, so our problems are going to be different! 😜
 

rosellem

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Being on the west coast of Florida a tent at least is a must. A towel is also a must as well. +1 on what everyone else said, keep things off the ground, have cover, invest in a really good fan, one or two spare shirts, and to keep things as light as possible (if not running in ears) put two speakers on sticks behind the band and as it will be low volume, feedback shouldn't be much of an issue.

Good luck!
 




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