Discussion Forums

Pro-Tips for performing out of doors July 7, 2014

Jul 7th 2014, 17:25


Joined: Apr 29th 2010, 15:37
Total Topics: 36
Total Posts: 53
I LOVE performing on outdoor stages! I grew up doing shows at county fairs, and festivals..now I ask YOU!
What advice would YOU give to other performers working outside in often harsh conditions? Any tips, tricks or horror stories are welcome!
MONDAY NIGHT MYSTERY SCHOOL will focus our show on giving the BEST advice on this topic. 7PM Vegas time Monday night

Benjamin Corey Feinblum
: Just did that yesterday. Bring a second suit for gig #3 at the Ritz Carleton!

Michael Trixx Everyday I do!! If you do a parasol in your act AND eat fire.... Parasol is a great wind blocker.. From any angle...
... I do doves everyday outside.. I do not clip wings .. Use invisible dove harness ( even if not used for production) use the loop to hold them with you eventually they will stop even trying to fly away!

Joseph C. Burns Three bits of advice, bug spray, bug spray, bug spray!

John Fitzsimmons
I use tape loops made out of gaff tape on my tables to hold lightweight objects down. Things like a paper bag for a vanishing bottle routine...Drink lots of water!

Ray Thompson
Jeff, a FB group you know about started by Kevin Heller, Outdoor Entertainers Resource Group spent a lot of time sharing their responses to a very similar question.

Rui Cruz
Respect all people. The audiences, the owners of the pitch, the cops, other buskers, other street vendors, shops, restaurants,Everyone. Be kind to one another. Be honest. And prepare to change plans everyday. But most of all do it from the heart. Jeff i'm sorry i've been missing classes. My pc broke. Miss you all. Have a great show.

Dirk Losander I always like to have all my props in my costume that way nothing flys away

Hayden Childress
Leave bulky props at home if possible. Not fun to carry in the heat. Also, just in case the stage suddenly floods and you are stuck with a heavy sub trunk and $300 wireless microphone that drifts down a make-shift river. Photo explains all.

Jim Vosburgh
went to a local fireworks show at a large mall, realized that normal busking wouldn't work, the crowd was huge but never moved like on the street, sooooooo set up your show, do your thing, pass the hat and then pack up quick and move 200 feet down the sidewalk. People will stand and come to watch but only if they can keep there eyes on there "space and blanket or chair" the performer needs to move instead of letting the crowd move past him.

EvilDan Terelmes
Hot weather - wear deodorant. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Take a break in the shade every now and then. Don't be a superhero.

Windy - If you work with cards, have a spare deck to lay on top of other cards so they don't blow away.

Rain - work with props that don't matter if they get wet. Better yet, take shelter somewhere if you can.

Cold - dress in layers. Buy some hand warmers at Home Depot, NOT Walmart. Construction workers buy hand warmers from Home Depot all the time so they are fresh and become nice and hot. The ones at walmart get old and barely get warm. Never buy them at walmart if they are on sale. They are very old at that point.

Ron Pawlowski
i can't imagine dirk performing the bubble zombie...i remember seeing jeff at harmony..when the wind just started gusting...great if you are performing "snowstorm in china"..not so great for zombie routines...none of the thousand people in the crowd noticed jeff improvising the routine...because jeff practices improvising...it was great to see the master at work.

Mark Sparks
Wow, where do I begin? Made my living working outdoors for over three decades. All the things mentioned are excellent.

I will say that there is a big difference between working a busking gig and a buyout gig. The focus of the shows is different, as with the buyout you won't be passing the hat.

I always routines my show so it was automatically reset. This meant if there wasn't much of a dressing room or backstage, I didn't need to worry. Most of the material was carried in my costuming (as Dirk mentioned).

Other than checking in with the event office when you arrive or as requested, LEAVE THEM ALONE! Even if you don't think they see you working, trust me - they'll find you if there's a problem. Acts that go to the office everyday usually don't get asked back.

Would love to hear the story of the flooded stage!

Chris Randall
Sherman NY 1991 I saw you do the basket on the ground surrounded and you fooled the hell out of me.

Renee Del Rosso Yea.... don't do it (Italian-Jersey accent).

