Outdoor Performances — The Facts
While many professional musicians opt for indoor performances only, Harris Academy of the Arts is pleased to provide musicians for outdoor events. We understand the special tone of an outdoor event and are delighted to add our musical touch to the atmosphere. Naturally, we wish every outdoor event could be pleasant and sunny with mild temperatures, but despite careful planning, Mother Nature always has the final say. Due to the nature of the outdoors, there are special considerations that strike a whole different chord with musicians. Please take a moment to read about some unique and very important protocol for musicians performing in the open air. Additional information: Musician Working Conditions
“Come Rain or Come Shine”
Instruments are a big investment for musicians and, naturally, it’s important to keep them protected and sheltered from sunlight and moisture. For this reason, it’s imperative that musicians are located in a shady area, protected by a roof and sides. A tent with adjustable sides allows for musicians to adjust as necessary. See: A la Carte Selections
“Blowin’ in the Wind”
Wind might be tolerable for guests, but it proves detrimental to a musician’s ability to provide the highest quality performance. We have found that wind gusts over 15 MPH makes for a difficult performance. We always bring along clips to hold music, but sometimes they’re useless against strong wind. We also contend with music stands and shelters being blown over. Please have an alternate location in mind for the musicians that will provide the most protection from any gusty gales. To ensure music is being performed at those key moments, please allow for extra time between selections for musicians to prepare (e.g., turn pages, clip music, pick up blown over equipment, etc.)
“Cold (But I’m Still Here)”
Everything slows down in the cold, including musician’s fingers – the fingers that strum the guitar, find notes on the violin and move across the keyboard. In fact, if it gets too cold, it’s hard for a musician to play at all. And we don’t have to explain how hard it is to talk, let alone sing, when your lips are numb. The same goes for very hot temperatures when sweaty fingers cause difficulty in playing any instrument. Extremes in hot or cold can also effect the tuning of an instrument. That’s why if the temperature drops below 65 degrees or rises higher than 85 degrees, it will be necessary for our musicians to move inside. The move will be much appreciated by the musician(s), and your guests and wedding party will appreciate it too!
“From a Distance”
If the ceremony location is a considerable walking distance, please provide transportation to and from, or parking access in close proximity to the event. On the same page, it’s a good idea to have a key person to give cues if the wedding party is coming from afar.
Other Things to Consider
Sound System: Sound is an important consideration for outdoor weddings. With live music on your special day, amplification will ensure that you and your guests can hear every note. Some instruments or larger ensembles carry well outdoors (e.g., string quartets, saxophone, trumpet, etc). For others, the need for sound is a certainty: guitar, voice, keyboard, flute. And, don’t be surprised when unexpected sounds occur like planes, trains, automobiles and so on.
Outlets for Electrical Equipment (e.g., sound system, keyboard, amps, etc.): Always check with the venue about the location and availability of electrical outlets. We can bring extension cords to reach most places, if notified in advance.
Bugs: For the comfort of all, please treat the area for bugs. We guarantee a better quality performance when vocalists are not swallowing bugs and musicians are not using their hands to swat at insects!