May 25, 2015

It’s Outdoor Music Time

After an elongated spring, warm weather …and outdoor parties… are upon us.

The band is playing for several outdoor events this summer, ranging from private house parties to larger corporate events. When planning an outdoor event, there are several items to consider if you plan on having live music. Here are Metro Retro’s basic requirements:

  • Scheduling. Given the weather here in Minnesota, we rarely accept outdoor events prior to Memorial Day or after Labor Day.
  • Protection from the elements. Many people think that rain is the only thing musicians need to be protected from. Sun, heat, and wind are also a problem. Unlike your guests who can stroll or move to a shaded or dry area for relief, musicians don’t have that luxury. Different kinds of instruments can also be badly damaged by even the slightest amount of moisture. We ask clients to provide some type of covering with removable sides and, if the temperature is expected to be above 80 degrees, a fan to keep air circulating inside the enclosure.
  • A level playing surface. We’re always hoping that an outdoor event has a patio area that can accommodate the musicians. If we’re playing on a grassy area, even the slightest grade can cause problems over the space of two or three hours for anyone who’s seated for that time, particularly drumset and keyboard players. A simple piece of plywood that has been made level with the ground is all that’s needed.
  • A safe playing area. Given that outdoor events require electricity to run a keyboard and vocalist’s microphones, if we’re on a grassy area, we require a covering between us and the bare ground. We also require access to a grounded outlet.
  • Child proofing.  When events have families in attendance, sometimes children are left unattended during the course of a celebration.  Children are fascinated with live music and naturally want to touch (or bang in the case of drums and cymbals) instruments or get really close, even while we’re playing. It’s difficult to make certain all wires within the band playing area as well as music stands and side instruments are secured. We don’t expect an electrified fence around the band to keep kids out; we do ask that parents understand if we need to ask them to keep their children in tow.
  • Nourishment. The band is always mindful of its role, and is always grateful if the client invites us to visit the buffet table during one of our breaks.


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Call Tom Wahlrobe, Metro Retro's manager at:

(952) 926-6927