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Preparing for post-Covid outdoor gigs


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We thought some of you might be interested in the thought process we've just been through.

@Silvia Bluejay and I get all the gigs for the bands I play in, and the early feedback from contacting (the surviving) landlords is that carefully-organised outdoor gigs are still the most likely things to be on offer after 12th April and running through until 21st June. 

If pubs and punters like those gigs enough, many pubs may well continue doing them while the weather stays warm, so until - say - late September.

The problem is of course that this is England. If we agree to play on a Saturday afternoon in the beer garden or car park, and on Friday afternoon the weather forecast is '40% chance of rain' or something, what do we do? Cancel because even a brief shower will wreck our equipment? 

So we've punted £104 on a waterproof gazebo. The thinking is NOT that we will put it up for all outdoor gigs, more that possession of that gazebo means that we can commit to play in anything short of heavy rain, and if there's heavy rain then the pub will cancel the gig anyway.

I have a couple of acres of woodland in the Chilterns with a lock-up hut and a petrol generator, so Silvie and I went up there this afternoon to test out the idea.

This is the first in an occasional series of informative and entertaining short films entitled Educate Your Band ...

 

 

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Good solution. I mixed FOH under similar gazebos many times back in the day. The only snag (assuming you have sides to keep the non-vertical rain out) is that eventually a very fine mist starts to come through the “canvas” so having some poly sheets to cover the electronics is wise.

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Ah, the jazz group I play in may be one step ahead of you there, Jack, with our own weather-covering. Only thing is, it does kinda limit us to where we can actually play any gigs! 

IMG_6888.thumb.jpg.cebffb3265069ab4d465d592ea38286b.jpg

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9 hours ago, Stingray5 said:

Ah, the jazz group I play in may be one step ahead of you there, Jack, with our own weather-covering. Only thing is, it does kinda limit us to where we can actually play any gigs! 

The other limiting factor is that you forgot your bass!

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I have played in shelters like this a number of times, some with walls and some with just a roof. The one in the photo below belonged to the venue and would be OK in the rain but all of these shelters are VERY tricky in the wind. In the photo we are on a street that has wind tunnel effect and had a few nervous moments since there was no way to use pegs into the ground to secure the rig. I have seen concrete blocks  used to tie them down but in a big wind nothing is completely safe. 

So would I recommend using one...yes, but be aware of the wind and have it very securely fastened down. This is particularly important on pavement or out in a field such as you may find at a festival. Be aware also that there is great variation in the quality of these shelters, many are very flimsy, it would pay to buy a heavy duty unit. Been there, done that.🙂

20190705_195233_HDR_resized_2.jpg

Edited by Staggering on
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1 hour ago, Staggering on said:

I have played in shelters like this a number of times, some with walls and some with just a roof. The one in the photo below belonged to the venue and would be OK in the rain but all of these shelters are VERY tricky in the wind. In the photo we are on a street that has wind tunnel effect and had a few nervous moments since there was no way to use pegs into the ground to secure the rig. I have seen concrete blocks  used to tie them down but in a big wind nothing is completely safe. 

 

We played a couple of gigs last year in pub carparks where the pub's marquee was quite literally trying to achieve lift-off in the middle of a song ... cue much hilarity.

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May 2018 we played outside a pub under a gazebo with actual thunder and lightning through part of the gig. Which would have been cool if we were a metal band and had proper outdoor electrical supply. 

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14 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

 

 

Those "pop up" gazebos are way better than the old style with poles and connectors. Mine's not properly waterproof, but it is now 14 years old.

 

Cool number plate BTW 😎

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40 minutes ago, pete.young said:

2Kg diving weights would fit in those pockets. You'd get 2 or maybe 3 in each one.

They would help but in any kind of breeze these shelters turn into a combination sail, parachute and umbrella and need serious weight or rigging to stay in place, I've had some "interesting" experiences playing in these things. Never had one completely take off but have had to stop mid song a few times to prevent that from happening, pretty scary with a lot of expensive instruments and gear around. 🙁 OTOH when properly set up they are great.

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1 hour ago, taunton-hobbit said:

I'm looking at using something like this over my car for car boot sales - is it possible to tether to the car (estate back open as sales area) ?

😎

I'm sure something could be kludged together, but not sure why you'd want to attach it to the car? If it's the whole blowing-away-in-the-wind-thing and you've got your car right there, four breezeblocks (eight if you're particularly worried) would be the easy solution.

 

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58 minutes ago, pete.young said:

2Kg diving weights would fit in those pockets. You'd get 2 or maybe 3 in each one.

I was actually looking at sash window weights ... much the same approach.

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Several of the pubs I'm talking to will be erecting gazebos / pergolas / marquees for the use of the audience.

Same situation applies, in that these will all be shower-proof at best but adequate for that. In the event of it raining heavily then the gig's off anyway so it doesn't matter.

I see little point in preparing for six months of outside giggerey in England by saying "I'll only play if the sun is shining, the temperature is over 20C, and the bar staff are wearing bikinis - including the girls".

 

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4 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

We played a couple of gigs last year in pub carparks where the pub's marquee was quite literally trying to achieve lift-off in the middle of a song ... cue much hilarity.

This is true, I was at one of them 🤣

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