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.
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.
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.
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.
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.