V.com weekend vote: What do you find most challenging about outdoor concerts?

June 25, 2023, 2:03 PM · It's summer now - time for the glorious outdoor concert, where people listen to symphonic music out in the fresh air, surrounded by greenery, beautiful vistas, warm breezes, the sweet smell of nature and maybe the distance chirp of birds. Possibly a butterfly will flutter by during Beethoven's "Pastorale"...

outdoor concert

I've certainly had some idyllic experiences with outdoor concerts, both on and off the stage: sitting in the audience at Ravinia, Blossom, Bravo!Vail, Red Rocks, Aspen.. and sitting on the stage at Epcot (a whole summer of that), atop Pikes Peak with the Colorado Springs Symphony on the Fourth of July, and just last week, at the Arboretum for the Pasadena Pops.

But truth be told, the outdoor concert has a built-in nemesis: the weather. I can also remember running from stage in a sudden rainburst in Florida, trying to protect my instrument; frying in the heat at the Redlands Bowl; trying to make the best of a rainy July 4 as an audience member in the lawn seats at Riverbend....

Just last week, the temperature dropped like a rock for our Pops concert - I found myself wearing winter boots and a turtleneck - others where wearing down jackets. For a concert in June!

Elsewhere in the country, I'll point out the notable situation last Wednesday at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, where "the concert crowd was viciously pelted with hail" according to CBS Colorado - 100 people were injured and eight hospitalized! It wasn't a classical concert (it was a Louis Tomlinson concert), but it is the venue where the Colorado Symphony holds its summer symphony concerts.

So I thought it would be interesting to talk about the challenges of outdoor concerts and share stories. What do you find most challenging about outdoor concerts in your neck of the woods? Of course, you may be able to pick several things on this list, but pick the one that sticks out most to you. Is it cold, hot? Do you always get dozens of mosquito bites? Does the wind blow your music off the stand? Is there rain much of the time? Is it so humid that you have to use a spare violin? Please pick an answer, and then tell us your stories in the comments!

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June 25, 2023 at 07:47 PM · If "Something Else" is the most popular reply, why not list the "Something Else"?

June 25, 2023 at 08:49 PM · Under "something else." At the Hollywood Bowl, there are beer or wine bottles that roll down the stairs, helicopter fly-by's, deer invasions and the occasional couple who's making love who thinks no one is noticing.

June 25, 2023 at 09:04 PM · "Something else." I don't mind babies crying, kids asking questions, or even a giggle or two. After all, it's an outdoor concert, and certain formalities are almost impossible to maintain. However, people standing up in front of me - and everyone else - with their iPhones, making awful videos, are flat out rude.

June 25, 2023 at 09:47 PM · I voted “Something else” - namely, the evening hours when most of these concerts take place.

I heard some memorable outdoor concerts in my student years at the above-mentioned Ravinia - and soon afterward, taking walks along the Charles River in Boston, with the Boston Pops playing outdoors in summer at the Hatch Memorial Shell.

I don’t recall the weather or bugs being a problem at either place; but now, with my days starting at 4:28 AM, outdoor concerts, or any other evening events, don’t fit my plans well. By 8:30 PM, I’m starting to fade; so I prefer to be at home base the last few hours of the day and wind down gradually before drifting off into a good night’s rest.

Nothing can quite top the sound of a live ensemble, outdoors or indoors, especially when the acoustics are good enough to enhance the sound; but, unfortunately, the drive time and parking arrangements turn me off and dilute the enjoyment. These factors weren’t a problem in Boston - I walked and biked everywhere in the city during my time there. Around Chicago, this wasn’t an option.

June 26, 2023 at 12:38 AM · Mosquitos! Not sure what Noah was thinking when he decided to include them on the ark. Musta been drunk.

June 26, 2023 at 01:20 AM · Living and working on the Gulf Coast (Houston metropolitan area), summers usually mean temps in the 90's - low 100's along with humidity in the same range. Whenever I hear the words "outdoor wedding" I dust off my junker violin and pack my cheapest carbon fibre bow. Very often the bow hair absorbs so much moisture it goes limp even when tightened to the maximum. However, when you've got bills to pay, "ya do what ya gotta do."

June 26, 2023 at 09:58 AM · To pick one, and only one, from the list is difficult. For me it's closer to "All the items." Why? I'm not a person who liked to sit around outdoors to be entertained.

I know that music has a long tradition of being played outdoors - "...but not for me" (to quote the lyric).

June 26, 2023 at 03:22 PM · Something else - sunshine! It can get blisteringly hot and I worry about the violin.

We had a long-standing 'disagreement' with the orchestra manager about being allowed to wear hats. Most of us don't want our hair bleached but some have more serious issues. Eventually we had a revolution... :D

However, the Hollywood bowl sure sounds like the fun place to be!

June 26, 2023 at 08:03 PM · Heat, direct sun, cold, rain, wind, bugs,... As a Mariachi fiddler I have to deal with all of those outside problems. We tune in the parking lot or in the street and leave the cases in the cars. Add to that; someone from the audience wanting to talk to you while you are playing or singing, small children wanting to run between your legs, dogs sniffing at your pants, someone handing you a microphone Without a Stand! and not noticing that both of your hands are occupied, ...

Needless to say I use an inexpensive modern violin, steel strings, and a synthetic bow.

June 27, 2023 at 03:31 PM · Been there several times. My office was below the peak on the far right (devils peak), walk up to the contour path and then around to kirstenbosh, then down into the botanical garden, always took longer than planned and I would arrive in the middle of concert. Acoustics of outdoor concerts not all that good. Yes, I work on sundays - what a swot.

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