Playing festival gigs is great fun. You can be pretty sure to get a crowd that’s having a good time. Festivals are a great way to meet other bands. It’s also a chance to get your music out to people that haven’t heard of you before.
However, playing festival gigs can be tricky. There is usually no luxury of sound checking. Often you’re not allowed to make any sound before the first chord of your own gig. The stage can be in a state and the gear battered. Tents and open space stages provide a completely different acoustics, since your sound doesn’t bounce back from the walls.
So how to make sure that you manage to play a great gig?
Bring Your Own Sound Guy
Many bands don’t bother with paying their own front of house or stage engineer. However, this is one of the most important things to have if you must get up and running quickly. If you and your sound engineer know each other, you both know what you’re trying to achieve. When you only have 15 minutes to set up your stuff, you don’t want to start discussing the particular nuances of your vocals that you would like to have in your monitor.
This is by no means a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity when you’re in a hurry. Having people to help you carry your stuff quickly in and out of the stage ensures you have more time for sound check and more eyes to make sure nothings left behind. Drum and guitar technicians help a lot in making sure everything goes smoothly, even when it’s raining, your snare breaks and your guitar strings snap.
Don’t Drink Before The Gig
This should go without saying, but we’ve all made that mistake sometimes. Getting to a festival is exciting and everyone’s in the mood of some fun. However, partying ahead of time ensures you will lose your stuff, break your stuff, play a half-decent gig and leave important stuff behind. Just try to hang on until it’s time to celebrate.
It is difficult to get the sound right. That’s why you should start by having as little dependencies on whatever is waiting for you at the gig. Rehearse really well (and play lots of gigs) so that you are able to play well, even if the sound isn’t 100% what you expect. Bring your own sound guy. Don’t be a primadonna, just do you’re job.
Be On Schedule
You are given times when to turn up and where. Be there. On time. No one is going to sympathise for you taking the wrong turn or getting a flat tyre. There schedules are tight and you’re failure to follow the schedule ruin everyone else’s schedules too. Well, actually it isn’t. They’re just going to go ahead without you. There are dozens of other bands to worry about, so you must comply with the festival’s schedules. You only get the slot you’re given, so make sure you use it wisely.