The Gigging Musician Podcast

The Dangers of Outdoor Gigs

June 07, 2021 Jared Judge
The Gigging Musician Podcast
The Dangers of Outdoor Gigs
Chapters
The Gigging Musician Podcast
The Dangers of Outdoor Gigs
Jun 07, 2021
Jared Judge

In this episode, Jared discusses the dangers of performing outdoor gigs, and share some of his personal stories with things that went wrong when the environment just didn’t cooperate.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Jared discusses the dangers of performing outdoor gigs, and share some of his personal stories with things that went wrong when the environment just didn’t cooperate.

Unknown:

What's up gigging musicians. It's Jared. And today I wanted to chat about indoor gigs versus outdoor gigs. This was a conversation topic that came up in the Gigging Musicians Facebook group that I run. And it's honestly a factor that makes or breaks. Pretty much every gig that we do. I mean, every gig that we do, I'd say is successful now, but it wasn't always that way. I just played a gig yesterday that was supposed to be outdoors. But the weather in Milwaukee is unpredictable, especially in May, you know, one day, it feels like summer and the next we're back in winter. And yesterday, a couple days ago, it was 80 degrees out. But yesterday, it was back down to mid 40s. And the couple who booked us they wanted to do a photo shoot session prior to their wedding for about 30 minutes outdoors. And then they wanted an indoor ceremony. And then they had their cocktail hour plan for outdoors. And, you know, our instruments, we play very expensive instruments. Some of our players have ones that are decades, maybe even 100 years old, I'm not too sure what what their instruments are. But this isn't just string instruments. This is any kind of acoustic or even electric instruments, they're sensitive to temperatures. And, you know, let me just back up even further. Very often, in the early days of Dream City Strings, my my string quartet, I didn't exactly know what I was doing, you know, when we all start our bands. There's no guidebook on how to start and run a gigging group, although I'm trying to change that with what I'm doing with BookLive Pro. But there was no book for me. And so one of the things that came up very early on was outdoor gigs, and how unpredictable they were. And two quick stories before he returned to the yesterday's story. The first one was, there was an outdoor gig booked, way back in the early days, it was like one of our first gigs. And it was a rooftop of a restaurant for a wedding ceremony. And it was in the heat of summer. And at that point, I didn't understand like, we have control over the conditions of our performance. And so I did not know to put in our contracts a temperature clause or a shade clause, because, you know, the thing that happened was, we had to play outdoors in hot sun. And one of the players you know, she was used to a bit more of a controlled performance condition. And after the gig I got an earful from from her, just saying how you know, you're causing me to get skin cancer. And I don't want to play for you if you're going to keep having me play outdoor gigs, which I totally sympathize and empathize for, because you know, I don't want to get sunburned or skin cancer from an outdoor gig. But at the same time, it was just I was so early on in my career of running a string quartet running a gigging group, that it felt very unappreciative. Like there was definitely a more tactful way that they could have chewed me out. But at the same time, I understand but you know, if you're a bandleader, you know, how many times have you felt like that? How many times have you been chewed out by somebody you work with for something that? Are they doing any better? Are they are they helping you solve that problem? But that's kind of the role that we take is as bandleaders. As we step up, and we take on this leadership role, it's even if we're not necessarily thinking that, hey, we're leaders. Well, we are so we subject ourselves to that kind of responsibility, I'd say. So the second story was, you know, I got a little bit wiser about that. And I started to require shade for each of my gigs. And so as we're doing the booking with the couple we talked about, you know, if this is an outdoor gig, we need full shade above our heads. And most couples, we, when they asked like, hey, how do we do that? either. Sometimes the building has an awning next to it, or, but the most common thing is we suggest a 10 by 10 tailgating tent that they can rent, or maybe their venue has it. And I've worked, I still do, I work with several groups who actually own their own tent and they have an add on rental fee kind of a nice little upsell to make more money per gig and also ensure a suitable shady performance condition. Unfortunately, I had this one gig down in Chicago. This was like the second year of playing, running the string quartet. The gig was outdoors in again in the middle of like July or August the hottest part of the year. And it was it was shady because we had a tent now, but unfortunately, one of the violinists this. So we had the shade clause in our contract, but not the temperature clause in the contract. And so Don't know the temperatures climbed pretty high. And one of the violin players at this gig actually had his instrument, crack a little bit because the temperature was so extreme. And that was, you know, very unfortunate, I felt so bad for him. And, you know, we helped figure out the situation. But