Obviously you are going to need the equipment that your band already has. This generally includes amplifiers, a drum set, microphones, microphone stands, patch cables, and effects pedals; But what more do you need if you are organizing an actual show?
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Well the biggest piece of equipment you are going to need is the PA (Personal Amplifier) . The job of the PA is to get that sound from your Microphone and amplifier to the crowd in a really big way.
A PA has some sort of mixer so that you can mix all the instruments volumes and gains/clip together properly to have a well balanced sound.
Most of the time the PA is going to take quite a while to set up, so you are going to need someone who is experienced with this kind of stuff to help you.
For our show we used the Bose L1 Tone Match Portable Amplification system. It’s a tall stick that has a few dozen speakers in it to project the sound.
It Doubles as a Vibrator.
Now the Bose isn’t entirely matched for especially massive settings, but it’s perfect for an outdoor concert setup of 50-100 people, on a flat surface (if you have any sort of slope up or down, the Bose has trouble filling the space because it projects its sound straight Horizontally, not vertically).
I should mention that most PA systems don’t really like shooting their sound uphill either, so let’s give the Bose some slack on this one.
Most of the time you will buy your Mixer and your PA speakers separately; so I recommend using an Allen and Heath Mixer as they far surpass most other brands, and most professionals use them.
Heath Simply surpasses all others in every area of performance
For the PA speakers (not the mixer), I recommend Bose, Yorkville, or JBL. These are all brands that I have used in the past and have been quite impressed with.
I’ve also used a Mackie 15” powered sub that I was very impressed with as well. It doesn’t bring quite the clarity that some other woofers can deliver, but I find that it really packed the punch I needed at my last show (I hooked it up my drummers bass drum). Of course I ran the bass mic through a neat little vocal pre-amp before I ran it to the Mackie, but if you have a mixer you won’t have to worry about this.
If you are playing in a public place (where there are shops, houses, and people nearby) you are going to need to be aware of the bylaws that are in place for your city/county, especially if you are near a town center.
It is possible (although unlikely) that even if you own the property that you will need to get a hold of a permit in order to hold your event.
Or you'll have these guys to deal with.
If you are in a public place, I’m assuming that you have already received permission from your city hall to put the event on and received a permit from them beforehand, if not, I suggest you do that as soon as possible.
One thing that you should remember is that if no one hears you play, or is bothered by your playing, you aren’t going to need a permit.
So if you are in only a residential area, if you talk to your neighbors and let them know you are holding a show at the location, it’s very possible that you could get by doing the show without any trouble from the law at all.
So if you are doing this on your own property, then I hope you keep a good report with your neighbors!
The area that we did our show on was in the middle of a field, and was shielded by hills. So we didn’t need to even talk to the neighbors about the show (the nearest house was half a kilometer away!)
"You should have talked to your neighbors you little fart!"
I guess we got lucky on that one! But you might not be quite as lucky.
So talk to your neighbors, and talk to city hall, and see what you need to do to get your outdoor concert going.
And if you are intimidated about going to “City Hall” and getting information, don’t be. It’s a pretty simple process and all you need to do is walk in there and let them know what you want. They will be able to direct you to whichever department specializes in your problem.
Part 4 (of 5) talks about concessions, volunteers, and lighting.
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I'm Andrew Muller, and I wrote near this whole flippin' website. As you can see in my picture, I'm an intense fellow.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham. Pretentious much?
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for my semi-electronic & vocals act My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.