Festivals, farmers’ markets, garden parties, weddings and sporting events, whether you’re playing under the hot sun or a hazy moon, summertime is prime for outdoor gigs. Unlike the more temperate (climate controlled) indoor venues, there are additional considerations to keep both your body and instrument in prime condition while playing on hot summer days. We’ve put together a quick list of the 5 most essential tips for outdoor summer gigs. Read to the end and enter to win a limited-edition Musicnotes.com Contigo™ reusable water bottle and cool t-shirt!
Proper hydration is essential year-round, but it becomes exceptionally more difficult to maintain hydration when excessive heat is factored in. Water makes up 2/3 of our bodies, and dehydration can lead to dangerous conditions, including cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Be sure to drink ample water the day and hours before you head out to a summer gig, to avoid dehydration symptoms like dry mouth, headache and muscle soreness. Then, continuously replenish fluids lost throughout the event by keeping a bottle of water handy at all times. A good rule of thumb is consuming 12 oz every half hour. (We suggest a stylish, quality Musicnotes.com Contigo™ reusable model, which you can win at the end of this post!) Avoid caffeine both before and during your performance and pay careful attention to signs of sever dehydration included but not limited to profuse perspiration, convulsions/chills, dizziness and upset stomach, all of which signal an emergency medical situation.
2. Stay Shady
Check out your gig location beforehand, and ask the organizer exactly where you’ll be setting up. If possible, try to secure a location under a gazebo, overhang or park shelter. If that’s not a possibility, consider bringing a pop-up tent or even an umbrella for between sets. Not only can excessive direct sun damage your skin and cause you to lose hydration quicker, it can detune instruments and bake electronic gear.
Another big instrument no-no? Don’t store you instruments in your car during the summer, as extreme heat can fatigue wood and cause expansion/contraction of metal. Treat your instrument as you would another passenger. If it’s too hot to leave a person in the car, it’s too hot for your musical instrument.
3. Dress the Part
Leave the 3-piece suit or all-black getup at home, light colors and breathable fabrics are essential for helping you keep cool during summer gigs. If it’s a formal event, you can’t go wrong with a white cotton button up and dress pants. More casual events could call for something as simple as a t-shirt and nice shorts or a sundress.
And don’t forget to keep the sun off your face, and cover up any crazy wind-blown or humidity-frizzed hair, with a Musicnotes.com baseball cap.
4. Take Breaks
Even the most expert summer gigging musicians will feel the effects of a long show in hot weather. Your voice and body will wear down more quickly in heat and humidity, think strained vocal cords and sore muscles, so it’s incredibly important to take adequate breaks. Plus, since you’ll be drinking so much water, you’ll need to leave time for bathroom stops.
5. Plan Ahead
Depending on where you live, inclement summer weather can be quite unpredictable. When a concert attendee gets caught in an impromptu summer storm, they can immediately seek shelter. However, musicians have themselves, their instruments and all their gear to think about. You don’t want to get caught off-guard or risk combining electrical equipment and rain water. If there’s a chance of rain, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re setting up in an alternate indoor location or, at the very least, under the shelter of a tent. Scrambling to cover your gear is stressful and can ruin a fun summer gig pretty quickly.
There you have it! These tips may seem like common sense, but you can never be too prepared, too safe or too hydrated when it comes to summer gigs. Do you have any cautionary tales or additional tips to share with your fellow musicians? Enter to win a Musicnotes water bottle and t-shirt simply by leaving your tale or tip in the comments section below. Three winners will be chosen randomly and notified via email on July 25th. (Limit one entry per person.)
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