We’ve all been there – sometimes one of your contacts wants you to play a show, and you have to work with the bare minimum of a venue. You don’t want to say no because it’s a paying gig, but at the same time you’ll need to scramble to get a stage together that will be comfortable for both you and your audience. Remember, presentation is half of the concert – if you can make it look great it will immediately support the idea that your band is great. Here’s a quick run down of a setup that will help you put on a wowing show with relatively minimal work.
What You’ll Need:
- Firm and level ground, enough to fit you and your bandmates (preferably a driveway or patio)
- Viewing area, enough to accommodate your audience (preferably something soft, such as lawn)
- Speaker Stands and/or cinder blocks
- Power supply
- Bathroom access
- Trash cans
Step 1: Claim Your Stage
The first thing that you need to get in order is the stage area. Ideally, you want to find a solid surface (patios are ideal) that will fit all of your gear and musicians. At a minimum you’ll need an area of 10’x10′, but you may need more for larger bands. The first thing you want to do is make sure that this surface is clean and appealing to the eyes. You’ll want to make sure that all of the dirt is washed away and any weeds, leaves, stains, etc. are removed. We’d highly recommend finding the most powerful electric pressure washer that you can get your hands on, as it will make quick work of the job.
You’ll want to make sure that your viewing area is comfortable for your audience. If it is lawn, make sure that it is properly mowed and manicured. You may also want to provide at least some form of seating for your audience, and maybe some surfaces where they can put beverages down. It’s little touches like these that can really lift the overall experience.
Step 2: Set Up Your Gear
Know what you’re getting into in terms of setting up your gear. Make sure that you will have access to sufficient electricity, and bring any extension chords and power sticks that you will need to have all of your equipment plugged in. You’ll want to set this up in a way such that it is not being constantly walked over by your audience, and also so that it will not be in any danger in case of rain or liquid spills.
In terms of setting up amplifiers, PAs, and monitors, it will be best if you can get them up off of the ground and properly directed. The best way to do this is with proper stands for your equipment, but in a bind you can use cinder blocks to get them up off the ground. This helps to make sure that your audience will have the best sound possible.
Step 3: Creature Comforts
In addition to any seating and tables mentioned in Step 2, there are a few essentials that need to be in order. First and foremost is access to bathrooms. You have to make sure that bathrooms are nearby, but you also have to make sure that they are CLEAN. Moreover, you should have someone on staff to make sure that they remain clean throughout the performance. Nothing grosses people out than a dirty bathroom.
Finally, you want to keep the venue looking as clean as when it was left to you. The first measure in doing so is having plenty of trashcans properly positioned throughout. This will encourage people to use them and make you job after the show a whole lot easier.
If you keep these simple three steps in mind, you can be sure that you’re on your way to a much more successful make shift show. Stay tuned for more fun!