In General
6 Tips for Managing Sound at an Outdoor Event

Even though the weather constantly changes, we can confirm it is outdoor events season. Outdoor events require meticulous planning and execution, especially regarding sound management. Whether it is a graduation, music festival, or fundraiser, sound management differentiates between a memorable experience and one where participants only remember the microphone feedback. With AV Chicago’s extensive experience with outdoor events, they have some tips to make your event one that will have everyone talking for the right reasons. 

#1 Factor in the Environment 

Assessing venue features such as size, layout, and environmental factors like wind and temperature is crucial for understanding and optimizing acoustics. Your AV provider will assess these elements to see how they impact the placement of speakers, sound design, and amplification. For example, AV Chicago uses directional speakers and cardioid microphones to direct sound toward the audience while minimizing background noise, and windshields to help protect microphones from wind interference. 

#2 Use Weatherproof Equipment

With unpredictable weather conditions like sudden downpours or extreme heat, it’s critical to protect equipment using weatherproof enclosures and protective cases. Waterproof cabling can also be utilized to protect against moisture and humidity. In the case of lightning or extreme weather conditions, AV Chicago will work with the event organizer to prioritize safety and get the event back on track. 

Sometimes, the best weatherproofing is moving things inside. When rain pushed FanDuel’s outdoor fantasy football event indoors, our team conducted an emergency shop run to obtain a projector and screen to accompany the TV set-up within the indoor venue, ensuring everyone could hear and see the NFL action that day. Luckily, the large LED cube constructed for the event to showcase various sports broadcasts outside was meant to withstand extreme weather conditions and could be left as AV Chicago managed the event indoors. 

#3 Always Have a Plan B 

Outdoor and live events always have an element of unpredictability. This is why contingency plans are a must. In 2023, AV Chicago collaborated with Windy City Smokeout and had to work through rainy conditions, which required weatherproofing solutions and adjustments to certain technical elements at the last minute. Your AV provider should be responsible for establishing alternative solutions in case of adverse weather, equipment failure, or other emergencies. 

#4 Place Speakers Strategically

Strategic speaker placement is crucial for achieving optimal sound coverage and clarity. The goal is to distribute sound evenly throughout the venue while minimizing overlap and potential hotspots. Our experts can adjust speaker angles and heights to reduce interference while maximizing sound projection. 

#5 Sound Check 

Sound checks are not something to be skipped or taken lightly. This runthrough allows the AV provider to fine-tune audio levels, balance instruments, and address acoustical issues for performers and presenters. AV Chicago recommends all parties participate in the sound check to test out the audio levels and get comfortable using the equipment. 

#6 Control Sound Levels 

The only things worse than the audience straining to hear a presenter speak is receiving a noise citation or having the event shut down. AV Chicago balances sound levels to keep your event going and ensure your audience has a comfortable listening experience. Many local venues are already familiar with local noise regulations, but the AV provider needs to make sure the event is compliant and prevent volume spikes or excessive noise. 

Outdoor events require additional planning and a unique set of considerations compared to your standard hotel or convention center event. If you don’t want to be stressed about the police showing up for noise disturbances or excessive wind making it difficult for attendees to hear your event, partner with a seasoned AV provider like AV Chicago.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today!