Often my summertime schedule includes outside performances. This may not be something that you will be doing, but for those interested, here are a few thoughts I’ll share regarding “outside” performances.
• Hearing the rest of the musicians
, as well as, getting a good drum mix; can be more difficult at outside performances. Arrive at the venue early and meet the sound techs. Cultivate some mutual respect and allow plenty of time for them to work with you. If you are on a large stage, your monitors may be the only way you’ll hear the other players.
• Whether it is a daytime or a night performance, I recommend taking a small electric fan and a towel. They will be useful for keeping your hands and face dry
(or maybe just “less sweaty”). I always take some “Deep Woods Off” insect repellent spray too. I usually don’t need it, but when I do…..it is a lifesaver.
• I put some bottled water
in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then I take it to the performance frozen but not in a cooler. The water thaws back into liquid but it still stays cold for on-stage consumption. I don't have the hassel of packing a cooler.....the empty bottles are simply trash.
• If you have the option with the act you work with, I recommend that you dress in loose, cotton clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton are much cooler than most synthetics (though there are new synthetic fabrics designed to keep you cool). Loose fitting clothes allow air to circulate, which helps keep you cooler.
• I, personally, don’t like to eat for a couple of hours before a performance, especially an outside performance. That’s because I also sing, and that eliminates the possibility of burps, and heartburn. But it also eliminates making you feel sluggish in the summer heat, and perhaps even nausea.
• I really don’t like to walk right onto an outside stage from an air-conditioned dressing room. My muscles need ample time to become accustomed to the outside temperature and I surely don’t want any cramps or other adverse reactions to a sudden temperature change.
• I don’t play any harder or softer at an outside performance. I already know (from arriving early and working with the sound crew) that the kit is mic’d up for an outside performance, so only thing I concentrate on is playing in a way that inspires the other musicians and keeps the dynamics under control. Actually playing much harder than usual in outside summer heat, will quickly tire you and possibly affect your tempos and stamina for the rest of the show.
Outside performances can be fun and sound great with the proper preparation and contingencies for the temperatures. I hope some of tips are helpful to you.