Guide to getting and playing better gigs


Outdoor Gigs

Gigging Tips
Band Promotion
Stage Act
Stage Presence
Work the Crowd
Set List
Book it
Survive on Tour
Talent Nights
Band in Trouble
The Frontman
Big Break
Band on a Budget
Band Business
Cancelling a Gig
Touring in Europe
Buzz Factor
Check your Gear
Bad Gigs
Benefit Gigs
Gig Fees
Gig Kit
Gigs that Pay
Gig Attendance
Know your Audience
Lies in Music
Mailing List
Outdoor Gigs
Performance Tips
Tour Preparation
Press Kit
Contracts and Riders
Rules of the Road
Band on the Rocks
Play Safe
Gig Sharing
Solo Gigs
Support Band

Tripping over tent pegs and blundering into barbeques may sound like fun when you get that first lucrative outdoor gig. But beware - those wide open spaces can be less than idyllic for the gigging band.

The first and most important matter is safety. Discard any cables, particularly mains cables, that have any nicks or look generally tatty - damp grass makes an excellent earth. Tighten up all the connections on plugs and distribution boards. And make sure you take (and use) a Residual Current Detector (RCD) - a little box built like a two-way mains plug adaptor. An RCD detects any current leaks to earth, and cuts off the mains supply before (hopefully) you get a nasty dose of electric shock treatment. It's not a total guarantee of safety but it is a step in the right direction. Insist on some form of staging, even if it's just some boards laid on the ground - it's amazing how much earth hum is generated by having to stand your gear on that aforementioned damp grass.

Try to find out even before you accept the gig what sort of power supply you'll have. Will the organisers be providing mains electricity, or will a generator be used? If the latter, check that it will provide enough current to meet your requirements. As a rough guideline, a 1K rig will draw something like five amps at full price. It's also worth asking if there's going to be adequate earthing - there's not much you can do if there isn't, but you may just stimulate the organiser into checking with his/her electrical bods. You'll almost certainly need a mains filter if you use any computer-based equipment on generator power.

You'll need more poke from your kit in the open than you do inside - the sound literally disappears into thin air. You may already have loads of headroom on your gear, but if you're already pushing it to the limit indoors, then you should consider begging, borrowing or even hiring a more powerful system.

Even on the sunniest and driest days, damp can be a real problem in marquees, so be sure to put your mains distribution boards in polythene bags - better to use bin bags than body bags. And it may be well worth making a call to your insurance broker (assuming of course that you do insure your gear) to see if your equipment is covered for outside gigs-before, rather than after, it's gone up in smoke.

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