Performing outdoors can be an exhilarating and eventful experience. With summer here (sort of), you may be involved in more and more outdoor concerts. Those of you who have performed outdoors have already learned there are a few extra variables you must deal with during the concert such as sun, rain and wind.
Dealing with the sun is as simple as applying your sunscreen 1/2 hour prior to the performance. This is not only the recommendation of the sunscreen manufacturers, it has a practical side to it; you don’t get your instrument all gooey. Another method for dealing with the sun is to wear a hat. Obviously, this would have to be cleared with your conductor, but many bands have adopted an outdoor concert uniform that includes a hat. If your group has not adopted an outdoor uniform, make the suggestion at the next meeting. You should also get a decent pair of sunglasses (easier to see the music and the conductor).
The rain tends to make your instrument, music, and you wet. Try to find a location that has some form of cover such as a pagoda, tent, covered deck, etc….
The wind makes any outdoor concert a very exciting event, especially for the performers. Music blows away, stands blow over, gongs blow over into your poor conductor’s car (but it just adds character to the car anyway)…. Aside from memorizing all of your music, there are a few very low-tech solutions to help resolve these issues:
•Use a heavier, more sturdy stand.
•Spread out the base of your stand as far as possible (the wider the base, the more steady the stand).
•If your stand has 3 legs, aim 1 leg in the direction the wind is blowing (this makes it tougher for the prevailing wind to blow your stand over).
•Place at least one foot on the base of the stand (helps to keep it from tipping) during the performance.
•Bring lots of clothes pins to fasten your music to these solid, sturdy stands (this makes transitions between pieces a little longer, but at least your music will be on the stand instead of flying around the park at high altitudes).
•A large piece of cardboard (to attach your music to) or plexi-glass to lay over your music, can also be helpful on a windy day.
•If all else fails (we have done this), have supporting cast (i.e. family members, friends, etc…) sit down between your stands to hold them in place.
One final consideration is seating. If you have ever stood (or stood with someone) on soft ground wearing high heels, you may recall having a sinking feeling. The same is true for the legs of chairs. Try to use chairs with bars across the bottom if you cannot find a solid surface to set your chairs on.