Summer Outdoor Shows
As we enter the summer show season, think about the additional considerations involved in working outdoor shows. Country USA, Oneida Bingo and Casino, EAA; these venues all involve working long hours in sometimes adverse weather conditions and NOT in our usual locations. Stagehands should take extra steps to be sure you can works effectively and safely.
Besides the usual selection of tools a stagehand should bring to a call, you may want to add some additional gear to your kit: Raingear and a change of clothing in case of rain, extra shoes, a hat and sunblock, and so on. It may get extra hot (maybe a spare pair of shorts and T-shirt?), or pretty cool (especially after a rainstorm or after sundown) so plan accordingly. I like a layered approach as you can add or subtract clothing when the weather changes, and it will! You may go from sun and temperatures in the 90's to rain, wind, and temps in the 40's in the matter of a few hours. Wisconsin is like that!
Outdoor venues are often located away of other facilities. You may not be as familiar with how to get there, so be sure you know where you are going BEFORE you leave home. Check our Maps section below, although it is possible you are going somewhere we don't have maps for! Take the time to get directions.
IF YOU HAVE NEVER WORKED COUNTRY USA BEFORE check out the MAP to Country USA so you know here you are going!
In general, try to get there early: fifteen to thirty min. is good. Traffic can be unpredictable, and sometimes is re-routed, so allow time for surprises. For Country USA and EAA the police often re-route traffic patterns to handle the unusual loads which the local roads aren't designed for. Don't assume it won't be different than you remember, especially as showtime approaches. Heavy traffic means traffic jams. We still expect you to be ON TIME. If it seems you might be late, call the cell phone number for the Steward, which also means it makes sense to get the cell phone numbers BEFORE you leave home! If all else fails contact the B.A., but don't be surprised if he isn't there. He may be working the show you are headed for!
It is usually very warm, and you may be working outside and often away from a water source. It's a good idea to bring a bottle of water and sunscreen. Check weather in case raingear is in order. Bring the usual tools; gloves, a multi-tool or screwdriver and pliers, a crescent wrench, and maybe other tools needed to get the job done. You may find yourself building the stage as well as setting up the show. Lunch may be provided, but don't count on it. Lunch if not provided will be 1 hour long. Restaurants are usually some distance away, so many people bring a bag lunch. If you do, make sure you have a good cooler or bring non-perishable food. A sandwich left in a hot car is not good!
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Working a show is challenging, and working outdoors adds an extra level of stress. Keep in mind the 6:2:1 rule of festival survival. Not easy to follow, but it should be a goal!
"At any given time, in the previous 24 hours you should have had six good hours of sleep, two solid meals, and one shower and clean clothes. You cannot substitute one for the other, six meals and two hours of sleep just doesn't work." (Dale Farmer, Stagecraft Mailing List)
If you are a new worker (a "stringer") and you haven't read it yet, check out check out the "Permit Worker Information" packet for information and procedures.
Mick Alderson: email@example.com