Gimme Shelter

I recently played a posh Country Club for their annual wine night. It was a hot and muggy night, with a very high probability of thunderstorms. When I booked the gig, I made sure they had a “plan B” – to take the party indoors in case of intimate weather. However, when I arrived, I was informed by the woman who booked me that the party had been moved inside. I was pretty relieved to hear that, as anyone who plays music for a living can tell you; setting up and performing in the heat and humidity with an impending storm, for 3 – 4 hours can be pretty challenging.

As it turned out, “moving inside” meant moving the party onto a large outdoor patio, adjacent to the dining room – so technically, I wasn’t “inside” at all. The patio was partially covered by an overhang above the guest’s tables so they would remain dry if it started to rain. However, the area they set aside for me was completely exposed to the elements because the overhang ended just short of where they had me set up to perform.  Fortunately, though it threatened to rain, it didn’t actually start to come down until I was almost packed up after the show.

   I wasn’t so fortunate a few years earlier when I played a gig in a huge backyard for a client who tented the entire yard where her guests were seated, but had me set up next to a tool shed with absolutely no shelter whatsoever. No sooner had I gotten everything set up, when I, along with all of my equipment were drenched when the sky burst open in an intense downpour that lasted about 40 minutes.  I did my best to cover the electronics and my speakers, and get my guitars out of there, but I couldn’t do much, because if I got soaked, I wouldn’t be able to plug in at all when and if the rain stopped.  

I eventually play for the remainder of the afternoon after the storm passed, but the damage had already been done. And for the sake of getting a good review on the internet, I smiled the entire time, and told the client “not to worry, the show must go on”… or something like that.  The truth was, I wanted to kick myself for not making her sign a contract with a contingency plan for bad weather.  

SOOO… the lesson I want to convey here is this: If you’re planning to hire live entertainment for your party, please make provisions for covering the stage area in case of rain. That also goes for late afternoons on hot summer days when the sun is directly on the performer to provide shade. And if you’re an entertainer – be sure to include somewhere in your contract (and you should ALWAYS draw up a contract), a provision that your client doesn’t leave you outside in the rain or blazing hot sun. Let them know, in no uncertain terms… 




guitar in rain storm

This is not my guitar. I found this photo online. Apparently, I’m not the only one who had this miserable experience. However, my guitar got just as soaked!

cello player in the rain

This is no way to treat musicians at your event.
Provide cover or bring the party inside!

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