CityFolk
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Jun 4, 2018

Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

We came back from an interesting gig this morning where we played for an active adult retirement community (55+) that is on lockdown due to the coronavirus. The challenge we encountered was how to do a music performance where all the residents are spread across multiple buildings that include both apartment style and single level duplex style homes. Furthermore, we couldn’t play inside with any sort of gathering like we normally would do.

After consulting with their entertainment coordinator, we came up with a strategy where we would play in four different locations throughout the complex over the course of a morning. So we had to quickly breakdown and setup with a system where we could be outside the various residences four times in four locations. Things were further complicated due to the fact that no power was available in any of the locations we identified. 

Enter the S1 as a great solution. Our setup consisted of 2 S1s on speaker stands propped 5 feet high running on battery power, daisy chained together, and placed slightly in front of us. We could crank the volume up with no feedback issues since they were in front. In addition, we could position the S1s in different directions to maximize coverage. We used a battery powered Behringer 1200B mixer to plug in 2 mics and 2 guitars. To further reduce cabling clutter, we employed wireless connections using 2 Xvive U3s for the mics and 2 U2s for the guitars.  We panned the two vocal channels hard right and the two guitar channels hard left. Then connected the R main out of the mixer to channel one of the master S1 with ToneMatch set to mic. Then took the main out L to channel 2 of the S1 and set the ToneMatch to guitar. This allowed us to fine tune EQ and reverb for the two different categories of instrumentation. With this combination and just two of us, we were able to breakdown and setup in a new location within 25-30 minutes and rotate through the various locations playing 30-40 minute sets. To be sure, it was a bit exhausting, but we did it and it was so worth it.

The performances were very well received as the residents got to hear live music safely, but it also brought them out to see their neighbors safely as well. Just for a moment at least, it gave a sense of normalcy which was very gratifying to be a part of that.

I put this out here, not for any sort of self promotion, but to give ideas on gigs that you might be able to do in your area with this sort of setup and for a group of folks who sorely need it.

I would be remiss if I also didn’t put out a big thank you to all the folks on this forum who have selflessly shared their gear usage and experiences as I wouldn’t have come up with this scenario without their advice. Thanks to you all and to Bose for creating such an wonderful platform as the S1. 

Now get out there and gig! ??

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ST - Pro
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May 11, 2020

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

Hey Pete,

Thanks for telling us about your adventures playing for these people who are locked down. 

Thanks too, for all the detail. I'm sure that will be helpful fo others considering doing the same kind of thing.

Our Two Meter Band has been doing much the same including four sets in different locations in four hours.  That can be a challenge since we cannot enter the premises (no power, no washrooms).

Two Meter Band:

  • We maintain at least two meters between us at all times.
  • We make sure we have more distance between the singers for extra measure.  There's been a concern lately that two meters is not enough distance if you're huffing and puffing (jogging, running, cycling, and for us, singing).
  • We travel separately. No guests, only performers.
  • Each person brings what he needs to be heard (e.g., microphone, instrument, S1 Pro or other self-powered loudspeaker, stands and for some a stool). We're not using a mixer.
  • Each person touches only the things he brings with him.
  • We don't advertise in advance. Only our contacts within the facility know when we will be there.
  • The four locations where we play are were well away from the street.  We have had passers-by want to come closer, and we asked them to stay back. If we draw a crowd, we'll be shut down for sure.


Speaking of normalcy; it's eery to perform music and maintain this physical distance. It's strange to enjoy playing music with others and not shake hands, high-five, hug, help each other with gear, or approach one another in any way while playing. As we look up to our audience, the people leaning over balconies, or faces through the glass - it's a constant reminder of why we're there - in a time when nothing is normal.

ST

CityFolk
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Jun 4, 2018

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

It is eerie and surreal in many respects, but we march on. I'm lucky that my music partner is also my wife so we don’t have to practice social distancing when we play. I can imagine that being awkward. 

Stay safe and keep on playing. 

prakashwadhwani
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May 22, 2019

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

Hey Pete, 

Thx for sharing your experiences. Heartwarming! 

Bob_Sanford
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Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

Bravo CityFolk and ST!!! Keep the inspiration flowing!!

prakashwadhwani
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May 22, 2019

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

ST posted:

Hey Pete,

Thanks for telling us about your adventures playing for these people who are locked down. 

Thanks too, for all the detail. I'm sure that will be helpful fo others considering doing the same kind of thing.

Our Two Meter Band has been doing much the same including four sets in different locations in four hours.  That can be a challenge since we cannot enter the premises (no power, no washrooms).

Two Meter Band:

  • We maintain at least two meters between us at all times.
  • We make sure we have more distance between the singers for extra measure.  There's been a concern lately that two meters is not enough distance if you're huffing and puffing (jogging, running, cycling, and for us, singing).
  • We travel separately. No guests, only performers.
  • Each person brings what he needs to be heard (e.g., microphone, instrument, S1 Pro or other self-powered loudspeaker, stands and for some a stool). We're not using a mixer.
  • Each person touches only the things he brings with him.
  • We don't advertise in advance. Only our contacts within the facility know when we will be there.
  • The four locations where we play are were well away from the street.  We have had passers-by want to come closer, and we asked them to stay back. If we draw a crowd, we'll be shut down for sure.


Speaking of normalcy; it's eery to perform music and maintain this physical distance. It's strange to enjoy playing music with others and not shake hands, high-five, hug, help each other with gear, or approach one another in any way while playing. As we look up to our audience, the people leaning over balconies, or faces through the glass - it's a constant reminder of why we're there - in a time when nothing is normal.

ST

Wonderful ST !!  ...  Keep the goodness flowing dear. Some excellent guidelines for folks to follow here should they wanna venture into something similar.

CityFolk
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Jun 4, 2018

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

Here’s a picture of us at one of the 4 locations we played yesterday which shows our lean setup with the S1s and the beautiful setting. I was having a bad hair day, though ??.

In case anyone is wondering, we are playing our carbon fiber guitars. My wife has an Al Petteway signature model RainSong and I have a Composite Acoustics GX. both have very good pickup systems. 

We tuned them at the beginning of the gig, then didn’t need to tweak them after that! A huge advantage of carbon fiber guitars is their stability when you are exposing them to the elements like this. 


EBFC4806-4E03-45C9-913B-F347BCBF43D2

prakashwadhwani
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May 22, 2019

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

CityFolk posted:

Here’s a picture of us at one of the 4 locations we played yesterday which shows our lean setup with the S1s and the beautiful setting. I was having a bad hair day, though ??.

In case anyone is wondering, we are playing our carbon fiber guitars. My wife has an Al Petteway signature model RainSong and I have a Composite Acoustics GX. both have very good pickup systems. 

We tuned them at the beginning of the gig, then didn’t need to tweak them after that! A huge advantage of carbon fiber guitars is their stability when you are exposing them to the elements like this. 


EBFC4806-4E03-45C9-913B-F347BCBF43D2

Lovely setup!! With both S1's turned away from you, you must've missed a directional monitor (at least the mids & highs). But then I guess that's a trade-off to cover a wider area & ensure your listeners get the maximum benefit.

Rock on dear ... May the force be with you

CityFolk
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Jun 4, 2018

Re: Safely playing outdoors for a large retirement community

Thanks Prakash. Interestingly enough, we didn’t miss not having a monitor all that much because we were playing to building facades that reflected the sound back at us without too much of a echo or delay. Certainly not optimal or high fidelity, but enough to keep us on track with each other. 

But now you have me thinking about a 3rd S1 to use off the mixer’s monitor out. Darn you ??!

Stay safe and happy playing.