Noureddine Bellaoui
I had to do a show for high school 600 persones on the outside and it rained at last minute ...To save the situation the organizers chose a complex for basketball to make the show , the audience was very far and Here is the picture;)

T.j. Latham
Noticed a comment by Jeff Mcbride in context of Michael Trixx using doves outside with invisible harnesses . I have two special doves I use when hired to do outside shows called silky doves they actually by nature cannot fly over two or three feet high or in distance.When prod6uced they never even leave my hand.Great for outside shows.Ron Powlowski also made a good point tough on a zombie routine

Romany Divaofmagic
forget any misdirection properties of confetti throwing.... as it sweeps away swiftly in the wind leaving your steal rather bare!

Niels Duinker
Outdoor stages like that are great!

Dan Sperry
Mousetraps painted black with the trip rod removed so it's just the spring bar get velcroed everywhere inside and outside to hold silks, cards, balls, etc from blowing away

Justin Thomas ·
If you perform the sub trunk illusion, make sure your curtain has a little weight to it so it doesnt blow away at the worst possible time lol "From personal experience"

Andrew Spike Norstrum
having worked in Yellowstone the last 2 summers.... 2 words.... BEAR SPRAY... and make sure you can run faster than at least 3 other people.. I AM Serious!..

Andrew Spike Norstrum
this one and his MaMa crossed the track right in the lower left corner and proced to march right in front of the stage..

Terry Morgan
As Paul Daniels suggests, always carry extra Magic effects just in case. If weather conditions prohibit you from performing a particular effect you will have a good replacement.

Allan Rubinstein ·
Use lead lined silks

Thyron R. Lee Jr. The wind is not your friend........

Philip Klipper
Out door performance's could be a big mess if your not prepared. You have wind & distractions. I give out things in my show. You must put a weight on anything that might fly away. If you are using silks in your show don't let go of them. I always have water behind my table. (Even indoor shows) You need a more powerful sound system than you would use inside. Try to perform in the shade. If not don't forget sunscreen. Don't ware cologne!! The bees will come from all over. I feel indoor shows always are better than out door ones. The client is the boss and you should know in advance where you are performing. If you are not prepared for outdoor gigs don't take them. Oh one more tip. Make sure you have a light in your table. You'll thank me one day. I use the small round push lights. I put velcro on back. It works well with my material inside my table. Good luck and always keep them entertained.

Jeff McBride Michael Worsham shared a few thoughts with me..he says,

"Yes, beware of the wind, which can be an issue in any outside conditions, not just harsh ones. Tonight at Times Scare, the haunted attraction in Times Square, NY, I did my favorite go-to trick ("What's Mine is Mine" from Elmwood Magic) for TJ, one of the ghoul hosts in front who are dressed up in zombie make up. He like it and asked me to perform it for one of the other female hosts. Just as I was finishing this fairly short trick on an otherwise calm and pleasant night, the wind came out of nowhere and blew the card off of her hand onto the ground.

I'll be at Monday Night Magic, my original inspiration for magic, on July 7, so will have to catch these week's McBride TV show on the repeat.

Mick Stone says,
"Anything that can be blown away will blow away. And it doesn't take hurricane gusts to blow cards off the table. For any trick that involves you dealing or placing cards onto the table, have a bungi cord stretched across your table and place the cards under that. Any time you place the deck on the table, weigh it down with a heavier object (I have a pair of pliers I used for another trick and like clockwork, deck goes on table, pliers go on top of deck) This goes for any light object that can be blown away.
And when you are done, put all your props in a big plastic zip lock bag. Because when it rains, everything will get ruined."

Scott McFall ·
The more audience participation, comedy, and interactive focus... the less props needed to blow around, get rained on, and sun bleach.

Mark Devant You must also consider costuming carefully, I have done many shows at festivals on the back of a flatbed truck/stage in the middle of a field in 100 plus temps (black tux or 3 piece suit not the best choice). Worst nightmare show was a tree lighting ceremony for xmas, 31 degrees and freezing rain.

Jason Porter ·
Adequate sun protection and have backups for your backups. You never know what the great outdoors is going to do to your equipment so having a flexible set list with alternate tricks is a good idea.
3 hours ago · Like

Carlos I.Tirado
You are a natural for outdoor performance, I enjoyed it in Mexico when we were at the ruins and you performed for those kids that wanted to interview us!!!
Jan 5th 2015, 17:53

Michael Taggert

Joined: Feb 18th 2013, 18:56
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 1
Hey gang glad to be back after being absent for a while. I was at a renn fair in va. It was raining hard most of the day whe. I looked out from the backstage there was audienc3. I went out to say we would be moving to the shop next door some one shouted "your a magician make it stop raining" a second or two later the clouds parted briefly and the sun momentarily peaked out sending a stream of light onto my wet audience. Iaccepted the standing ovation and passed the hat.