Can fog machine fog damage instruments?

February 4, 2018, 6:40 PM · I had the pleasure of seeing “Shen Yun” this weekend from a balcony seat which included a good view of the orchestra pit. At least twice during the show, fog machine produced fog swept over the stage and flowed into the orchestra pit. It was amazing that the musicians could even see the conductor, but I also wondered if any of the instruments could be damaged or affected in any way by this fog? Shen Yun has quite an active worldwide tour with a number of separate groups performing the show, so there could also be a cumulative effect. Does anyone know if this kind of stage effect needs to be considered by musicians or if it would be a factor in insuring them?

Replies (8)

Edited: February 5, 2018, 12:29 AM · Fog machines come in various types. The blankets of floor-hugging clouds are essentially water and cold air, which will affect the humidity levels, which may or may not be a problem for wooden instruments. (Such fog may also be free of oxygen, in which case everyone in the pit would suffocate...)

Diffuse clouds of fog usually contain some glycerine or propylene glycol, of which traces could be deposited on instruments. That may or may not affect varnish. Anyone here who knows?

February 5, 2018, 6:51 AM · Shen Yun was just here in Kitchener last week.Ive spent 31 years with our fog machine in the pit and upon expressing concern about the water vapor droplets condensing on our instruments they installed three powerful fans that wisk away the fog quickly.We also complained about the weird chemical odour emanating from the fog machine so they changed the additive to a more neutral formula.
None of these changes would have occured if we didn't have excellent rapport with the stagecrew who really look after us which isnt the case in other performance venues.
February 5, 2018, 12:32 PM · I did a Nutcracker run with fog machine, and I was more concerned with not being able to read the music in front of me, and then second what was the smell we were breathing in in the pit. Instrument is just fine.
February 5, 2018, 12:54 PM · I slways bring my beater violin for the pit gigs .Fog machines, coldness and crowded violin sections add up for potential problems.
February 5, 2018, 4:50 PM · Having a less expensive violin for such occasions is a good idea, I think. I call them "battle violins". They can be used in every adverse conditions.
February 6, 2018, 11:26 AM · they are probably using chinese violins...for a chinese show....correct?
February 6, 2018, 11:48 AM · The only ones I could tell from my seat that were Chinese were the “Pipa” (4 string fretted instrument) and the “Erhu” (2 string bowed instrument). Not sure about any of the Western instruments.
February 6, 2018, 1:24 PM · I play erhu

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