unfortunately, like for that gig, he was decommissioned from that gig, he couldn't play with a cracked instrument. And then, you know, he had to take care of all the repairs and everything. And I'm sure he felt pretty crummy and possibly resentful at me for for doing setting up those performance conditions, which I felt bad about, of course, again, it's the burden that we band leaders have to bear. Because we make it happen, we make these gigs happen for people who haven't chosen to become band leaders like us. So that was, the lesson from that one was okay, I need to start having a temperature clause in my contract, saying, you know, we don't play unless the temperature is within this very specific range. And, you know, different groups tolerate different temperature ranges, but you are in control of that you get to decide what is too cold, what is too hot. I've heard temperature ranges that people are willing to tolerate between like, some is as low as like, 60 degrees Fahrenheit, some as high as like 90 maximum. But you may choose to go lower, you may choose to go higher. But what I would suggest, if you're a bandleader, that's just starting out, ask your players, what they would like to tolerate. That way, they get a say it's feels more democratic. The and then once you agree on those numbers, then you can put that into your contract saying, you know, we will not play unless the temperature is within these two parameters. And also make people aware of that before they sign your contract. Because, you know, you don't want to surprise them on the wedding day by saying, Hey, we can't play because it's too hot. The caveat to that is that people will be very sticklers, they will be, you know, very picky about how this works. So they might say, Well, my phone says that the temperature is within the range. But when you're at the gig, very clearly, it doesn't feel like it's within that range. So what I started to do after that was I bring an actual thermometer, I bought it off of like, amazon.com that I throw in my violin case. And it whenever there's like a temperature question, I always check that. And if there's a dispute, you know, I'll pull out that thermometer. And if it's within that number, it's it's very logical, there's no emotion to it. And if it's within the range, it's within the range. If it's not, well, then the contract says we can't play. And so for me, it's nice because it takes all the emotion out of it. Events, live events, and gigs are emotional, there's a lot going on, you're kind of sometimes feeling like it's fight or flight response, you know, you just got to make it happen. And so having that thermometer, dictating the rules, and being the bad cop, means that you don't have to be the bad cop. You don't have to be like, the bearer of bad news or the negative person who says I'm not willing to do this gig. It's like, No, these are the rules that were set forth. And unfortunately, this doesn't fall within the parameters of the rules. So that was a very long set of stories. Yesterday's gig was underneath our temperature parameters. And so luckily, this venue that they played out, it was the ivy house in downtown Milwaukee. It is a venue that's owned by a DJ company, which means their sound system is incredible props to Ramsey Reno, who owns the IV house and that whole Milwaukee airwaves, DJ company, their venues just so cool. They're the DJs that they work that work for them are amazing, the venue staff. Plus we had my favorite wedding planner working that gig. So it was just a dream team that made it happen. What we did was we the couple actually decided to do photos indoors because it was very cold. And so we played their indoor photo session, which was great. But then the DJ company miked us up with really nice concert style microphones. And they have speakers set up inside and outside the venue during in the cocktail hour space. And so we were able to still play the entire length of the gig from a very comfortable indoor performance space. And our music was able to be heard inside and outside the entire time. So really, for the string quartet It was a dream gig. And for the couple, they got all of the music that they hoped for. We didn't have to like not play any part of it. And for the the wedding planner and the DJ company It was just an amazing collaborative team effort there that made this beautiful wedding happen. And it was just so exciting. It was one of my favorite gigs, despite it not being able to be what the couple wanted with the outdoor portion of it. Everybody worked together to make it happen. And that's what this is all about. You know, being a musician is not just being a member of the musical community. It's, it's being a member of the community of the event that you're at creating a community creating something special, that the people there are going to remember for the rest of their lives. So that's me gushing over this gig. I just love playing gigs so much and I'm so excited that they're back. If you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to like and subscribe to it. And if you're interested in launching your gigging act or taking your current gigging act to the next level, I'm running a weekly masterclass on how to do exactly that. Go ahead and check it out at BookLivePro.com/masterclass and head to BookLivePro.com to get your two week free trial of the software I use to manage every single gig and make sure everything goes perfectly. Thanks for listening. See you on the next Gigging Musician podcast.