It seems the unfortunate mentality of “because we built the show, it must go on” has crept into the event industry over the years; especially when it comes to outdoor events. Too often, we have witnessed folks literally throw caution to the wind… and pay the consequences.
In the Southeast, where we call home, we’re vulnerable to volatile weather, especially in Spring and Summer. Heavy rain, strong winds and damage winds come in like freight trains, often popping up with little warning.
Even with all of today’s technology, none of us can reliably predict the weather, so it’s crucial to have a plan. At Live Event Solutions, we recommend our clients follow common-sense rules to “weather the storm”.
Choose or lose
With all the accessible weather apps, there’s a tendency to scan several for the most favorable forecast. Avoid debates over conflicting forecasts and help everyone make appropriate preparations, by getting all decision-makers involved in the event, such as the client, promoter, and production project manager, committed ahead of time to a single source for information such as The Weather Channel (App or Website) for updates.
A stage does not a shelter make
When a storm hits, it’s human nature to seek cover and stay dry. So, on the surface, taking refuge on the stage makes sense. However, some stage roofs can become lighting rods, and with high winds, things like music stands, cymbal stands, and shade tents can easily blow over injuring anyone nearby. Instead, identify more permanent shelter that everyone can be directed to.
Rest assured with Insurance
Be proactive and be sure the promotor/client has an insurance policy covering losses incurred due to weather, such as ticket revenue and postponement costs. This can not only protect the bottom-line, it can help cooler heads to prevail in the stressful minutes leading to a storm. When clients ask that dreaded pre-contract question “do I still pay if it rains?”, be prepared to recommend insurance providers.
Minimize the pain of rain
In our business, one of the worst feelings is helplessly watching your investment in gear get a Saturday afternoon “bath” in the rain. Be prepared to protect your expensive equipment at outdoor shows with an ample supply of Tarps and Plastic. Also, remember bungee cords or “trick-line” to batten down the hatches, plus towels and push squeegees to help get things going again quickly after the storm passes. One free solution is to take advantage of space under the stage when possible, to keep things like amp racks, power distros, and dimmers dry, as well as keeping cables off the ground. There is nothing glamorous about these expenses, and itemizing cost to clients can be hard, but a little money spent in advance can save a lot later.
AC/DC + H2O: a catastrophic cocktail
Last but certainly not least is the dangerous cocktail of electricity and water; they simply don’t mix, so do not chance it. Play it safe and make the tough decision to “shut it down”. While it may be not popular, it could mean the difference between a temporary delay and permanent injury.
It’s often said that “common sense” is not always “common practice” … weather needs to be the exception. These are our real world, been there done that, got the T-shirt and the sunburn to prove it, thoughts on being prepared; we welcome yours.